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

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Why drive Lyft/Uber if you're going to be a dick?

So, it's no secret that I can't drive for 2 years due to me being a colossal fuckup and getting a second DUI.  The silver-lining is that I'm currently living a sober life and my creative spirit is getting stronger.  I typically use my bicycle or walk to wherever I need to go around the city and on rare occasion, if I'm running late or the weather is shit, I take an Uber or Lyft.

On three separate occasions I've gotten drivers who have done nothing but complain about the distance they've had to drive and how they won't be making any money on the trip.  Today, after my therapy session, I was waiting for my Lyft driver when I received a call from him asking how far my destination would be and he was saying how far away he was, seemingly indicating that I would be an inconvenience for him.

I understand that when a driver accepts a ping from a rider they can't see where the destination will be, but how is that my fucking problem?  To call me beforehand, basically grilling me about where I was going and bitching about how far he had to drive, was just so beyond what I've experienced thus far with these services.  Obviously it sucks when you drive 20 minutes to pick me up only to drive 3 miles up the road, but that's kind of part it, no?

Not every day at work is going to be perfect.

My plan had been to walk home from therapy as it was almost 100 degrees and sunny when I got there, but in the course of the hour of talking, a crazy thunderstorm came crashing in with torrential downpour.  So, I opted for a Lyft and when there was no response from any drivers I tried Uber, and there were still no takers.  After another 10 minutes of waiting I tried again with Lyft and this guy was the first response.

When I got into the car for the ride home the first thing he did was start complaining about how far he had driven to pick me up and that he wouldn't be making any money.  I nodded and said, "Yeah, Lyft should change how they do things and allow drivers to see the destinations or something."  And he kept whining!

So, I put my earbuds in, making it clear that I didn't want to hear his shit any more, and he drove me home. 

I always give great reviews.  Even when the ride is only mediocre, I like to boost the drivers' review score because it's not the best job to have and I'm sure they deal with some weird situations.  This guy got a 1 and a wrote a complaint comment.  I was happy to see that about 15 minutes later Lyft gave me a credit for the ride and a future one and assured me that this particular driver would no longer be able to answer my pings.  Thank you Lyft!

The fact of the matter is, if you get into ride-sharing as a way to make money then you should completely aware that not all of your rides are going to be profit.  It's the nature of the game.  But, if you're kind, considerate, and a solid driver, you'll get tips!  These can offset the shorter distance rides.  Wow, go figure. 

So, fuck that guy and any other asshole who is going to bitch, moan, and complain.  Now I'm done doing the same.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Heroin - Don't do it!

While walking around Worcester the other day, checking out the murals that were being put up as part of Pow!Wow!Worcester, I came across a guy who was on the heavy nod in a corner.  If he were to lean any more forward, he would have fallen flat on his face.  The guy had absolutely no sense of anything going on around him.  He was zonked out on Heroin.

I was tempted to take a selfie video with him in the background while I discussed how no one should try Heroin since it's really not very glamorous at all, but I felt that it was ethically wrong.  Besides, I don't think anyone gets into that particular drug because they think it's so cool.  Though, then again, I wouldn't be surprised to be proven wrong.

Generally, the way it works is people start taking prescription pain-killers, whether from an injury or as a party drug, and then get hooked.  At some point the economics don't make sense anymore or their dealer has run out of the pills, but luckily for them Heroin is much cheaper and there's plenty of supply to go around.

I've done a fair amount of drugs in my life.  I don't say that as a point of pride, though there have been times when I was proud, that's no longer the case.  I only say it to illustrate that I've tried almost every type of drug or variant of it so I can say that there are some you should just stay the fuck away from.  Heroin tops the list.

I haven't done that particular drug myself, but I have done Oxycontin recreationally, which is extremely close in relation, and the withdrawals I eventually went through were horrific.  I was sobbing uncontrollably for what seemed like no reason and it was the closest I've ever come to what I would consider actual suicidal thoughts.

