Friday, August 31, 2018

RMV Horror Show

Why the fuck is the Registry of Motor Vehicles the worst government agency? 

I'm sure there are worse ones for sure, but it just seems that every time anyone has to go to the RMV and relays this news to anyone else the other person fully understands what awfulness they have to endure and has their sympathies.

It's a well known fact that no matter what you're going there for, you're bound to have to wait for what can be an exorbitant amount of time, and sometimes you may even have to go to various different windows, which will only increase the time spent in this horrific place.

I went this morning for my hearing of my second OUI.  I got to the Registry an hour early to ensure that I would be given a hearing, as the previous time I went and got there at 9 it turned out that they had already run out of their allotted daily amount, which is about 35.  This time though I was able to procure a spot.  I was number 14.

"Why only 35 spots for hearings?", you may be asking, and that's an easy question to answer.  There are only 2 people working in the hearings office of the second largest city in all of New England.  Not to mention that there are only a few Registry locations that actually have these hearings in Massachusetts.

What.  The.  Fuck. 

Get your shit together RMV!  The amount of people I've seen each time I've been down there who get turned away, myself being one of them, is astounding.  I got there an hour early and I still barely made the cut.  People who got there 30 minutes prior to opening were being turned away.  One lady even showed up asking if anyone didn't want to wait around and would give her their ticket. 

So, I was number 14 and I was finally seen at about 11:45AM.  Almost 3 fucking hours after they open.  Due to being grossly understaffed.  And the guy I spoke with only confirmed what I already knew, that I won't be driving for 2 years, and that after that 2 years I'll need an Interlock device in my car for 1 before I'm able to be given a full unrestricted license. 

I mean fuck, I'll do that job!  Hire me to tell people bad news all day and I'll do it with a smile.  These people also get to approve hardship licenses and drop suspensions, so it's good news sometimes.  I'll give that with a smile too!  And something tells me I'll do it all with much greater efficiency than these 2 jokers today had.

Don't drive if you've been drinking.  You could not only kill someone, or yourself, or fuck up your car, and definitely your life, but the worst part seems to be the insane amount of time that gets wasted.  Most of it at the fucking RMV.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Hidden Gem

Worcester Art Museum (WAM for short) is a truly wonderful bastion of art right in the heart of Massachusetts.  It's well worth the trip if you're in the area.  Granted, it's not massive in size, but what it does have for a collection is pretty impressive.

Having absorbed a good amount of pieces from the now defunct Higgins Armory, there's a decent collection of weapons and armor to see on top of all the oil paintings and sculptures as well as some nicely crafted furniture.

Some of their finer pieces are a large John Singer Sargent, a few Childe Hassams, a small painting attributed to Rembrandt, a Rodin, there's a Kandinsky, a couple Thomas Eakins', and some very nice Italian Renaissance period pieces as well.

In the front entrance on the floor is a massive tile mosaic that is a wonder to behold.  You can climb the stairs to the next level up and get a birds eye view of it so you can take the whole thing in.  On the wall the museum commissions artists to make a huge mural every few years.  They're currently displaying their 10th, which is a staged photo that has an allegorical nature to it while portraying a similarity to a renaissance painting.

There's a quaint cafe that has delicious lunch foods to enjoy.  There's also a teaching wing to the museum where I myself used to go on Monday nights for their free nude figure drawing open workshops.  It was always very professional and well worth the trip.  I wish I had kept up with it.  Maybe I should get back into it again.

Overall, of all the museums I've visited, I would say that WAM, for it's size and collection, ranks in my top 5.  Granted, I still haven't gone to the Met in NYC or anywhere in Europe, but for a Massachusetts museum it's a good quality spot in the heart of New England.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Control your dog

Angry rant ahead.

I was walking Dante to the local place to board dogs so he can have a temperament test.  The wedding for my friends MC and Ashley is coming up in a few weeks so I needed to get him all signed up for the couple days I'll be away.

It's about 6:45 in the morning and I'm walking my dog with his harness on and a sturdy leash, though I've trained him in the past to be capable of being off-leash this is a busy city with a lot of traffic buzzing by, and he's lagging a little behind, but being his typical chill self.  Up ahead of me I see a dog and it's owner, a somewhat elderly woman who has the gross body of someone that sits around most of the day eating like shit, and the dog is starting to eye us as we approach.

The woman does what turns out to be the only slightly sensible thing of the whole upcoming interaction and upon noticing us, she pulls her dog off of the sidewalk onto the adjacent lawn, waiting for us to pass by.  I smile and nod as we get closer and are about to pass.  I also notice at this point that her dog as a muzzle which is never a good sign.

Then her dog, which is about the size of Dante (50-55lbs), lunges hard while barking and trying to bite my dog through the muzzle.  The retarded old bitch falls to the ground, yelling her dog's name and causing more tension while I'm actively trying to pull the dogs apart.  I grab the dog by the back of it's harness and lift it off my dog, who, after slipping out of his harness from struggling to get away in terror, bolts down the sidewalk and thankfully not into traffic.   I'm flipping the fuck out at this dumb bitch, openly berating her and calling her a fucking retard for having one of those extension leashes that retracts (they are notoriously defective and easily broken), and calling Dante back to me once she has her hand on the harness.

My Adrenalin is through the roof at this point from the fear that my dog almost got chased into oncoming traffic, anger at the dog for not being chill, and rage at this old cunt for knowing how her dog reacts around other dogs and not taking the proper steps to restrain it.  Once I'm sure she has the dog well in hand and Dante is re-harnessed and leashed I tell this old fuck that she's retarded again, that she needs to restrain her dog better when she sees other people with their dogs coming, and that she needs to purchase a real leash.  And for the coup de grace I let her know that she's lucky Dante didn't get hit by a car because if that had been the case I would have grabbed her dog and chucked it into oncoming traffic.

I then proceeded to the boarder where I filled out some paperwork and dropped Dante off for a day of fun interaction with responsible people and friendly dogs.  While walking back home all I had were further thoughts of violence and anger toward that stupid old whore, who had the mandible of an older person that hasn't taken care of their teeth (probably from smoking meth), and her piece of shit dog.

Now, if you don't know already, I am an animal lover and having taken some time to cool off I realize that the only blame should be placed on the crackhead cunt and not the dog.  But, when I go to my red zone, thought isn't present and I don't act rationally.  I am fully of the understanding that what I told her was true.  I would have either thrown the dog under an oncoming car or used the knife I carry to open it's throat if Dante had been killed.  That's some scary shit and it's what I struggle to deal with and have since I was a child.

So, what I implore you all is that you learn to control your dog.  And if you're an old, weak, ex or possible active drug user, who has such a violent dog that you have to muzzle it and has the strength to bring you to the ground, have the goddamn sense not to be the person walking your mongrel.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

On Fame

I was with Matt today getting a late lunch...mid-afternoon snack...early dinner?  I don't know.  We were at NU Kitchen chatting about the typical things and then he asked me a question I hadn't really considered too much: "How would you feel if someone came up to you and recognized you from the show who you had never met previously?"

Now, to be perfectly honest, I've thought about the scenario in a cursory way, but haven't truly considered it from a logical and in depth perspective.  How would I really feel?  My initial reaction is to say that I'd be thrilled.  But, when I really think about it, I feel like I'd probably get real weird about it afterward.

At first I'd be flattered and definitely amused that someone recognized me from the internet and had the initiative to walk up to me, not knowing 100% that it's the person they think it might be, and then interacting with me.  I'd say thank you and talk with them for a short time, but my gut tells me that I'd get super annoyed fairly quickly.  Unless they had the sense to say something quick and then keep it moving, I could see getting frustrated that I'm being bugged in public.  Which runs antithetically to putting yourself out on the internet.  Especially YouTube, where everyone can see exactly what you look like.

I'm a dichotomous person.  Matt and I were talking about the enjoyment of the anonymity a city the size of Worcester affords you.  I love it.  I can go to the same place for weeks on end and essentially the only people who will notice me are the other regulars who tend to keep to themselves and the people who work there.  Unless I put myself out openly, I can maintain my privacy in public.

But, that being said, I do love the "celebrity" status that can be gained in a smaller city like Fitchburg or Leominster.  Being able to go to 5 different places and when you walk in there tend to be at least a few people, if not everyone, who know who you are.  It engenders an interesting sense of belonging within a group of people who are essentially strangers.

So, while being noticed and spoken to briefly would be very cool and I would absolutely be gracious, I can certainly see myself hating it after a while.  Luckily, the 18 subscribers I currently have to my YouTube channel are more than likely all my friends already, so it's not something I have to contend with as of yet.

Also, an update for you all since I know there was concern about his hydration level due to Matt's refined pallet not being compatible with the Evian water I provide for the guests of the Ivory Tower, today he happily downed one of his waters with no complaint at all. 

