life

Should’ve Known Better

A few days ago the LA Kings tweeted out a note that two of their players were featured on a podcast. Instead of going with my gut and ignoring that tweet, I sought out the podcast and downloaded the episode. As soon as I saw that it was produced by Barstool Sports I should have hit delete and moved on. But I didn’t. The podcast episode was 1 hour and 59 minutes long. I lasted roughly 30. Thankfully the Kings players were on early and I had a way out. This is how the segment went.BizNasty – haha isn’t it funny how you’re young guys living in LA and on the dating scene, let’s delve deep into your dating profiles and make you uncomfortable about the pictures and songs you’re using to get dates

Matt Luff / Cal Peterson – deflection, uncomfortable laughter

BizNasty – haha isn’t it funny how you’re young guys getting more money than you’ve ever seen in your life after and choose to spend it on designer belts?

Matt Luff / Cal Peterson – deflection, uncomfortable laughter

BizNasty – haha I can have your teammates traded ‘cause left-wing libtards are taking over everything and we can call their behavior bullying, ya know if you want me to, i can do it (this was repeated 3 times)

Matt Luff / Cal Peterson – deafening silence

BizNasty – Luff looks like one of Trump’s kids

Matt Luff / Cal Peterson – deflection, uncomfortable laughter

Thirty minutes. I felt my soul leave my body and my brain cells die.

Then I got angry.

Paul Bissonette, known on social media as “BizNasty” is an NHL veteran. He can say and do whatever he’d like, his time in the NHL as a player is over. Matt Luff and Cal Peterson are two young prospects looking for their place on the LA Kings. Cal has been up and down from the minor league affiliate and Matt is with the big team but only sees limited ice time. They are in no way, shape, or form, going to engage in this kind of conversation. To their credit they engaged in as much of the dating app talk as they were willing to share.

Mr. Nasty prefaced this interview with “these guys were a bit shy. Kind of quiet and boring.” And then came out of the interview, which was a taped segment of the podcast, re-iterating the same sentiments.

He called Luff’s recollection of banter between himself and teammates during pre-game soccer ball kick arounds bullying then proceeded to bully the kid about designer belts and his looks. He seemed to find Luff the easier target as he left Cal Peterson alone for the most part. He put both of them in tough positions by suggesting he could “get rid of players” for them and then called them quiet and boring because they didn’t have an answer for that. Or if they did, couldn’t say anything because they’re trying to make the team he’s threatening. You don’t get to act like an asshole and then accuse the people on the other end of being boring because they couldn’t/wouldn’t engage.

I’m embarrassed that I listened to this piece of trash and even more embarrassed that I listened to the entire interview. I’m angry that the Kings PR team allowed their players to be subjected to it and tweeted out the evidence so that we could hear it. But I’m mostly saddened that it did exactly what I knew it would do. Remind me that the less I know about the things I enjoy the better.

I’m never getting that time back. And what few brain cells I have left have been focused on the asshattery of the whole thing. Matt Luff and Cal Peterson probably don’t even remember doing the interview or are long past worrying about it despite it just now dropping. It seemed to be recorded a while back when both Luff and Peterson were with the big club. Peterson has returned to the minor league team as both of the Kings goalies are healthy now and he’s still the younger of the two backups trying to find their spot as the number one. Which is damn near impossible with Jonathan Quick in net in said position*. As for Matt Luff. I’d imagine he’d happily take a few “bullying” jabs just to be able to be in the lineup every night instead of once in the last month.

*Ask me about this in 5 weeks after the trade deadline passes

A brief side note: Mr Nasty casually mentioned “hitting the pen too hard” in the opening segment of the podcast which I took to mean vaping. He should maybe look into who legalized the substance he’s smoking so freely before railing against those “left-wing libtards” who are “taking over everything.” Just saying.

Because, hockey, I went into watching the Kings game just 12 hours after enduring this podcast stupidity. And just like it always does, it brought me back into the love category in the weirdest way. I encourage you to look up Snoop Dogg doing play-by-play for the LA Kings on Youtube, like, right now.

New Year, Who Dis?

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Honestly.

This blog space is neglected. It’s also boring. I’m hoping to fix both of those things in 2019. This isn’t a New Year’s resolutions entry. I try not to make them anymore. Remember how I just said I was trying to not be boring? You’re welcome.

However…there is one thing.

Guys, guys, guys! You know how I was all: I’m going back to school! But then I was like: Never mind! I can’t go back to school!

I’m too old to be a freshman. I mean, there’s no age limit. I just feel like I’ve been a freshman enough times. Also, there’s this small (giant, it’s actually giant) problem of the cost of starting over. 80 grand. I’m too old now, and will definitely be too old for $80,000 in student debt in 2-4 years depending on when I’d finish the program.

