Advances in Modern Technology

As a blogger, my computer is my lifeblood. As a person, my computer is my lifeblood.

My main computer is a 2017 15″ Macbook Pro. I’ve been using Apple products for almost my entire life and they’re what work for me. I generally have my Macbook Pro connected to my TV for a second monitor, so it’s more of a desktop, because I don’t really take it places. I’m not particularly fond of the keyboard, though I do love the Touch Bar.

My “backup” is an i3 Surface Pro 3, which I primarily use for Photoshop, Kindle or for playing videos or reading recipes while cooking. It’s more portable, so I take it with me around the house. However, I don’t particularly care much for Windows, and it’s very slow to work on.

Which brings me to a current technical issue – the battery on my Macbook Pro decided to work on its New Year’s Resolution early and “got swole”, thereby seemingly disconnecting itself from what allows it to charge, causing the AC adapter to overheat to the point where I have to pick it up with a towel in order to handle it, and it bloated the bottom case of the computer so it no longer rests on its little feet.

That being said, after an emergency phone call with Apple, the earliest they were able to fit me in for an appointment was this Wednesday at 7:30PM.

I will try my best to make simple updates on my Surface until the situation is fixed, however, a lot of the material I had been working on is currently on that computer.

Wish my poor laptop, “Deadpool” luck on his adventure at the repair shop. ūüôā

Adventures in Retail

After almost two years of being unemployed, I recently got a new-ish job working retail. ¬†Previously, I did inventory for a consumer electronics store where I didn’t have to interact much with customers for nearly five years and was unemployed for nine months prior to that. ¬†So I guess I haven’t had real customer interaction in almost eight years.

I say this is a “new-ish” job simply because it’s the company I worked for prior to my five-year inventory stint. ¬†If I’m honest, it’s not a terrible job. ¬†(I say that now, but this weekend is the weekend before Christmas, where tensions will be high, as well as traffic, and more than a few customers.) ¬†A friend from my previous days at the company, who to my surprise, is still there and had been promoted to store manager, offered me a seasonal part-time position with the intent to be kept after Holiday, so I figured why not. ¬†It’d get me out of the house, (where work-from-home jobs are tough to come by,) and I’d get back in the swing of things as far as interacting with the public, something I’ll need if I plan to travel.

I seem to be the “go-to” for coverage if someone calls out, which isn’t awful and I don’t mind, because my friend knows I could use the extra money. ¬†The guys I work with are all right. ¬†We chat about video games and how ridiculous some of the merchandise we sell is. ¬†For instance, we have a small army of 3-foot tall “Pickle Rick” plushes from the show “Rick and Morty,” which, aside from being nightmare fuel, are enormous, heavy and nobody seems to want them. ¬†These are generally the focus of our ire. ¬†We left one of these Pickle Ricks on the back counter behind the registers last night and this morning when I came in, our manager, wearing a broad ear-to-ear grin, said, “I hate this.” ¬†There was also a threat of a group text this morning saying, “Good morning, everyone! ¬†You’re all fired!” ¬†We really don’t like the Pickle Ricks.

After nearly a decade of being squirreled away either at home or in an inventory room, interacting with the public is a trip. ¬†At holiday time, confused parents come in, unsure of what in the hell their kids have asked for, looking bewildered at the overabundance of pure¬†stuff my store has to offer. ¬†Even I have to admit that it’s a little overwhelming. ¬†For a small store, it’s full of all the pop culture and video game paraphernalia that, to the uninformed, could be incredibly intimidating. ¬†(I’m not even sure that the staff knows fully what all we have there.) ¬†But, you have to smile whenever one of these parents come in and do your best to help them, because good for them for trying to be understanding of their child’s hobbies.

The downside of working with the public is when a customer enters the store intoxicated. ¬†“Contact highs” are a thing that happens, particularly when the customer has a lot of questions or needs help. ¬†(I was told to go sit down after an interaction with a customer who entered the store surrounded by a Pigpen-esque cloud of what I could only think was a weapons-grade strain.) ¬†Drunken customers are also a thing, and if there’s more than one, a loud thing. ¬†(An example from last night: ¬†a pair of gentlemen, openly drinking from small bottles, began cursing and tossing out racial slurs, horrifying the other customers in the store.) ¬†The drunk ones tend to be more unpleasant to deal with than the high ones. ¬†Thankfully, these kinds of customers are more the exception than the rule, but they’re not the easiest interactions.