So just to recap:  You don't fucks with Matt's water!

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

The satisfaction of a great dump!

Yes, it's that time again!  Let's talk about pooping.

So, I woke up early this morning.  Right around 4AM.  I was hankering for something to eat due to the fact that I hadn't eaten anything substantial yesterday.  I kept it liquid all day.  Coffee, Kombucha, Tea, and Water.

The reason for this was that I had binged on popcorn the previous day and was feeling bloated and gross.  Plus I hadn't taken a dump in almost 2 days at that point.  Now combined with nothing yesterday, it was 3 days with seemingly no end in sight.

As I stumbled around the apartment wondering what I should eat all I could think was, "I really wish I could take a satisfying dump right now".  I decided on a couple scrambled eggs with ground beef, mushrooms, onions, and garlic.  BAM!

It was maybe 15 minutes after finishing eating that I felt the rumbling in my tummy.  I got a book and headed to the bathroom to sit on the Ivory Tower's throne.  Much to my relief, things came out fine.  Wonderfully in fact!  I mean, I haven't had that much shit come out of me in one shot in a long time.  I was nervous that it wouldn't all flush and I'd have a shit storm on my hands.

Luckily everything went down without consequence.  And I have to say, the feeling of being totally cleaned out from a few days waste is truly great.  I know this isn't the most glamorous of topics, but it's something we all deal with.  It deserves some attention.

Take care of yourselves and your bowels.

-Phil

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The past is the past and there's nothing to be done about it

While talking with my therapist this week, we were discussing why I struggle with such anger issues, and she said that it's likely that I'm incapable of letting go of things that have happened in the past, which causes a constant frustration within and a general lack of patience with those around me due to wanting to control events so as not be a victim.

Essentially, I need to learn how to let go of what I can't change.  My logical mind understands this, but my emotional self still finds it's way to the feelings I've repressed over the years, and in times of strife, taps into those and there's apparently a wellspring of seemingly unending anger, which comes rushing forward in an uncontrollable flood.

I wish this wasn't the case and I've spent most of my life trying to address it in one way or another.  Granted, there's been quite a bit of time spent on the wrong ways, (drinking, drugs, mischievous behavior) but I'm constantly working on it.  These days I think I've found a decent balance of sobriety, creative outpouring with the show, daily writing, reading, and exercise.

But, I still find myself getting angry about things that I have absolutely no control over, and my patience will disappear instantaneously for no apparent reason.  I will get pissed off at Dante for not responding when I call him quickly enough.  I'll start bubbling up with resentment toward him and start wondering why I even have him.

I'm still stubbornly not speaking to my father.  Over the years we've had kind of an off and on interaction.  The last time I spoke to him I found out he had lost my childhood home due to foreclosure.  Now, I'm basically alright with that since it was my own personal house of horrors.  There are so many awful memories within those walls that I'm happy to not have to go back there.

I'm resentful toward him though for not keeping his shit together enough financially to keep the house, and it's for entirely selfish reasons, if I'm honest.  I always figured that if everything in my life fell apart, I at least had that house to fall back on if I desperately needed it in order to rebuild myself, but that safety net is gone now. 

And yes, there was an even more darkly selfish thought that's pervaded my mind.  I would think of when he finally passes away and what my inheritance would be.  He has his failing auto body business, but now the house and property is off the table, and my guess is all that's left is debt. 

There was this idea in my head that maybe I'd gone through all of the bullshit beatings and abuse as a child, but at least I'd get a decent estate willed to me, not that it would correct anything from the past.  But, maybe it could help alleviate whatever stresses I was dealing with whenever he finally kicked the bucket.  An attempt at an apology after all assaults.  Alas.

The past is irreplaceable and irredeemable.  I'm trying to learn how to accept these facts and move on.  I can't live at my age with so much resentment based in actions that have previously affronted me.  I'll just keep tearing relationships I have in the present apart.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Evil's Consciousness

Porn-brain, from watching too much porn, is about as detrimental to your health as wet-brain, from drinking too much alcohol.  You can find yourself easily drawn down the rabbit hole of porn if you let yourself.  There's so much dark shit on the internet and the free porn sites house a good deal of people's fantasies.

I'm all for people accepting their darker side and embracing their sexual kinks, as long as it's always adult and consensual.  Knowing what people are capable of though is what scares me.  There are some twisted minds out there who walk among us on a regular basis and we're not even close to aware of what they're up to.

DK told me about a guy who was buying some suspicious items and materials.  Luckily he was investigated because it was found that he was building a dungeon in his basement.  Now, there's nothing wrong with a little agreed upon BDSM, but the cages he was constructing were apparently of the size suited for children, not consenting adults.  I shudder to think what his eventual plans were.

The fact of the matter is that there are more people out there who have these sick predilections and aren't actually found out.  People go missing all the time and it's never solved.  You hear on the news of women who are held captive for years on end by these psychopathic fucks.  

What is wrong with people?  Is it just mental instability?  Or is the fact that human beings are the only creatures on the planet that inflict pain and torture on others for their own pleasure the curse of self-awareness?  Perhaps our consciousness is actually to blame.

One of my favorite quotes that I've been known to babble when I was drinking was from the first season of the great HBO show "True Detective".  One of the characters is trying to explain his pessimistic viewpoint of the world and says, "I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution.  We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law."  And, when confronted by the horrific things that people are willing to do to others, I'm inclined to agree with that statement.

By all means, find a partner (or multiples if that's your thing) who will consent to exploring your deviant sexual side. But you know what's wrong, morally, truly, ethically. And if that's something you're trying to be a part of...kill yourself.  The world doesn't need any more sick twisted people who are willing to hurt others for their own pleasure.  Have the courage to open your own throat before you do so to someone else.

Well...this was a dark post, but it's honest.  We don't need predators out there.  The world is hard enough as it is.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Retain your humanity

Yeah yeah yeah, I know.  I committed to writing 1 blog post a day and I keep failing at it.  Whatever.  I make up for it the next day so fuck it.  I'll do what I can, how's that?  On to a more serious topic.

Humanity.  By that I mean the general state in which people treat each other.  So often people can easily lose their humanity when faced with enough pressure.  It's a sad state of affairs when this happens though, because then we're only our base animal selves, and what the hell was the point of our evolution if that's the case?

There are various ways this can happen.  A very common type of base animal instinct is lust.  When someone cheats on whoever they've committed themselves to for lust, it's because they've given up their humanity for those moments of passion, rather than to make conscious decisions.  People will claim things like, "I got caught in the moment" or "It didn't mean anything".  And they're kind of right, but to indicate that the decision was beyond their power is utter bullshit.

At some point they made the choice to give in to animalistic urges over their high conscious humanity.  Whether this is due to their partner having themselves been unfaithful, or maybe they've just grown tired of whoever they're with and are looking for an out, the fact is their mind was made up before the indiscretion ever happened.

A more severe version of losing one's humanity is what happened in the Nazi camps.  The Nazis were too busy fighting a war to police their Jewish prisoners, so they co-opted willing Jews to be the Kapos who would supervise the forced labor of their fellow inmates, and in an awful precursor to "The Stanford Experiment", it was shown that these people would relish their newly achieved power.

I bought "The Gulag Archipelago" by Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, and plan to read that within the next year, but I've heard some horrific things about this first hand account of what happened during Russia's Communist rule.  I've read elsewhere that the people were starving to such an extent that they regressed to animalistic behaviors of survival, such that the government had to post signage warning against the people eating their babies.  It actually happened.

I spoke to my therapist about this and she, a mother of 3, insists that she would never allow herself to regress to such a state, but I'm skeptical because without ever actually facing such a thing, how can you really know what you're capable of?  The basest and most animal instinct in every single on of us is survival.  And sometimes that comes at an impossible cost.

Do your best in this world to retain your humanity.  Be honest with yourself when you've found yourself devolving, even if it is only for a short amount of time, down to the animal inside.  Confront it and learn from it so you can avoid letting yourself fall into that in the future.  There are times it can serve you, but most situations in modern day life do not warrant the need for it.  Use your rational humanistic mind.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Non-Oedipal Complex

My mother left when I was about 1.  She threw me and my half-sister into the foster system without letting my father know her plans.  It took my father around a year to track me down and get me back.  Due to this, I have no real lasting imprint of a maternal figure.

What I do have is many different female friends of my father who helped babysit and raise me until my step-mother came into the picture.  She was around from about 9 years or so and I never really liked her all that much and came to really despise her in my adult years.

They say that men typically seek their mothers in the women they wish to be with, and similarly, women seek their fathers.  Obviously this is a mixture of abstract concepts and specific characteristics.  And yes, sometimes they seek the opposite, dependent on how they were raised and various other nature/nurture influences.

I didn't have any photos of my mother.  I had no understanding of what she was like, her smell, her voice, nothing.  The only thing I knew, in my heart of hearts, was abandonment.  This has served to cripple my expectations of women.