In an act of sheer insanity, the advisor I’ve been working with at National University is actually doing her job. Advising me. She has patiently listened (read, via email) as I recounted my struggle to get my transcripts (she took over from the previous person I’d been communicating with). She’s laid out what would be required of me once it was determined my records are gone. And then, when I explained that the cost of another Bachelor’s degree would be too high to even think about now, she said the one thing I needed to hear.

“Have you thought about a Master’s degree?”

Yes. Yes I have. Every time I consider going back to school the first thing I look at is the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree. No matter where it is I’m looking at taking courses, I look at their MFA program. Every time. Without fail. I looked at NU’s program. I looked at the one at University of Phoenix. I’ve looked at the art school up the street from me before I even looked at those schools. And then I moved on, because it didn’t seem practical. Until I realized a going after a degree in psychology at 47 isn’t any less impractical. It’s considerably more expensive, but still, quite silly.

Both degrees would enter me into the workforce, and both degrees are ones I’ve been after my whole life. But truly, an MFA in writing is the one thing I’ve wanted to accomplish and never went after.

So this year I’m going after it.

There’s only one requirement I need to meet to qualify for the MFA program: can I write at a college level. The nihilistic part of me says “no, you can’t” but the fact that I’ve strung together nearly 500 words in this blog entry begs to differ.

That’s my 2019 plan. Write, read, consume as much material as I can, learn. And instead of spending a stupid amount of money on a 3rd Bachelor’s degree, I’ll be spending considerably less for the Master’s degree I should have gone after in the first place.

Happy New Year!

Life, the Universe, and Everything

A few weeks ago I floated the idea of going back to school. I put it into the universe by saying it out loud to a few people, I looked into options, and found a program that would both suit me and excite me. There were two choices in the beginning. University of Phoenix’s program centering on the psychology of social media and technology, and National University’s program for sport psychology. In the end I decided a general psychology degree would be best, with the option to take two sport psychology related courses as electives. So I applied to National University. And the universe said “Slow your roll, player.”

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I’m calling bullshit.

A Brief Walk Down Memory Lane

It wasn’t my goal to be a career student. I didn’t really want to be a student at all, ever. I hated high school and was shocked to learn I graduated with a 3.8 GPA when all was said and done. I’d started working summer jobs at 15 and by 18 I had a steady job that I thought could be my career path. Of course, I did my time taking courses at a community college, without a single clue of what kind of degree I was going for. The only thing I knew was I wanted to study psychology. That was the first class I signed up for and the only one I attended without feeling obligated.

When my steady job turned itself into a full-time job I quit college and settled in to be an accounts payable clerk forever. Over time I did some dumb ass things, which resulted in me getting fired. A few things I learned from that experience: I was stupid when it came to trusting men, when I wasn’t calling in sick with bogus illnesses to hang out with one I was doing stupid things to impress one I worked with. Young and dumb I was, yes. (Should be read in a Yoda voice); I don’t panic in stressful situations;  I always turn to going back to school when I don’t have any better ideas.

For 18-months I went to ICT College, a trade school, and studied business management. I was lucky enough to spend those years focusing on my classes and nothing else. I graduated with an Associates degree in Business Management and told the universe I needed work at a company whose focus was sports. It wasn’t long before I was an accounts payable clerk at Fox Sports and life was grand. Especially when they promoted me to a higher position a few short months into my tenure. Fox had a rash of issues with stolen and forged checks, and they created a new position, mine, to catch the bogus checks as they cleared their bank accounts. I missed three checks, getting too settled and taking too much advantage of my cushy job and they had no choice but to let me go.

As you can guess I did what I do in these situations. I went right back to school. But this time I had the plan to go at night and work during the day. So I went back to ICT to finish out my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and started my search for a part time job. This time I turned to entertainment, and within a few months I was working as a paid intern in a business department at Paramount Pictures.

The entire time I attended ICT (18 months) and worked at Paramount, I held a 4.0 GPA and missed one day of school. 9/11. I graduated valedictorian. And I turned my internship in the corporate accounting department into a full-time job in the marketing department in the motion picture division. Once again I was set. And then DreamWorks and Paramount merged, I was “laid off” and of course…I went back to school. In a total 180, this time for graphic design. Just to be clear, it wasn’t out of the blue. I was surrounded by graphic design at work and I had been running a Web site for an entertainment magazine in the midst of all this. When I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Communications I found it hard to find a job and that has been my life for several years.

Why Does Any of That Matter?

Both colleges I attended for my degrees are no longer in business. ICT changed hands twice, and Westwood just flat out closed down. And that matters. Because in order to go back to school and not start at square one, I need my transcripts. Westwood was kind enough to set up an online record keeping company for such things. So I have those. Which would be great, if I hadn’t fought with them to allow me to transfer credits for courses I took at ICT. Who’s new company in charge has informed me they cannot locate my records.