So, to end this post without further boring you, just do yourself a favor and stay away from Heroin.  Oh, and Meth, Crack, Cocaine, Bath Salts, PCP, etc. ad nauseam.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Left-Handed Action

I'm right-handed.  Basically this means that the majority of my time masturbating is with my right hand.  I know how it feels every time, know the ways to utilize it for maximum effectiveness and expediency, and I trust it's results. 

Every now and then though, I like to change it up and use my left.  It offers different sensations and while the results aren't always guaranteed, it can be a zesty enterprise when entered into.

It took me a long time of deliberate practice in order to get a good feel and rhythm for me penis with my left hand.  I can tell you all that while it's well worth it to have masturbatory ambidextrous capabilities, it's not something that's come by all that easily. 

I can recall the first few times I tried and failed miserably and how awkward it was.  Luckily, since masturbation is a solitary endeavor, there was no embarrassment.  After a significant amount of time and practice I was able to become successful with the left-handed approach.

Why am I discussing this in particular?  No real reason I guess, other than to let you know that you can't stay stagnant.  You've got to be open to new ideas and experiences, even when it comes to something as timeless as masturbation.

I sometimes go for weeks without trying to stimulate myself for pleasure and this isn't usually something that I think about beforehand, it just happens that I grow bored or sick of it.  Then there are those days where I pound it out 3 times.  Sometimes for no other reason than boredom.

It's weird...masturbation.  But, supposedly it's good for your overall health and it does feel good too, so what the hell, might as well change it up now and then.  So, consider going lefty.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Monday, September 3, 2018

Urban Hiking

In the past few days I've hoofed it around Worcester, generally 5 hours each day and I've got to be honest, I'm fucking exhausted.  Today was especially tough as it was about 90 degrees with high humidity.  I survived, though I definitely had some serious sweating and a little dehydration.

It's tough to walk around on asphalt and concrete all day without becoming sore in your knees, hips, and feet.  I'm also 37 and have worked a good amount of physical jobs thus far in my life, and grew up fat, so my joints are already in rough condition as it is.  I'm proud of myself for being able to manage the amount that I have traveled in this city though.

Worcester isn't the most walk-able city unless you have plenty of time, which I do, but it can be done if you're determined.  I will say though that you need to plan properly ahead of time so as to not got get caught in a tough situation.  It's similar to hiking in the woods, but you don't have the luxury of softer ground under your feet.

The way I tend to prepare is by first checking the weather for the day so I can pack my gear appropriately.  If there's going to be a good chance of rain then I'll put the umbrella in my bag, otherwise I'll leave it home so as to help reduce the weight on my shoulders.  The nice things about city hiking is that there are overpasses, awnings, and doorways you can get under if the weather does turn bad suddenly.  Not to mention the actual stores and restaurants you can escape into.

If you're planning to be out for most of the day then I suggest wearing a good pair of hiking shoes, I have Merrill's, which are better designed to keep your feet comfortable.  But, I do suspect, and I haven't tested this out yet, that a nice pair of running or walking shoes with the gel-type inserts are even better as they're lighter and designed with harder surfaces in mind.

Keep your backpack as light and sparsely packed as possible because adding too much weight, especially in the hot seasons, will just exhaust you that much quicker.  Save all those books and your laptop for the times you know you'll be going directly somewhere with reading or working on your computer in mind.  If you're exploring the city for explorations sake, then just keep your backpack simple.

In mine I like to have a 1 liter bottle of water and then a decent sized travel mug with coffee or tea in it.  I keep a small jar with almonds and a bag with beef jerky for snacking on the go for energy.  I'll also bring a notebook for writing and a small book in case I want to stop somewhere to read.  Other than that I'll have some paper towels in a pouch for blowing my nose.

I haven't done much winter urban hiking yet, but once I do, I'll report on that as well.  Oh, and always make sure your devices are all charged up before you head out and keep a wall charger in your bag, for worst case scenarios.  I also have a bus pass in case it comes to a point where I can't get an Uber/Lyft.