My immediate belief when I get involved with someone is that they will eventually betray and leave me.  "If you will it, it is no dream."  This unfortunately is an all too true statement made by Lenin as I have seen evidence of such in the relationships I've had in the past.

By simply thinking that worst was eventually going to pass, I was a direct contributor in the manipulation of the relationships, until the inevitable happened.  While I'm not saying that I was the sole reason for all of the trouble, I can say with the clarity of mind I have nowadays, I certainly was the major instigator.

I haven't been very fair to the lady-folk and I definitely regret a great deal of my words and actions over the years.  I'm in therapy and working through it finally.  We'll see if I can figure it out and have a stable relationship.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Joy of Children

For some reason, while I'm standing in line at the grocery store and there's someone ahead of me with a small child sitting in the cart's child seat, almost every time, the toddler will look me square in the eyes with a somewhat probing intelligence there.  I'm typically wearing some sort of stoic expression or slight scowl as I genuinely hate being in the grocery store.  Top that off with my general distaste for children, mostly when they're crying or screaming, and you'd tend to think they'd pick up on that and hate me.

Not so!  I don't know why, but children always seem to gravitate toward me and want to smile or point at me.  I try and keep my stern expression for as long as possible, but eventually I crack and will grin ever so slightly, which they pick up on and their sheer happiness at breaking my walled emotional exterior is quite apparent.

I'm so flabbergasted by children.  They are so foreign to me in every way.  I can't imagine ever being able to accept having one of my own.  Mostly due to the things I've gone through in life and also my anger management issues.  I would find it irresponsible for me to have a child.  It makes me too nervous that I could regress into someone truly awful.

The first and only time I've ever held a baby was my friend Tom's first child, Lyra.  It made me so nervous to be holding a newborn, but I must admit that there was a certain thrill.  That doesn't mean I would make a suitable father though.  A short amount of time with a calm baby definitely doesn't indicate that I'm someone who should have kids.

I am very often extremely annoyed by children.  When in restaurants and they start freaking out my hackles raise instantly.  The thoughts I have aren't anything nice or understanding by any means.  Typically they're more aimed at the parents who I think should be taking their wailing toddler outside, but for some reason just sit there, trying to no avail to calm this inconsolable little devil.

I have friends who have children and they are very honest with me, saying that yes, they too get extremely annoyed and frustrated with their children, but there's that whole unconditional love thing, apparently. 

Maybe I'm just jaded because I've experienced the lack of this.  I've been a firsthand witness to parents who don't feel that way and I'm just a good enough person to admit that I could very easily be the same. 

And so, I choose to frown at children in an attempt to make them realize that I don't like them and that I wish they would leave me alone.  But, somehow they're able to see through my facade and break my stony demeanor for just a small shared moment, and I can see a certain triumph in their smile then.

Little shits.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Interviewing

Apologies for the delay folks, I had quite a full day yesterday and ran out of gas early, falling asleep on the couch before writing the daily post.  I had a job interview in the morning, then recorded 2 full episodes of the show back to back, so quite a bit of talking for one day, but it was awesome! 

Now on the heels of all that interviewing I figured I may as well discuss what my process is, both for job interviews and for the interviews I conduct with the guests on the show.  Maybe it'll help you when you go for your next job interview or if you too plan to interview people as part of a creative endeavor.

I'll start with the show since that's probably what you're more interested in anyway.  When I get someone hard scheduled the first thing I tend to do is mine their social media for any sort of information I can find that I don't already know.  I'm hoping in the future to get more people who I've never met so I can really hone my researching skills, but as of right now it's been people I have at decent knowledge of.

I'll write down as much random information as possible because even a small thing can sometimes become a longer conversation.  At times while interviewing the guest I'll feel myself floundering a bit and in search of the next segway and that's when I'll glance down at the page for something random and fairly interesting to mention.

In terms of putting people at ease with conversation topics, I'll generally ask before we start recording if there's anything they'd prefer to stay away from, which helps limit how much editing needs to be done and helps assure them that I'm not trying to bring up dirt for sensationalism. 

Before the guest arrives I clean the apartment as much as I can to keep the dog and cat fur to a minimum, make sure the temperature is comfortable, and also light a pleasant smelling candle.  I also always offer the guests any sort of refreshments they'd like ahead of time, but most people tend to bring their own, or take the water I keep on hand.

Once we're into the actual meat and potatoes of the interview I do my best to affect a relaxed and calm demeanor and this is fairly easy for me at this point since I generally am calm and relaxed these days.  I think this helps the guest as well which allows them to feel more apt to open up and be perhaps a bit more honest than if they felt interrogated.

Most times, the guests have arrived with some feelings of trepidation, which some use various substances to help alleviate, and I certainly have no issues with that and can understand it, but by the end of every episode everyone has admitted they've enjoyed it and would absolutely come back, so I suppose whatever I'm doing is working!

Now, in terms of job interviews, I find them somewhat easy and will say that I've been offered the jobs of probably 95% that I've interviewed for.  That may sound arrogant, but it's the truth at this point.  Having interviewed extensively over the years and also having been the interviewer for a number of years, I have an understanding of what's going to be asked and also what is respected.

In terms of your physical presence in the room, always try to take up a decent amount of space and convey a sense of relaxed confidence.  What I mean by this is cross your legs, but not your arms.  If your chair has arms, keep yours on them, out to the sides.  Don't bounce your leg or constantly fidget with your hands as this shows an amount of anxious energy.

When I interview for a job or when I interview someone looking to get a job, my first tactic is to make things personable.  So, the first thing I'll do is try to find something in the room I can relate to like a picture of a dog, or a certain book.  If there's nothing specific, then go more broad based and choose easy compliments, but don't overdo it because then it's obvious that you're brown-nosing.

And finally, the best way I've found, for me anyway, to convey confidence is to go into whichever job I'm interviewing for with a true and honest understanding in my mind that I don't care if I get the job or not, and even convince myself that I won't take it if it's offered.  This allows me to feel at ease because what do I have to lose? 

So, those are some of my tips on interviewing.  I'm not sure you'll find them useful at all, but hey, this is my blog and I don't actually care what you think!! 

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Monday, August 20, 2018

Japanese Animation aka Anime

I'm not really sure why, but for some reason Anime has some sort of stigma around it.  It's viewed by many as an inferior film technique.  Yet, the same people who would decry it will turn around and exclaim at the newest Pixar movie.  It's utter idiocy.  Not to say that Pixar doesn't have it's fair share of decent films, but honestly, they can't touch the depth and intensity that Anime movies accomplish.

People will also discuss the longevity of "The Simpsons" (a show I thoroughly enjoy) but if you were to stack it up in sheer episode count, it's eclipsed by such shows as "Pokemon", "Dragon Ball Z", and "One Piece".  And "The Simpson" only has one movie, while "Pokemon" and "Dragon Ball Z" have 19 movies each.  And not to mention the strength of the Anime story-arcs which can last for dozens of episodes before reaching their climactic conclusion.

Why do people in general seem to shun Anime and Manga (the Japanese comic book format) as something only geeks are interested in?  Some of the greatest story lines I've ever encountered are from the Japanese.  Read "Battle Royale" for instance.  A story about how every year a class of students is put on an island to fight until the last standing person is left.  This was created long before the bastardized version everyone in the United States knows as "The Hunger Games".

Or, if you want cyberpunk the likes of "Blade Runner", look to the classic, "Akira", one of the films that opened my eyes to the lengths that could be gone to with the medium of animation.  If you're interested in psychological horror, try out "Perfect Blue".  A mind-fuck of movie that makes "Memento" (a movie I do love) seem like kid shit.  If you're more into movies that have lighter themes and heart, then I definitely recommend "My Neighbor Totoro" or "Howl's Moving Castle".

Want giant robots battling it out?  Try out the epic shows "Robotech", "Mobile Suit Gundam", or "Neon Genesis Evangelion".  You'll get more than your fill of badass mechs and the interwoven themes of love, betrayal, friendships, and every other type of human experiences just serve to make wonderfully lush stories.

I understand that a lot of people don't want to read subtitles, which is genuinely too bad because I do believe subtitled movies help with your reading speed and comprehension, but the prevalence of dubbed movies and shows is increasing and the quality is getting much better than it used to be. 

Basically all I'm saying is that you shouldn't so quickly turn your backs on something because other people deem it inferior.  There's a great chance that you're missing out on amazing experiences and entertainment just to seem cool and part of the "in-crowd".  Don't be a fucking sheep.  Try things and make up your own minds.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Dante's lack of Inferno

I love my dog.  I swear I do.  But he's such a fucking pain in the ass sometimes.  And it's really not his fault.  He's just a neurotic psycho and it drives me up a wall to constantly deal with his fear of a stiff breeze through the apartment.  That's no joke.  If I have all the windows open, as I'm wont to do during the nice weather of late, there's a wonderful cross breeze that keeps the whole place nice and cool, but when enough of a gust comes through, Dante will jump up from a dead sleep and run away from the closest window. 