As a whole, working with the public is an interesting thing. ¬†For the most part, people are genuinely thankful to be helped, while some others treat you as if you’re subhuman. ¬†I do find people to be largely fascinating, though and each individual interaction is a little adventure.

‘Tis the Season

Due to the holidays, blogs will probably be short, because my day job will be pretty demanding up until after the New Year.

I generally schedule posts for M-W-F, and try to have a couple written ahead of time so I don’t miss an update.

So, I apologize ahead of time for short updates for the next couple weeks.  I do have more posts planned, but no time to write them, unfortunately.

The Best Laid Plans … (Part 2)

Believe me when I say that the adventure down to Texas was probably the biggest adventure I had there.

Sure, I did some neat things, such as go to a bunch of hard rock/metal shows at local venues and hung out with my favorite band a couple times, (which I may or may not write about,) but to be honest, I kind of became a shut-in. ¬†I only really left my apartment to go to work and would take care of errands after work while I was already out so I wouldn’t have to leave on the weekends.

After the first year, I moved into my own apartment, that I actually really liked, adopted two cats, (Chalupa Batman and Squirtle, who will be written about frequently, so consider this your head’s up,) and found that living on my own was pretty great. ¬†I still did the shut-in thing, which probably became worse, since I no longer had to leave to bring roommates to work or go random places, but that was OK. ¬†I wasn’t enjoying living in Texas and by then, had kind of resolved myself to working hard to find another job and move.

About a year and a half of living on my own, I found myself unemployed and I moved back home.

I want to say that being shoved in a Ford Fiesta with two cats, a rabbit and my mother for three days while we drove from Texas to New England was exciting and we bonded and had a great mother-daughter experience, but it wasn’t. ¬†We took turns driving and whoever wasn’t driving, slept in the car.

We stopped at pet-friendly hotels, where Squirtle had the time of his life spending all night jumping between the two beds in the rooms.  (And considering he has three legs, I was very impressed with him.)

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As much as I disliked the two and a half years I spent in Texas, I wouldn’t change it. ¬†I took a chance at something and even though it didn’t work out, it’s OK. ¬†I learned a lot, like how everything is worth trying at least once.

Risks can be risky, but the outcome can always be a positive if you make it one.  Anything you try is a learning experience and has the potential to be an adventure.

The Best Laid Plans … (Part 1)

Four years ago, I uprooted everything I knew and moved to Houston, Texas. ¬†A job opportunity opened up that I couldn’t really turn down, so I packed up my rabbit, my computer and some (not so) necessities and drove down with another co-worker who was also transferring.

The morning we were to leave, I discovered that the ignition switch in my steering column broke, which no longer afforded me the ability to remove my key. ¬†I also was told that there wasn’t any extra room in the rented trailer (that I was to be towing,) so I had to leave a few boxes of belongings at home.

Three days, 1700 miles and one car accident later, we made it to the two bedroom apartment we were also sharing with co-worker’s girlfriend and their two dogs. ¬†The drive was long and tedious, and I was also pulling a trailer full of furniture, that in retrospect, probably accelerated the decline of my 2005 Ford Escape.

Memphis, Tennessee is probably my first clear memory of the trip. ¬†We’d pulled off to refuel and stock on snacks and drinks, in probably one of the more sketchy areas, after dealing with an almost insurmountable amount of weird highways that were impeded by construction. ¬†At that point, I was too tired to really care about the creep factor of where we pulled over and just wanted to stretch my legs.

The gas station itself was unremarkable; just a little gas station on a corner, surrounded by a bunch of small houses that could’ve done well with some much-needed TLC. ¬†I presume we’d pulled off in the Southern outskirts of the metropolitan area, as it was more suburban. ¬†I remember the unnerving stares we recieved while filling our gas tanks and the attendant looked bored and didn’t seem too thrilled to have his conversation with a local interrupted by some random travelers buying Red Bull’s and snacks.