First they asked me if I attended under a different name. Nope. Then they asked for my social security number. When that yielded no results I got a short, snippy email that said “I don’t have your records,” and was promptly ghosted.

Eighteen months of hard work, a 4.0 GPA, Valedictorian. Gone. Poof. “I don’t have your records.” Period, end of sentence, I’m not even going to try helping you further.

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This might as well be my degree. It’s worth about the same.

Where Does That Leave Me?

So I had to ask myself several questions. The main one, truthfully, is how much energy I have to go through all this again. I’m 46 now. I’m not 19, 25, 30. Do I really want to fight this hard to become a student again? And how much debt do I want to be in to get a degree that to be honest, means dick all to anyone I actually want to work for? If I want to do any sort of counseling I need a master’s degree. So my cost has now skyrocketed from $30K (if I can somehow prove I don’t need the basic courses for the 7th time) to $75K to continue on to a useful degree. And is it a useful degree, really, if I don’t intend on using it in the end?

I still have social anxiety. And despite great strides in my health and strength, I’m still disabled. I’m not working now for many reasons. When I couldn’t find work I had to fight with the government to stop asking me for money to pay back loans I couldn’t afford, which meant for 5 years I had to continue to prove I was too disabled to work (that time has passed, but so has my relevancy). I’m 15 years removed from any kind of accounting job and my graphic design training is already outdated. It would actually cost me more money to make money at any kind of design firm.

And that brings me to the bottom line: when I really take a long hard look at things, I just want to write. I want to write about sports and people who have issues and things that mean something.

Would having a psychology degree help that? Certainly. But so might a $400 writing course. Or maybe I should read several (or all) of the books on writing that have been collecting dust on my shelves, or in my Kindle library.

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I’m thinking about putting this at the end of all my entries now.

Se7en Days

That’s a misleading title, this isn’t about the Brad Pitt movie, and I’m not screaming “what’s in the box!” But It’s almost Halloween and almost NaNoWriMo and that’s all scary. So it fits.

First, something terrible. We’ll get it out of the way. This morning when I checked out my usual social media spots Facebook suggested I use their fundraise for your birthday function. When I searched through the list of non-profits I could choose to have my friends and family donate to it occurred to me that too many of the organizations hit home. Like, way, too, many. Cancer. Animal safety. Fire recovery. LGBT issues of every kind. Bullying. And those are just the close to home ones. Then there’s wanting to help Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida who have been hit by hurricanes in recent weeks. It was overwhelming.

Ultimately I went with Planned Parenthood, because women’s health has been under fire for far too long and despite all the devastation I have mentioned previously it seems the current administration is hell bent on reminding us it’s a man’s world and women should just be happy we’re allowed to live in it. I also chose this organization because it helps millions of men and women with cancer screening and pregnancy prevention, and prenatal care for those who have no other place to go. Because when they’re not focusing on saving all the babies and persecuting women for having a choice, our government is tearing apart our healthcare system piece by piece. The organization is also a safe place for HIV screening and STD prevention across the spectrum.

Anyway that’s where I’ll leave that. Donate. Don’t. Whatever you choose. I’m all about being pro-choice. And pro-life. You can be both. I promise.

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Holy hell it’s the end of October. My kitchen renovation is complete and I couldn’t be happier. I have cooked twice in the new set up and it’s working great. I have access to the things I need and I feel comfortable cooking and cleaning in this new environment. If it weren’t 100 degrees in October I’d be itching to cook more complicated meals, but as it stands right now, the simpler the better in this god awful heat.

The end of October also means panic time for me because NaNoWrimo starts November 1. That’s when I’ll be tasked with writing 1,667 words a day for 30 days. Despite having my story idea ready to go, I’m always nervous about stalling out midway through the process. This week I plan out my background music, remind everyone in my life that I am doing this thing that requires me to be absent more than usual, and try to tell my brain to shut up about how bad I suck at writing, and finishing things.

This is also when I let you all know that this blog will turn into a writing update center for me for a month. In the past I’ve done daily check ins. This year I’m hoping to do it weekly instead. If you follow my social media accounts you’ll see my daily word counts there.

W.O.W. moment of the week (for last week): I survived 3 weeks of kitchen renovations.

Gr8ful

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I have this pinned on my Pinterest board I’ve named “Truthiness” to remind myself to keep things in perspective. With the way things are going in the world it is tough to remember to be grateful for thing things we have and not take them for granted. It’s hard, in my situation, to stay focused on this. It has been especially hard these past few weeks, as we’ve been renovating my kitchen and my wishlist items have been quashed one by one. Not checked off, quashed. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s fate, it’s life, it’s how I’ve had to live since whatever age it was this disability decided to pick me to live in.