Now, this may seem cute to you, but trust me, dealing with this type of behavior for the past 8 years has grown really tiring.  Not just because he will startle me when he does this, but also due to the fact that there are times that he will crash into a table, knocking things over and causing general chaos.  Not to mention that now and then he'll be in such a state of panic over a door being blown shut that in his attempts to escape the room he'll run headlong into my legs, very nearly toppling me to the floor while I curse him.

Again, since you don't have to deal with any of this yourself, you're probably grinning inside thinking of the catastrophes I'm continuously beset by.  All because I had the inclination that I needed a dog in my life. 

Let's talk about apartment hunting.  Do you know how much having a dog limits your options?  Even a medium-sized, extremely mild-mannered one like Dante.  Landlords are immediately suspicious when you have a dog.  I'm sure it's something to do with insurance claims and liability for bites.  What I find funny though, is that cats are more universally accepted and they're more likely to do things like tear up carpets or mark territory, and they can be pretty vicious at times.

I love Dante and my mind will go to some dark places when he does eventually pass and I won't lie, maintaining my sobriety during the initial days afterward is going to be tough, but if I'm brutally honest, which I try to be more often than is probably advisable, there are times that I wish I didn't have him.  Not him in particular.  A dog in general.  And it's for selfish reasons.

There are things that you can't do when you have a dog, especially if you don't have a readily available support system to look after it when you're out, or the money to board it.  I get invited to places and events that I have to turn down due to not having those things and it's definitely a bummer.  I wonder sometimes at the missed opportunities due to having a dog.

That being said, would I so easily trade the time I've had with him for the few handfuls of possibilities which remain unknown, whereas I've had great times with him?  No.  Even though he frustrates me with his spastic nature, I really shouldn't complain as he's so well-behaved, and I really only have so long with him.  He won't protect me from an intruder, even if they're actively assaulting me, but he will come lick the tears off my cheek when I'm in the throes of debilitating depression.  So yeah, I love my dog.

Take care of yourselves and your dogs.

-Phil

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Loneliness

Most of us aren't strangers to the unfortunate feelings of loneliness.  That sometimes crippling feeling of being without any sort of anchoring people in our lives.  I know it well myself.  There will be days on end when I have little to no communication with anyone.

The problem becomes when you start feeling so isolated that it becomes a self-assessment which yields on feelings of uselessness.  After all, there has to be a reason you're left to your own devices and irrational thoughts, so, the eventual conclusion inevitably turns, at least for me, to a self-deprecating one.

Combating loneliness can be extremely tough and sometimes futile, but having had to deal with an extensive amount of it in my life, I've come to learn some techniques when no one is around that I'm going to share forthwith, in no particular order.


  1. Read - Reading, especially fiction, can take you out of whatever misery you may be feeling at the moment.  It's called Escapism for a reason, so why not use it to your advantage?
  2. Go sit somewhere public - I personally like to go to coffee shops or diners during busy times and sit anonymously and just absorb the conversations and general bustle of all the surrounding people.  It gives you the feeling of being interactive while also affording you the privacy you may desire, as I do.
  3. Go on a walk, hike, or bike ride - Being out in the open air, experiencing nature or the urban landscape will pull your mind out of itself, which is where loneliness tends to spring from.  That constant self-examination of your surroundings, when they remain constant, will eventually lead to the realization of your loneliness, so fucking bail on that shit.
  4. Write - Writing can help extricate the negative emotions associated with loneliness.  Now, this is a double-edged sword because as you write you will be delving ever deeper into those emotions, but without walking through Hell you can never make it to Heaven, as it were.
  5. Involve yourself in something constructively creative - For me it's working on the podcast show or painting.  Some people work on furniture, or scrapbook, or photography.  It doesn't really matter what it is, but when you're actively engaged with something creative that takes an amount of active meditation you'll find yourself immersed in the activity and the feelings of loneliness tend to melt away without a thought.
I'm sure there are plenty more techniques that help to alleviate loneliness and I'd love to hear about them.  Please send me an email about your experiences with this cousin to depression: HangoverHaze@gmail.com

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Friday, August 17, 2018

Social Psychology in Corporate Collapse

Having worked in the corporate world for a time, in a management capacity, I have some insight into what happens when a company begins to have to shed its employees.  I would love to see what sorts of Social Psychology research there's been on just this type of situation.

What I've seen is that people quickly become filled with a sense of resentment for their fellow worker's who continue to thrive and do good work, especially if that work is openly acknowledged, and I believe this is due to realization that they aren't able to maintain their current position when others are clearly continuing to produce.

As the resentment builds, the lower worker will begin to spread their negative feelings outward amongst the other workers, hoping to gain sympathetic allies.  If though, they are met with derision by the others, they will build more resentment, thinking these people are also against them in some way.

Realistically, more often than not, the worker is merely concerned with themselves and whether they'll be able to keep their current status of employment as they see the corporation falling apart into disarray.  In general, everyone is looking out for themselves, without much concern for their coworkers.

There are though, those workers who will take any advantage they can in order to retain their employment, even if it means taking down those around them in order to do so.  This type of person is the worst kind of employee and an insidious problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.  If not, they will spread their negativity like a cancer within those who are doing their best to stay focused and work.

The point I'm trying to make in a very shitty way (apologies, I'm tired and I'll try speak on this again with more clarity in the future) is that most people have a self-survival instinct.  Some people, unfortunately, have it at such a level that they are willing to hurt anyone around them to get what they want and they'll do their best to drag as many people down with them.

Misery truly does love company and exhibits it's profound jealousy of those who can persevere through tough times in an obvious and pathetic manner.  Always keep an eye out for these types of people.  They're the ones who will drag you under if you try to save them from drowning.  Sometimes, when all they seem able to do is struggle against you saving them, the best thing you can do is let them drown and swim away.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Happiness - Not the Dylan Baker kind

What's the value that we tend to put on this elusive thing we call happiness?  Why does it seem to come at such a high cost within our lifetime?  There isn't any way to rationally define what it actually is, except to say that we know it when we have it, and perhaps more detrimentally, when we don't.  When we find ourselves with a severe lack of it, we rail with profound fury against the suffering of the day to day, convinced that we deserve to feel otherwise.

In fact, if we were to examine a large set of our lives I have no doubt that we would find the larger swath to contain a low grade suffering that was pervasive throughout, and that the bursts of actual happiness are few and far between.

Were we to further examine that happiness, my guess is that we'd find the greatest depths of it to be of an almost primal nature, not generally associated with the higher mind pursuits, but in fact more in line with things like the first orgasm, tasting of bacon, or upon hearing the laughter of a child.

In effect what it seems to me is that we constantly pursue these defined things in our lives in an effort to gain the undefinable thing known as happiness, when in fact were we to rather settle into our routines and put the thought of happiness as an abstract out of our minds, we'd more readily find ourselves experiencing it.

For instance, while walking around the city, I don't actively pursue finding things that will bring about the physiological responses within myself to elicit the feeling of happiness.  Yet, when confronted with a particular cloud formation while listening to an explosively uplifting piece of music, I will find myself with an odd feeling in my being brought on by the combined experience of seeing something beautiful and associating the music with the feeling presented.  That's happiness.

It's a fleeting thing overall.  At times only microseconds.  There are the rare occasions when you and a friend get into such a fit of the giggles that you can no longer even understand what's funny, but the laughter persists, and the feeling of happiness is extended by this.

Happiness may be one of the most addictive feelings in existence, as we all seem desperate to feel and immerse ourselves, and those we love, in it.  "Share this hit of happiness with me". 

Love is not happiness.  Please don't make that foolish mistake.  Love is far more complex and varied than that.  Love involves happiness of course, but it also is made up of resentment, envy, pride, sadness, pleasure, and so much more.  Some day I will write about Love as concisely as I'm able.

So, to close, walk more and look at clouds while listening to rousing music.  Maybe happiness will find you.  Or do whatever it is that takes your mind off of such foolish pursuits as that of happiness itself.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Death: Now and Forever

It's not something any of us will escape.  We all think about it in some cursory way on all too regular a basis.  Some of us flirt with what the idea of suicide can be.  Who will be affected and how we'd go about it.  The finality of it all isn't easy to accept, yet, of all things in life, it's truly the one thing we have absolutely no control over.  Death is coming for everyone.

A woman who I care deeply for informed me that her father passed away yesterday.  I knew him in the way you know someone's parents when you go to their house for holidays and on the random drop-ins.  I enjoyed the man greatly.  He had a sharp wit, smooth manner, and a charisma that clearly had suited him throughout his life.  His eyes regarded me with a hawkish intelligence, as though judging whether I was a wolf in sheep's wool or if I was the genuine lion who loved his daughter.  I think he liked me as he seemed to enjoy telling me stories about his youth and what it's like to be a part of the Freemasons, of which he was ranked a Deacon, if memory serves me.