Not a very interesting blog post, I know...but whatever, I just figured I'd share my experiences.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Don't cross the fucking line

I spent a great deal of my time today walking the city of Worcester to explore the different Pow!Wow!Worcester sites where artists were putting up murals and installations, part of an initiative in the city to help promote the arts and community.  My feet, legs, and hips are sore and I'm tired from probably 8 miles of walking.

For the most part, Worcester is very walk-able, with sidewalks in all of the major traffic areas.  That being said, there are still a good deal of heavier residential areas and side roads that lack any sidewalks, but still have significant traffic.  And this presents a constant danger for people who are walking.

The sides of these streets all have the white delineating line which is meant to keep drivers from crossing too close to properties or walkers, like myself.  Unfortunately, there are a shitload of shithead drivers and I got to witness some of them today.

On multiple occasions I was thanking my lucky stars that I had crossed the road so I had a better view of who was coming and going because the amount of times I would have had a close call on the other side were too numerous for comfort. 

One dumb cunt-bitch, driving a black Mercedes, had half of her whole car over the white line while looking at her fucking cellphone and going around a fairly sharp corner with overgrowth that would have blocked her vision of a walker, had she even been paying attention to the fucking road. 

If I hadn't had the where-with-all to cross the road earlier I'd very likely be in the hospital right now.  Thankfully I have a healthy distrust for drivers and their attention spans/abilities so I'm always trying to maintain a high level of alertness on roads like that.

Don't be like that shit-heel twat from earlier today.  Pay attention while driving.  There are walkers and bike riders in this world and it only takes a split second to kill someone with your multiple thousand pound vehicle hurtling along at lethal speeds.

Take care of yourselves and those around you.

-Phil

Binge Eating

Having grown up as an emotional eater I still find myself succumbing to my desires to over-eat until my stomach hurts.  It was the way I would cope with the anxiety I felt from my father's constant beatings and berating.  He would insult me for being fat and my answer was to keep eating.

At one point he bought a large freezer for the basement to keep a lot of frozen goods stored.  After he got fed up with my constant depletion of the food in the refrigerator he started keeping more things in the freezer and he installed a hinged lock so I couldn't get to it.

It took me about 20 minutes to figure out how to remove the hinges on the door and reinstall them afterward without having to tamper with the lock mechanism, giving me full access to the treasures within, which I happily cooked and shoved into my face.  I often wonder how confused my dad must have been, at least for a little while, not understanding where the food was going, maybe doubting his mental inventory.

If there's one thing that being a latch-key kid taught me over those years was how to problem solve.  From figuring the freezer lock situation out, to teaching myself how to break into his room, or how to steal his liquor for my personal enjoyment, and even how to cool the television down before he got home.  Or going so far as to convincing the neighbor down the street to give me 10 eggs from his families' stash to replace the ones I had eaten.

Living sober and not currently working a straight job (though that's about to change) leaves a great deal of time.  I do my best to fill it with constructive and healthy things such as working on the show, this blog, going for walks to Barnes and Noble, riding my bike to NU Kitchen to drink too much coffee and read, and go to therapy every week.  I've lost a good deal of weight and feel great physically and mentally.

None the less, I still have days where all I seem able to do in order to fill whatever hole is inside me is eat.  And when I eat, there's no self-control.  It's as though I'm possessed by something that just needs to have different flavors continuously experienced until what I've very obviously termed "The Hunger".

A whole family-sized bag of chips can disappear in a startlingly quick amount of time.  A pint of ice cream?  Easy.  Then I'll get a taste for the finer things.  A huge Ribeye steak.  Mashed potatoes drowned in butter.  Almonds by the handful  Massive bowls of popcorn.  Cheeses galore!

Generally this level of eating only lasts about a day, thankfully for my newer waistline, but it's disturbing to me that I still apparently cope with something unresolved by binge eating.  Anyway, it's just another thing I need to address actively and discuss in therapy.

Take care of yourselves.

-Phil