That’s why the serenity prayer speaks to me. Or at least I try to make it resonate in these times. Focus on the things you cannot change and always know the difference. I had a conversation with a friend at my mom’s birthday slash I kicked cancer’s ass party and her perspective on her own situation was a gentle reminder that someone else is always dealing with something worse. I may not get the spice rack I asked for, but there are people in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Northern California who would really like to just have their houses back. Perspective.

It’s hard not to take things personally when they’re going wrong. It’s also hard to take credit when they’re going right, or more accurately, it’s hard not to wonder where the catch is when things go well. You can have that new SUV but you’re gonna have to deal with the death of your dog, and your mom’s gonna get breast cancer. Deep down I know that these events have zero to do with each other, but in a world where everything is going wrong, it’s easy to jump to terrible conclusions. Stay on target, keep yourself grounded, do not lose perspective.

As I’m being introspective, the universe reminds me how big it is, and reminds me how connected I am to it. I feel earthquakes before they happen. I think of people and they appear as if to tell me they heard my thoughts. It happens a lot when I start getting to far into my own head. When my anxiety level is at an all time high. The bigger picture shows up and taps me on the shoulder. Perspective.

I forgot to add a W.O.W. moment last week so I’ll just say that for the past 2 weeks my WOW moments have been strength, wisdom, serenity and courage. The spices don’t need their own rack.

Renovated, Renewed, Something Something

The world is still in disarray. But it will continue to be tomorrow, and the next day, so I’m gonna take a break from ranting about the state of things in the big world and talk about my own little world.

October is a crazy month for me, and for the last 2 years I’ve been making it even crazier by having renovations done to my house. These are necessary evils, renovations, but still chaos and disorder nonetheless.

So this is the month where hockey starts, baseball playoffs begin, and football is in full swing. It’s also when the Fall TV season gets up and running and that whole summer of “I’ll catch up soon” turns into “oh shit that starts tomorrow? I’m still 13 episodes behind!” It’s also the month where I’m gearing up to write every day in November.

A small sidestep back into the political fray – hockey had its first player protest during the anthem. JT Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning raised his fist in solidarity with the NFL and others who have knelt or done the same. And I feel slightly better about supporting sports for now. I’ve come to the conclusion that just like in everyday life the sports world has its good people and its bad ones, and if I stopped enjoying all the things I do because of assholes I’d have nothing left.

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Where the fuck is everything??!!

This year’s renovation is taking place in my kitchen. Like last year’s bathroom project, my little house needed to be better set up for wheelchair me. When I moved in I was still standing up me. What I need now is lower counters, spaces under things like the sink and the cooktop for me to roll under, and places where I can plug things in without having to run an extension cord from my bedroom and cause fire hazards. So we took out the entire kitchen and started over. Or will be starting over next week. And then that’s it. We’re done with making my house suitable for me.

While we’re here, let’s talk about why I found myself needing a new kitchen in the first place, other than the accessible part of it all. A short story. In April of 2016 I went to check out the new accessible SUV Ford and Braunability co-created as an alternative to the mini-van. At that time the test went really well. I got up the ramp without issue and although the seat wasn’t accessible yet, I was assured it would all be set up to my needs. So you can imagine that when I actually got the SUV in July I was shocked to find myself unable to get into it. The ramp was too steep and the seat was a challenge. The search for a solution began and I was able to find wheels that can assist in the pushing of my chair. Ramp problem solved. But that wasn’t really enough, I was still struggling to get into the seat. And I finally decided it was time to do something about my weight, and my strength.

I had been cooking meals for myself and my mom for a few months leading up to this, but I wasn’t as serious about what I made. So I started to cut out a lot of things. Mainly carbs. And I added more healthy choices of meats, along with making sure I made some sort of vegetable as a side. I use a lot of recipes to achieve this. On Pinterest, on recipe sites. And my love for food turned into a love for cooking food. Healthy food.

As soon as the eating was on the right track I moved on to the strength. And in July I started working out with a trainer once a week. A year later I was up to 2x a week. I am stronger, healthier and feeling better than I have, probably my whole life.

I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost, I only know I went down 4 sizes in about 18 months. For me, it’s a slow process, because I’m not always active, and because I refuse to give up everything I love. There’s gonna be some carbs. There’s gonna be some sugar. There may be days where I don’t eat a single fruit or vegetable for any meal. But I’m on my way to better living.

If you’re interested in what kinds of foods I make and where I find recipes you can follow the new tumblr page I created with the Lycon – who’s food journey is different than mine, but also changed her whole diet this past year (spoiler: she went vegan, I didn’t). https://onaspecialdiet.tumblr.com/