I eventually showed his daughter the true rage-filled bull I am and destroyed the chance of ever meeting him again, and that really sucks.  I would love to sit and talk further with him if I could.  He had quite the checkered past, not all of which he had told me mind you, but definitely had no issues telling me about how he would help the touring bands in Boston back in the 70s get whatever they were looking for.  He, like me, had a propensity toward drinking and getting violent, but had worked his way out of it over the years.  I have a great deal of respect for that as I deal with that struggle myself.

I'm not sure what he died of, though I know he had battled cancer for some time, and I thought it had been in remission, but considering the way it ended between his daughter and I, it didn't cross my mind to ask. I just expressed my condolences at the news.

It's a shame that we don't live forever is what some people seem to believe, but consider how meaningless life really would be if it never had a discernible end.  What makes every moment so precious is that it will never happen again.  We take it all for granted, probably because we're just overly intelligent apes who are pre-programmed to fuck, eat and sleep, but a more concerted effort should be made toward appreciating every breath we draw in.

I'm not specifically religious.  Meaning I don't subscribe to any religion in particular.  Nor do I stringently cling to the idea of Atheism with the fervor of a radical believer in whichever religion.  What I do believe is that I am a moron and the workings of this universe are so incredible in what science has been able to show thus far, that for me to claim any truthful knowledge beyond argument is hubris above measure, and would just further prove my ignorance.

All I can say is that when we die what we know as this current state of being is changed.  Into what, I have no earthly or existential clue, but I'm certain that it's different.  Much as each moment is different than the last, and the next, and this one now, so too is our life unto death.

Please try and make each moment memorable and positive and let the people you care about know that you do.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Enjoy whatever the next chapter in this existence is Mr. Rossi. It was an honor to meet you and I'm still sorry for what happened between me and your daughter.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My growth as a reader

Books are magical things.  Worlds within pages that allow us to escape the inescapable march of life toward death, if only for a short time.  To become a reader, a true purveyor of books and their meaning within, is a journey that's long and only ended by death.

I began quite early, or so I've been told by my father, and have never truly stopped.  I've had periods of drought in general interest, but there's never been any significant length of time where I wasn't reading something, anything, to keep my mind engaged.

The earliest books I can recall are ones like "The Berenstain Bears" and the Little Miss and Mr. books, such as "Little Miss Stubborn" and "Mr. Tickle".  After which I started in on the Shel Silverstein books, classics like "A Light in the Attic" and "The Giving Tree".  Oh, I did of course read Dr. Suess as well, but I always found Silverstein to be the superior writer.

As I grew toward adolescence I became enamored with "The Great Brain" books.  Those I relished because I, even then, had some understanding that my brain was something to be nurtured and nourished.  I grasped the tenant of "Knowledge is Power", though I couldn't full appreciate what that really meant. Another book at this time that was fairly formative was "Ben and Me", a story about how a mouse was the primary influence behind Benjamin Franklin's greatest achievements.

On Sunday mornings the Boston Globe was delivered to our house and I would tear into the comic pages with great excitement, knowing that there would be a half page spread of my favorite strip, "Calvin and Hobbes", which remains, in my estimation, the greatest newspaper comic strip ever created.  At my younger age I loved that I could readily identify with Calvin and all of his misadventures with his ever present sidekick Hobbes.  As I grew older and reread them, I came to realize that the stories within contained valuable philosophical lessons that applied to a greater context of life overall.  It is extremely brilliant in it's conception and I urge everyone to read them.

Comic books were the next logical progression and I found in them the moral and ethical dilemmas of the Hero and Anti-Hero plot devices.  The lessons learned from too many titles to bother listing here are ones that to this day I take heart in.  I cannot stress how important these were to my learning of what to truly expect in and from the world.  Comic books have, until fairly recently, been relegated to the "geeks" and looked down upon by parents as some sort of lowest class art form.  They are absolutely the opposite.  In combining fantastic stories, within the serial structure (similar to that in which Dickens worked), with amazing artwork and cinematic viewpoints (which Orson Welles openly admitted to mimicking), with an appeal across all avenues in life, male and female, superhero and antihero, high literature and absurdism...well, there should be more thought and research given to the impact given.

In sixth grade I remember borrowing "The Hobbit" from my Social Studies teacher, Ms. Hay.  She was adamant that I treat the book with the utmost care and to return it immediately upon finishing.  She was also an early twenties blond woman with a diminutive, but curvaceous, figure who wore dark nylons and skirts that hinted at something tantalizing and foreign within.  So, I was all too happy to comply.

After finishing that book, and absolutely loving it, I had to borrow the entire "Lord of the Rings" set she had and tore through that with fervor.  Those books set me on my path of reading full-sized novels for pleasure.  They also helped introduce me to the worlds of Fantasy and eventually Science Fiction.  Once you're set down those roads, if you follow them long enough, you'll find yourself in the worlds of fiction written as a way to cover more subversive and political topics.

I read "1984" at some point in high school.  Not because it was assigned reading, as I rarely, if ever, would read what my intellectual captors were prescribing, but in fact because I had read George Orwell's staggering "Animal Farm" in 8th grade for a book report and gotten an A+.  "1984" opened my eyes to what literature can do and the power it holds.  I then started to dive as ravenously as I could into what is commonly termed as 'Literary Fiction'.  Such profound books as "The Fountainhead", "Executioner's Song", "Cat's Cradle", "A Brave New World", "Crime and Punishment", etc. ad nauseam.

Of late I've been turning more readily to philosophical, psychological, and spiritual texts, perhaps more eager than ever to find a common meaning in all of this banality, and also for some enlightening answers to the questions mankind has posed itself since our awakening to consciousness. Nietszche, Lao Tsu, Plato, Freud, Jung, Peterson, Sun Tsu, and various others are whose minds I currently mine in those attempts to feed my desire.

I don't foresee a time when I won't find solace in books and the knowledge therein.  If that were the case, I believe that I would make amends with life, and realize that was my last day in this material world...and I am a material girl.

Take care of yourselves and keep reading.

-Phil

Modern toilets

Why do we poop and pee into water?  Fresh water.

I don't really understand why modern technology hasn't sought out a new way that makes more sense.  Of all the things that we continue to do throughout our lives, defecation and urination are a constant, yet for some reason we still use an antiquated sewer system.

The internal combustion engine, hailed as the greatest technological advancement in history, is not long for this world.  Computers have come from being the size of large commercial rooms to fitting in our pockets.  Refrigeration has replaced spices for preserving food.

Why the fuck are we still pissing and shitting in fresh water, flushing it down through pipes that corrode and fall apart over time?  Isn't there something else that can be done?

Granted, I'm not the guy who has any of the answers, but there's got to be one.  I personally don't believe that anyone is really thinking too deeply about this problem as they don't think there is one.  It's perfect just the way it is, right?  Fuck that.

Are you even aware that the modern toilet is designed terribly?  We aren't supposed to sit with our legs at a 90 degree angle, we're supposed to squat, hence the advent of things like the Squatty Potty.  Instead of improving our toilet, we buy add-ons.

And why the fuck isn't America using bidets?  They're fucking genius and Europe loves them.  Instead, we clog our septic systems with "flushable" moist wipes.  If your pipes are even a little aged, those wipes are going to catch, build up, and clog your system up, causing you nothing but a very expensive fix.

Come on people!  Let's get some of this shit taken care of...figuratively AND literally!

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Monday, August 13, 2018

Fashion over Comfort - What horseshit!

That idea is the dumbest fucking thing I've ever heard.  I understand that I'm a guy so it's different, but I would love a woman's input on this.  Who the fuck ever said that fashion should be put as more important than comfort should be punched in the goddamn throat.

Now, I get that women have a much different ideal to constantly try to live up to, but shouldn't there have been some woman's revolution within the fashion world, whereby the comfort became fashionable?  And I don't mean making it cool to wear yoga pants, slippers, and a busted tank top out and about, though people certainly seem fine doing it, especially at Walmart for instance.

I'm saying that it surprises me that there hasn't been some sort of upheaval by fashion designers to create dresses and footwear that is both functional with comfort in mind, but also sleek and worthy of being called "high fashion". 

Granted, the industry is largely dominated by men and I suppose that's why you see men's fashion as being quite comfortable, in general.  It's had hundreds of years of transformation under the eyes and minds of men who realized that it should be paramount to feel comfortable while also looking good.  I do believe that there can be some sort of similar efforts made for women in this regard.  I'm certainly not the one to do it.