As we ventured further south, the people did get friendlier, which was a somewhat foreign concept for me. ¬†Having grown up my entire life in New England, “Southern Hospitality” was something we’d only read about in school. ¬†I honestly thought that friendliness had been exaggerated and played up for the sake of an interesting read, but no. ¬†And I’m not talking about a simple holding a of a door or a cordial greeting at a cash register – I wound up having a full conversation with a nice gentleman who held a rest stop door for me, and he’d proceeded to ask questions about where I was coming from and going to, and gave me suggestions of places to see once I reached Houston. ¬†He wished me a happy travels and even let me go ahead of him in line at the check out. ¬†I believe this was in Arkansas.

The last leg of the journey started in Texarkana, on the border of Texas and Arkansas. ¬†We’d spent the night at a hotel so we could get a fresh start in the morning and get to the apartment complex before they closed at 5. ¬†Texarkana, the little I saw of it, seemed like a nice place. ¬†To be honest, I wasn’t sure if we were in Texarkana, Arkansas or Texarkana, Texas, because by then, the trip was starting to take its toll. ¬†The drive, I think, took longer than expected, because my car wasn’t really all that fond of towing a heavy trailer, evident by the subtle groans and its resistance to driving up even the slightest of inclines, slowing my ascent to an almost dangerous crawl. ¬†Stops were also more frequent because of the nature of SUV’s and my car was pre-fuel efficiency. ¬†Things were smoother as we ventured south, simply because of the flat land, but the trailer itself would soon prove to be problematic.

About three hours from Houston, upon crossing an overpass, I hit a weird bit of asphalt and jackknifed with the trailer, spinning my car 180 degrees across the two-lane highway. ¬†Thankfully, we were the only ones for a mile or so in either direction, so there were no injuries. ¬†I don’t really remember much, aside from seeing my co-worker’s car about 50 yards ahead, and then suddenly, my rabbit’s carrier was in my lap, there were bunny kibbles everywhere and there was an oncoming semi. ¬†So that’s nice.

The interesting thing that I noticed about interstate highways down south is that there are houses dotted along them, with driveways leading right onto the interstate. ¬†Fortunately, when I’d spun around, I landed in front of a house, whose residents witnessed the whole thing and called the state troopers for me. ¬†Apparently, that happens more often than not off that particular overpass, and I was lucky that the weight of the trailer had prevented me from spinning off into the ditch next to the highway. ¬†The trailer had actually come off the hitch and was only being held on by the cables that connected the electricals.

There were also a few good samaritans that pulled over and despite not speaking English, they did their best to try to help get the trailer out of the road, for which I’m thankful.

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I was basically told to go sit in the ditch while everyone else tried to re-attach the trailer.  So enjoy this photo, taken from a ditch.

Eventually, I was able to sort of assess the damage and pick up a few pieces that were ripped off the trailer hitch.  I no longer had directionals or an interior light, but still had tail and headlights.  The trailer, however, had no electricals at all.  Awesome.

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The other one was mangled, but surprisingly, still attached. ¬†This one just ripped right off. ¬†It remained as a “trophy” in my cupholder for two years until I sold the car. ¬†Now it’s in some box somewhere, I think. ¬†Or I threw it out.

The state trooper was super nice and since a report was made of the accident, if I were to be pulled over for not having tail lights or not signaling a merge in the remaining three hours of my trip, there was documentation that would explain why. ¬†Thankfully, I wasn’t, but I did vow never to tow anything ever again, (not like I could because my trailer hitch was basically destroyed.)

We eventually made it to the apartment complex with minutes to spare. ¬†Once we got our keys and signed the lease, we unpacked the non-furniture stuff and dumped them in the living room before heading off to Walmart. ¬†My number one priority was to get an air mattress, (as I wasn’t able to bring a bed with me,) and there were other various necessities we all needed.

Luckily, we still had a day to spare before co-worker and I started work, but we were now “home” and our Texas adventure was beginning.