Also, don't ask me to hold your fucking shoes at the end of the night when your feet are hurting because you decided to wear uncomfortable heels and didn't plan ahead by bringing some flats to change into.  You look ratchet walking around in bear feet and that's your own damn fault.  And don't try and convince me that you did that for me, you did it for yourself, much like the altruistic notion in people, it's selfishly based.  You just want as many eyes on you as possible.  If it was just for me, you'd wear them in the bedroom, not out in public.

That's not to say that I have a problem with you showing off your figure in public and trying to gain as much attention as possible.  Hell, we live in a society where that's coveted, so it's no surprise to me.  Just don't get pissy at me when I refuse to hold your shoes and give you shit for not planning ahead, that's all.

But, as I stated earlier, it's definitely not too fair for women that the ideal they need to strive for is not comfort based.  I'm not super comfortable when I clean up and wear a tie and such, but I'm not overly uncomfortable either.  And the slightly loosened tie even has a certain appeal to it that women like.  So even when we're dressed up, we can find a way to be comfortable and fashionable.

Come on designers of the world!  Get your shit together!  Help these ladies out for fuck sake!

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The power of the "New Media" and why you should be taking advantage NOW!

It's a gloomy, rainy, and temperate day.  I have the windows open and the AC off.  The breeze is cool and refreshing after so many days of high heat and humidity of late.  I'm sitting on the couch while taking in the day.  Just trying to enjoy the calm peaceful quiet of the moment.  

Fuck...I should write today's blog I guess.  And I still have to record the intro for tomorrow's Hangover Haze episode, then edit it and cut it into what I already have.  Basically, it's time to get off my ass and get some shit done.

While taking my shower I was listening to an interview between Jordan Peterson and David Fuller in which they were discussing how Jordan has risen from relative obscurity to sharing the worldwide stage with such thinkers as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Bret Weinstein, Heather Heying, Christopher Ryan, and Debra Soh, just to name a few.  Some of whom have been grouped into what people have dubbed the "Intellectual Dark Web" or the I.D.W.  New York Times article about the I.D.W. and it's "members".

What the interview I was listening to got me interested is what Dr. Peterson has to say about the place "New Media" has in today's societies and cultures.  He also goes on to explain how it threatens the traditional media.  Jordan Peterson Interview in which he explains the "New Media" and it's effects. 

I am new to all of this stuff, but it's been growing in popularity and prevalence, especially in common every day conversation, over the past decade or more.  I can only agree full with what Jordan says in the interview and to wholeheartedly agree that we live in a new world now where everyone can have a global voice.

Granted, the large majority of people won't have anything too intelligent to say and prefer to out content that is strictly low brow entertainment, but that's fine.  The best thing about these new technologies and their current affordability is that anyone can create and we now have access to people who will create amazingly intellectually enlightening content!

Never in the history of mankind have we been so connected and easily accessible.  There are great dangers in this, but there is also the capacity for such a wealth of knowledge that even the library of Alexandria pales in comparison.  We are so lucky to be alive in this new age of enlightenment and everyone should be doing their best to take full advantage.

Get online and join the discussions, create content, promote your beliefs and those of who you agree with!  One of the double edged swords of the internet is the anonymity it provides.  This lets people troll and be fucking shitheads who want to vent their own self-esteem issues on everyone they can.  But, the adverse has it's advantages in that people who are socially inept or awkward can join in and take their time to express their opinions.

I for one am excited for what the future holds as these technologies and "New Media" expands and evolves into the norm.  I'm happy to be part of the discussions and plan to continually try to explore more long-form conversations and will be pushing more to get into headier topics moving forward.

You should join in!

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Friday, August 10, 2018

Fall flat on your face for failure's inevitable lessons

I woke up this morning and started working on the audio issue that I explained in the previous blog post.  Once I got it all fixed and uploaded, someone let me know that they were happy to hear the show through both speakers, and then indicated that it would be great if the other episodes had the same.  Wait, what!?

So, it turns out that every episode I had put up on YouTube had the same issue as last night's Thirsty Thursday episode and I'd never noticed.  Reason being that I generally would do my video editing with just the computer speakers and didn't pick up on the fact that audio was only coming out of the left speaker.  I think I just attributed anything I may have thought was odd as the fact that I have an older laptop and the speakers aren't anything special.

I put on headphones this morning and immediately noticed the problem and was feeling super dumb, defeated, and just annoyed overall.  If my show has any binding theme it seems to be that every week I find out that I fucked something up and need to fix it after the fact. 

It took all day, but in the next half hour the final episode will be uploaded and all of them will be corrected and in Stereo.  The positive thing is that I learned a new technique in Lightworks (the video editing software I use) that I wasn't aware of previously. 

The lesson is self-evident.  Fail to learn.  It's really how we're wired as a species.  We make mistakes and then strive to never make them again, always stretching ourselves toward an ideal of perfection, but we know we'll never reach it.  If we were to reach perfection, there would be no more learning, and then what would the point of existence be?

Not a damn thing.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Even doing what you love can suck sometimes

I love doing the Hangover Haze Show.  It's something that I'm proud of and that I absolutely enjoy throwing myself into every week.  Lining up guests, researching them and what sorts of topics I plan to discuss, editing and uploading the episodes, and even the constant social media presence.  I love it all!

But, that being said, there are days, like today, where I just get super annoyed and frustrated.  I just finished recording the newest episode of Thirsty Thursday (a weekly subset of the Hangover Haze Show where I discuss more personal topics and try to reveal myself in a direct manner) and after editing the audio, which came out just fine, I started working on the video. 

After lining up the audio with the video and cutting out any excess that didn't need to be part of the episode, I started the extraction process which takes a decent amount of time, and upon finishing I played it to make sure it was good, but for some reason the audio came out of the left speaker only.

Now, I checked the original audio file and then the extracted mp3 and everything was fine, it had all recorded and extracted in stereo, but for some reason when I imported it into my video editing software it translated to left-side mono. 

After frustratingly trying to figure it out, I realized it was getting late and I'm trying uphold my commitment to having it published on Thursday, plus I still had this blog to write.  So, I uploaded the episode to YouTube as is, which upsets me.

Being the way I am, I'll spend the next few hours trying to figure it out and then replace the existing audio once I do.  It's just annoying as hell and now I'm going to be missing out on my most beloved sleep to try and fix something that I haven't dealt with before.

My point is just to explain that even though you are doing something you love, there will be times when it's a huge pain in the ass, but you've got to persevere through because every day isn't going to be roses and sunshine.  Sometimes you've got to roll your sleeves up and swim in the shit.

It happens.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Kids with flies on their faces

It was hot last night.  There was a water main break in the late afternoon yesterday and this caused there to be a power outage in a large swath of the city.  After a couple of hours trying to deal with the rising temperature in my apartment I decided to get a Lyft to Nu Kitchen and enjoy their AC.

While sitting here (yes, I'm back today) last night I got to see what is apparently a Scrabble Club having their weekly game night.  There were 5 tables with what appeared to be tournament grade Scrabble boards, that come on lazy susans, to help each player more easily see the board from several angles.  

I've never witnessed this before.  I've seen, and played in, plenty of Chess clubs, but never a Scrabble one.  It's never been my game, which comes to some surprise to people who know my propensity for verbosity.  I don't know what to tell you though, I can't seem to combine the strategy and wordsmithing successfully, and find I'm more drawn to Chess.  A game which I've really only found a few actual competitors.

I got home at probably 10PM and the power was still off.  After uttering a string of expletives I took Dante out and then started lighting candles.  Luckily my phone had full charge and can be used as a hotspot, so I set up my laptop and watched an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, where his guest is Sam Harris, and sweat it out on my couch in misery.  

Sometime around midnight the power, thankfully, came back on.  It still took another hour or so for my little window AC to cool down the apartment enough for me to feel less uncomfortable.  Now I was up though, and that was annoying me, because I was looking forward to a nice restful sleep, alas.

This caused me to think about what a first-worlder I am and how much I really bitch about simple discomfort that most of the world exists in as a standard.  How weak I really am.  I've been forced into very tough living situations in my life and maybe I just don't want to ever feel like I'm regressing back into them.  Or maybe I'm just a soft little bitch who takes everything I have for granted and I should learn to appreciate that most of the world doesn't have the luxury I have.

It's funny, when I listen to Jordan Peterson (I'm still slogging though his lectures), he discusses quite often how annoyed he is with the people who complain about the 1%.  If you're living in America in even the lower class income bracket, you're already the 1% of the planet, yet you'll complain about the 1%, who are the 1% of the 1%.  It's ridiculous.  Just be thankful you're not one of those kids with the flies all over your face.  Be thankful you can read this on your phone, or computer, or that you can even fucking read to being with!

There's some nice AC in Nu Kitchen right now, but I'm going to leave in a little bit to ride my bike back home to beat the rain, and get back to my chilly apartment.  I'll try and appreciate it a little more while I bask in its cold embrace and I'm not sweating into the seat cushions of my couch.  

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Only in dreams

Dreams are weird.  I know, that's such an intelligent and thought out statement.  But it's true!  They're weird.  There are many theories as to what they actually are and do for us, but realistically, no one actually knows for sure.

Are they the Astral Plane?  Are they just images of thoughts we have?  Are they random or specific?  I'm fairly skeptical of people who say they can lucid dream at will.  I haven't tried any of the techniques to supposedly train yourself how to do it, so who knows, maybe it really is a skill some people have.

I find that my dreaming is much more vivid and recognizable while sober.  I think this has a direct correlation to having a sharper mind and not constantly walking around with "wet brain".  It probably helps that I'm not blacking out before sleep as well.

Sometimes I have dreams that I could swear are in direct relation to things that happen after I've dreamed them.  Similar to Deja Vu, but definitely interlaced with far more metaphor which makes me confused.

It's possible that consciousness works the way I tend to think it does, a large pool of energy that is shared within the universe and that we all come from and eventually go to, though time is a relative construct that has no real application in this sense, and if so, dreams could be a direct result of that shared consciousness.

But, hey, what the fuck do I know?  I'm just a weird guy with problems who likes to talk to people for a podcast show and write thoughts out for the world to see in a public blog. 

I will say that I thoroughly enjoy dreaming.  Even the dark nightmares that I will sometimes have.  There's something comforting about being asleep and having crazy thoughts and adventures.  It's basically as real a fantasy or sci-fi story as I'll ever experience.

And, if I'm being truly honest, in dreams I get to relive some of the best experiences of my life, or in some cases, do them over and get it right.  Be my perfect self as seen through my own eyes.

It would be nice if I could translate that person into reality.  But, that's only a dream.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Monday, August 6, 2018

Be careful of nihilism

While in my "You're a drunk screw up who got a second DUI" class today we discussed what it would be like to have what's called a "lapse".  It's not a full blown relapse, just a moment of weakness where you drink again for a short time.  Not enough to actually fall back into the vicious cycle of destruction, but a definite slip up.

It made me think about what I constantly deal with in terms of my own sobriety.  As I've stated previously, I can't fully consider myself a sober person, at least not in my own eyes, until I have a good deal of time under my belt.  I've gone a few months in the past, but not really any substantial time, not since I was in my early twenties anyway.

I can recall enjoying things when I was in my teens, before I drank on a regular basis, but I don't feel the same way now.  I'm sure it just takes a while, I hope, because if life is going to forever be less interesting sober, that's going to be quite the battle to avoid the inherent nihilistic traps I find myself falling into when I succumb to the darkness.  But, I think it's just a matter of time and retraining.

Nihilism is an awful place to find yourself.  Yes, the Big Lebowski made it seem funny of course, but the reality is a dangerous thing.  Listening and reading more Jordan Peterson lately has really opened my eyes to the immensely chaotic and tragic place the nihilistic perspective of existence is.  He explains it very concisely by making reference to the Columbine shooters and a few others of a similar bent.  They left notes of complete and utter nihilism.

When I'm in the throes of the darkness I become more self-destructive than anything I ever imagined.  I remember being younger and thinking anyone who lived like that must just be weak and now I know differently.  People who live like that are in immense pain.  It's pain like that which can be the hardest to move past.  But, I'm learning how.

You can't think past it.  You can't bull your way through it.  It's pain that has to be confronted, addressed, and accepted.  It's not easy and it in no way makes you a weak person to acknowledge that you can't do it alone.

Riding my bike has been enjoyable.  I find myself feeling the youthful exuberance feeling the wind whip by me and that wonderful sound when you backpedal.  Another thing I love to do is put Pandora on a classical station and walk the city.  You can see me often grinning up at cloud formations while the rising crescendo of a Brahms symphony lifts me out of my egotistical self-involvement and gives me the feeling of understanding that there is something beautiful in existing.

Even though I may not currently enjoy all of the things I used to with the same ease as my sober youth, I do have the hope that the small moments of happiness I feel now and then will continue to increase.  I'm trying to recover.  I'm trying to rejoin the world of the living.  It's just taking a while.  But, I'm a stubborn bull, and I'm focusing it on this instead of self-destruction.  I actually believe it's worth it...finally.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Fucking Jazz Bullshit Band

Ok, so it's bad enough that I forgot to masturbate before leaving the house to head down to NU Kitchen, hoping to get out of the Ivory Tower for a little while and relax, work on this, along with some other projects.  You know, keep myself occupied, calm and collected.  But, much to my chagrin, I arrived and there's a fucking Jazz cover band in the corner, and it turns out they're playing from 11 - 1PM today...and it's only 11:30.  FUCK ME!

It wouldn't be so bad if my computer and headphones could drown out their bullshit, but it's not working out so well.  I actually have some heavy punk music playing at full volume in my studio-style headphones and I can still hear the faintest parts of their dogshit making its way through to disturb me.

So, I'm all jammed up with cum unreleased into an awaiting paper towel, have a couple geezers who look like twin child rapists with DK-esque mustaches jazzing the day away, and I hate everyone right now.  I wonder where they parked their windowless rape van.  Probably near the comic store around the corner.

One dickhead is wailing away at the keyboard while "singing" in a talky cadence, I'm sure you can imagine the way, sort of Rat Pack without the style or flair.  The other child-ass raper is plucking diligently away at his pretentious stand-up bass, looking with that secretive look in his eyes down at his partner that seems to say, "You excited for when this set is over so we can get back to the surprise we have tied up in the woodshed?"

Motherfuckers ruining my goddamn Sunday enjoyment and solace.

Alright, I know I know.  I'm being a real dickhead.  I apologize to no one and everyone, in particular.  I'm not a Jazz fan in the first place, much less when it's cloaked by covers of popular songs.  Don't try and sucker me into your point-counterpoint music form using structured songs.  I won't fall for it.  I'll get to Jazz in my own damn time.

I will say this.  At least they have the balls to pursue what they apparently enjoy, in front of an audience that is largely millennial and younger.  Most of use are sitting in front of laptops with headphones on and I can say for sure that the rest of the crowd isn't paying any attention to them at all.  I sincerely hope they aren't child rapists...the grey hair, diminutive frames, old-man glasses, and creepy mustaches belie otherwise though.

Also, I rode my bike here in the hot as fuck sun, covered in sweat, so no, I'm not just going to get up and leave.  I'm committed at this point so I should just shut the fuck up and accept what is and not let it upset me so much.  Right?

Good Point Phil!

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Nothing gets done until you do it

I grew up fat.  By the time I was 21 I weighed 320 pounds, and at a height of 5'9" that is extremely, morbidly obese.  If I went anywhere to sleep overnight, like up to UMASS Amherst to hang out with friends, I had to bring my CPAP machine, due to having Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  This was always an embarrassing and awkward thing to explain to people.  It didn't help that I was smoking a pack and a half a day, typically Marlboro Reds. 

Tom and I were talking one day and he looked at me and stated very frankly, "I'd rather you lost the weight and smoked for the rest of your life because the weight will definitely kill you first."  It didn't affect me right away but it definitely stayed in my head enough to be a constant, pestering thought, and eventually it helped motivate me to not only lose the weight, but also to quit smoking cigarettes.

I recall the first gym I joined, a "World Gym" in Chelmsford, MA.  I think I really liked the logo they had.  It was a muscular gorilla holding a bent, stacked barbell, while standing on top of the world.  Almost the antithesis of Atlas holding the world up on his back.  I was talked into an overly-expensive monthly plan and started going almost immediately.  If I was paying for it, I might as well use, was my thought at the time.

Over the next year and a half I did cardio for up to an hour and a half a day, six days a week, which facilitated in me losing 80 pounds.  Once I got down to 240, it was like I hit a wall, which I've since learned is called a plateau.  So, I started doing research into proper nutrition.  I worked a 3rd shift job as a security guard so there was plenty of time to read Men's Health and Muscle and Fitness magazines.  I'd spend the night developing meal plans for the weeks ahead.

I saw more improvements once I got a handle on what the human body needs for energy and what is just dogshit that's marketed as a way to easily sell product and only appeal to the taste buds.  What reading those magazines also taught me though, was that cardio and a balanced diet weren't going to get me where I truly wanted to be, which was a well muscled, lower body fat, healthy person.  If I continued the way I was going I would just look like a cracked out marathon runner (Healthy marathon runners don't look cracked out...but I also wasn't getting much sun in those days and was tired all time due to my work schedule...not saying anything negative about runners).

Also, at some point during my transformation, I read the story "The Iron" by Henry Rollins.  If you don't know it, I suggest you read it as it's an extremely inspirational story about how he worked his way from being a scrawny, weak teenager, into the musclebound and intelligent man he is, even now.  Anyway, I started hitting the weights, and did so without ego, knowing that technique trumps everything else.

So, 2 and a half years after I started working out, I was somewhere between 24 and 25 years old, in the best shape of my life, feeling confident and no longer embarrassed by myself in the mirror.  I also no longer needed the CPAP machine.  I still snore, and I believe I always will to some extent, but it's nothing like when I would choke repeatedly through the night.  If you don't know about sleep apnea, look it up, it's pretty fucked up and can cause an array of health problems.

If there's something you know you need to do, whether for your personal health, growth, development, or general happiness:  Fucking do it!  You can only sit around and think about doing what you know in your heart you need to do for so long because you'll never have a better time to start than right fucking now.  The longer you wait, the longer it will be before you get to the end result you're searching for, and the longer you'll suffer with whatever inner turmoil you are no doubt suffering.

I know this to be true because I've gone through many of these phases in my life and I'm a stubborn shithead who learns after major events, not before, unfortunately.  If I had spent more of my life actually going after what I want, what I know I need, and those pursuits that would only help me, I'd be in a far better place right now.  But, I try every day to not spend my time and thoughts on regret, as this is only counterproductive.  My battle is with my ego, my arrogance, and the negative forces that I've so easily accepted on too regular a basis in the past.

It's worth it to start NOW!  Even if it's just to make the plans to eventually do "it", whatever that may be, I promise there's nothing more worthwhile.  As DK once said, "Get your shit together!"

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Friday, August 3, 2018

Doing it when you don't feel like it

I really haven't felt like writing a post today.  Not really sure why.  Nothing overly negative today happened.  Positive actually.  I had a phone interview for a job, and it went well enough that I now have a physical interview scheduled for Wednesday morning.  It's not something I'm excited about really, but definitely not making me feel upset or depressed in any way.

I was disappointed in the lack of thunderstorms today.  My weather app has been letting me know that there were definitely going to be downpours all day, so I got up nice and early, walked down to Goldstar Diner and had a nice breakfast before hiking back to make sure I was awake for the call. 

There was a little bit of rain for about an hour, but definitely not anything substantial.  Then it got sunny out.  So I rode my bike down to Price Chopper and did some grocery shopping.  I liked that quite a bit actually.  I bring my backpack and am able to fit a good deal of food in it so I'm thinking I'll do that twice a week, rather than pay to have it delivered by PeaPod, which is what I've been doing.

Basically during the rest of the day up until now I've been editing episode 6 of the show, and then re-editing the sound for the episode of Thirsty Thursday I put out last night, because I watched it this morning to see how it came out on YouTube and realized that I needed to rework the sound.  I apologize to anyone who dealt with it as it was.

Other than that I pretty much had interviews and podcasts on and I watched a movie on Netflix.  Some new film with Kelsey Grammar and Kristen Bell.  It was meh.  Seth Rogen's wife directed it and wrote it apparently.  Whatever.

I've been thinking a whole lot more lately.  I'm ravenous for information of late and it's not a bad thing, but I'm definitely closed off and retreating into the Ivory Tower, not coming out for social events because I just don't want to be around anyone who will actually interact with me.  When I do go out I've been posting up at Barnes and Noble or down at NU Kitchen and either reading, or working on this, the show, or the outline I'm putting together for a book I want write...finally.

Oh, and coffee.  Copious amounts of coffee.  I'm trying to figure out a better way to temper my intake throughout the day.  At night I'll make a cup of green tea with honey, but it feels like I'm just substituting it for coffee, which I'm substituting for alcohol...so, round and round we go.

The Winnie the Pooh synchronicity of late is kind of staggering.  I definitely need to re-read those AMAZING books.  All children should be read those books.  The characters within typify the most common archetypes found in society and the stories all have the classic fairy tale moral lessons.  So, I really don't understand the friends I have who disdain these books.  But, they're morons, so it's no surprise I suppose. 😈

I've been thinking of trying to go back to school for Psychology with a minor in Philosophy.  I'm going to do some research in the coming week to see if this is a plausible option.  I'm getting older, but hey, who fucking cares?  I'm finally at a maturity level and sober enough to actually appreciate the teaching.  I don't know...

Ok...fuck this shit for today.  Sometimes you just have to do the damn thing even when you don't feel like it.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Be considerate when you self-destruct

Please do be more careful when you self-destruct.  There are people in the world with you.  In that state of pure and unchecked rage it's easy to forget this, and even if you are capable of understanding that there are others who are just trying to go about their days, you can often find yourself not caring what they could be thinking or feeling once you're that far into the darkness.

I've frequently found myself screaming in abject anger at the least comfortable hours of the night, often in an effort to rouse as many as possible, just to piss off the people in their safe and happy homes.  What can be as terrifying as a blood-curdling cry that's got pure rage and sadness intermixed at 3AM?

It's later, at sober times, like now, when I consider what it must be like to be a small child, quiet dreams broken suddenly by a sound so soaked with emotion, waking up wondering what would happen next.  Is it possible that this monstrous sound had a form that planned to smash through the wall and rend their limbs apart?  What nightmares I must have inspired.

I remember the night I left Worcester for Maryland.  I had a horrible fight with the woman I love and the cops got called.  I had broken things and shattered any chance of forgiveness.  After they left and things were sorted out, at least for that moment, I screamed in the apartment in drunken shame and disgust with myself.  I walked out into the hallway and looked up where I could see the neighbor who lived above me looking back.  He was the type of guy you knew instantly had been, or still was, a career criminal who had seen the inside of a long-term jail cell.  He looked at me and said, "You woke my son up." And I sighed and responded, "I'm having a really rough night.  I'm really sorry.  You won't hear from me ever again."  I went back inside, passed out on the couch for a few hours, then upon waking, left the city.

That boy's father had every reason to come down and beat the shit out of me.  I wouldn't have blamed him and maybe, in that moment, would have welcomed it as penance for my profoundly egregious behavior.  Not only for waking his son up, but for smashing items owned by that woman, and the things I said to her.  (I have since paid her for the physical damage I did to her property, but there's really no way to fix the emotional pain I caused, alas.)

We all have problems and go through monumental shit at times in our lives.  Most people have  well-defined coping mechanisms and are able to keep things under wraps enough so as not to disturb everyone around them.  For some reason (probably just a drama whore) I can't contain my emotions as easily and given enough alcohol I'll go out seeking self-destruction in the most public ways I can come up with in those moments.

Don't do what I've done.  It doesn't lead to anything productive to say the least.  The fact that I haven't been jumped, hit by cars, arrested more often, or killed, surprises me on a regular basis.  I'm doing the sober thing these days and it's definitely a lot safer.  A bit more boring to be sure, but that's the trade off I suppose, and it's good.  I'm hoping I can keep it up long enough to do something of worth.  Something I'm proud to say is mine and maybe even something that helps other people.  We'll see.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Old men at the punk show

Chris, Dan, and myself went to the Worcester Palladium last night for the Rise Against show.  The openers were Anti-Flag and AFI.  It was an alright show, I suppose.  We stood in the back and observed the crowd.  The acoustics were muffled all the way back there.  Chris and Dan drank Miller Lights while I downed Red Bulls.  We looked around a few times and realized that we had become the old men at the punk show.

For years we've been going to shows.  Bad Religion, NOFX, Rancid, The Offspring, Rise Against, Blink 182, etc.  Always pushing our way through the crowd to get as close as possible to the stage.  Happily diving in to the mosh pits to let the unbridled rage of our youth explode in an interesting mix of brutality and love for our fellow concert-goers. 

Now though, we're nearing 40, a little overweight and lacking the stamina of those days.  Plus, it was pretty stifling and hot in the back, so I can only imagine how bad it was on the floor.  I just don't have the desire to do that anymore.  I'm tired much earlier these days.  Hell, about halfway through Rise Against's set I started to yawn, and this is with 3 Red Bulls in me!  We're getting old.

In the old days we would have been the die hard fan who stayed through to make sure there wasn't a second encore and wouldn't have left until the house lights went up.  Now though, once we realized they were playing the last song of the night, we made the decision to head for the door.  Easier to get ahead of the inevitable slow-moving crowd and beat the traffic.

This isn't to say that I didn't have a good time.  It was cool to get out of the house and go enjoy some music and see a show.  I just came to a realization that I'm basically over those days.  I've outgrown the scene I suppose.  I'm sure I'll go to another punk show at some point, but I can tell that the adrenaline-fueled intensity that I felt in my teens and twenties is just gone, and I'm fine with it.  I'll hang out in the back, enjoy the music and some caffeinated beverages, while silently judging everyone as we old folks tend to do.

My point in this rant is that we all eventually get confronted with our aging.  When it comes, as it absolutely will, just figure out a way to accept it and be OK with it.  It's not like you have any other choice after all.  Sit back and enjoy being a crotchety old fuck!

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil