COVID Songs (In Case I Die)

Hahah.

I’m playing the following songs in case I die. I’ll update this blog post to remember me by.

  • Matisyahu – One Day
  • Kodaline – All I Want

Will my memory live on? God I hope not. My miniscule life means nothing.

I know I’m borrowing this from a Kevin Spacey movie but I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.


Chances About COVID

Yes, I’m drunk writing this. (Thank God for spell check!)

I’m in Ocean City, Maryland right now. I’ve been looking forward to this time for many many weeks. It’s wonderful.

Am I COVID positive? I don’t know. But I couldn’t tell you that before I came here either.

I’m quarantining for at least two weeks when we get back. I’m wearing a mask always (DUH!) even on the boardwalk. I’m very slow to type but I feel safe at the moment. I want to always be safe.

Being in Ocean City, it’s great but it’s also worrisome. I love hearing the ocean but I worry about COVID.

Just now. Tranquil. It’s necessary. Different change in scenery. I need this. Thank you. I’m grateful I can do this.


Post Pandemic Plans

I’m getting a list together of all the stuff I want to do once this shit is over. I really miss the ability to just go out. I miss my friends. I miss hanging out and having a few beers. I miss driving. I actually miss my commute. This time of year I’m riding my motorcycle to and from work. I miss that. But I actually miss being in the Prius as well. Scary thing.

Anyway, here is a list of stuff I would like to do once the pandemic is over and life becomes normal again:

  • Go to Medieval Times (I seriously think about this everyday)
  • See Arlene in Florida with Becky
  • Go with Arlene to Seattle
  • Go on a cruise with my P.I.C. (Bri Bri)
  • Go to the beach
  • Have our yearly party
  • Go glamping with Heidi
  • Play real life board games with all my board game friends
  • Start up our Friday traditions of going to a bar and playing board games
  • Hang out with Uncle George and have a few beers
  • See my family

New Look & Pandemic Activities

I decided my blogs needed some love. I’m looking at this blog and Syntax Notes. I’m installing new, crisp, clean WP themes on both this blog and Syntax Notes.

We’re also getting out a bit more (a bit). Every week or every other week we seem to do something with someone. We still maintain distance with them and wear masks. It’s nice to actually go places and see people. You need that.

I can’t wait for this bullshit to be over!


The Price Of Capitalism & Socialism For The Rich – Silicon Valley

I’ve been binge rewatching Silicon Valley on HBO. I remember a scene from a few years ago when I first watched it and am now rewatching. It’s a very good scene.

Gavin is trying to get the cheapest place and people to build his new box. China, Bengledesh, all the other cheaper labor places in the world he couldn’t do so he turned to the United States. Some little town in South Carolina.

He got them to give him massive tax cuts, cleaned up facilities, etc… ya know, what rich NFL owners, Amazon, and other big corporations do.

Unfortunately, that strategy did not turn out well for his factory. Here’s what happened:

  • The mayor had the factory repainted.
  • The painters left some oily rags in a garbage can.
  • Because of cuts to the sanitation service, the trash was not collected.
  • The rags smuldered and caught fire.
  • Because of cuts to the fire department, the blaze spread.
  • A number of concerned citizens tried to fight the fire, but because the water was cut off, they could not.
  • The vast majority of the rare earth materials survived the fire until the flames evaded.
  • Due to mass layoffs of police, the locals that were there to fight the fire, decided to loot the burned out factory.
  • The national guard attempted to reach the factory to help stop it, but the roads.

It’s just perfect to highlight what all goes wrong when capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich come together. In this instance, even though it’s fiction, it’s good to see how big companies can suffer from their own mistakes.


My Favorite Dominion Cards

I’ve been playing a lot of Dominion online with friends. We’re kind of addicted. In real life we only have the following sets:

  • Base
  • Intrigue
  • Prosperity
  • Hinterlands
  • Empires
  • Nocturne

However, Dominion online has all the sets! We’ve played with cards and abilities that add totally new dynamic to the game. Some are very interesting and fun. However, I wouldn’t want to buy entire sets just for a few cards that I like.

Anyway, I thought I’d blog about my favorite Dominion cards.

  • Bishop (Prosperity) – Gives you a victory coin, a coin, and you can trash a card and get that amount (divided by two) in victory coins. You play Bishop to trash an Estate, now you have two victory coins and no estates clogging your deck. Easily one of my favorite cards.
  • Black Cat (Menagerie) – Gives you two cards but if it’s in your had when someone buys a victory card, it gives everyone a curse. This card is quickly becoming a favorite of mine due to that fact. Snatch these cards up so when people buy victory cards, they get curses as well!
  • Black Market (Promo) – When you play it, it gives you the ability to buy cards that are not in the sets you’re currently playing with. In real life, I guess we’d play with the blue backed (shuffle) cards. Not sure where you can really get this but this is an interesting card.
  • Border Village (Hinterlands) – One card, two actions and gives you a free, cheaper card when you buy it. It works well to get free Laboratories, Groundskeepers, whatever.
  • Castles (Empires) – Every castle is different (except for the first few ones). Each one goes up in value and allows you to do different things. They go up in power as you go up with the final one costing 10 coins. If you’re playing with these, try to get them before they’re gone. They go fast!
  • Chariot Race (Empires) – One action and you reveal the top card and another player reveals their top card; if your card is more 1 coin and a victory coin. I haven’t had the best of luck with these but I think later in the game they work better.
  • City (Prosperity) – One card, two actions. Another card that’s get it while it lasts. This card gets better as the game goes on as the more piles are gone, the more powerful the card is.
  • Devil’s Workshop (Nocturne) – Dependent on how many cards you’ve gained. Nice to gain an easy gold if your hand is crap. It’s also nice to get Imps if you’ve gained two or more cards. Cascading Devil’s Workshops works as you can play as many Night cards as you want!
  • Distant Lands (Adventures) – Placed on your tavern mat. It’s worth 4 victory points at the end of the game. Get these fast and play them.
  • Duke (Intrigue) – Worth one victory point per each Duchy you have. Yes, it’s boring but towards the end if you don’t have enough for a Province, these 5 coined cards are easy victory points. I’ve won a game doing this strategy.
  • Duplicate (Adventures) – Put on your tavern mat and called when you gain a card and you get a duplicate of that card (up to 6 coins). Pretty powerful for easy gold.
  • Expand (Prosperity) – Trash a card and you get something worth 3 coins more than it. Perfect for turning Estates into Duchies then Dutchies into Provinces.
  • Farmer’s Market (Empires) – One buy and worth 1 coin per victory coin on it. When four victory coins are on it, you trash it and get those victory coins. Great card but it’s stressful when other players buy it.
  • Fool’s Gold (Hinterlands) – Worth one coin but if you have two, both together are worth five coins. I don’t know why more people don’t love this card.
  • Forge (Prosperity) – Trash any number of cards and gain what they all total to be. Good way to trash Copper and something else just to get that something else back. Good at the end of the game when you’re clinging for your life.
  • Grand Market (Prosperity) – One card, one action, one buy, two coins. Cannot buy this with Coppers! Very powerful card.
  • Groundskeeper (Empires) – One card, one action but you gain a victory coin when you buy a victory card. I like to cascade them and get more coins!
  • Haggler (Hinterlands) – Two coins but you gain a cheaper non-victory card when in play.
  • Harem (Intrigue) – Two coins, two victory points. It’s a great card as it doubles as victory points and coins.
  • Hireling (Adventures) – Stays in play and every turn you get an extra card. This card is too powerful to be only 6 coins. I think it should be worth more. Get them as soon as you can as you can get more cards into every one of your hands faster.
  • Hoard (Prosperity) – Two coins but you gain a gold when you buy a victory card. Pretty nice to get free gold.
  • Jack Of All Trades (Hinterlands) – Get a silver, optionally discard top card of your deck, draw until 5 cards, trash a non-treasure card. Good at the beginning of the game to easily upgrade copper to silver. The trashing is also good though it might not be good later.
  • Lurker (Intrigue) – One action and you trash a card from its supply or gain a card from the trash (actions only). Very nice to get expensive cards at the beginning of the game. Used very well for cards that are harder to get like Peddlers or Grand Markets. I usually try to get two my first two turns so I can trash something then immediately get it.
  • Mill (Intrigue) – One card, one action, discard two cards for 2 coins and it’s worth one victory point. I hurry to get these since it always gives you a card and an action and it’s victory as well.
  • Mine (Base) – Trash a treasure and gain up to 3 more than it (to your hand). Turn copper into silver and silver into gold. Everyone loves Mine.
  • Monument (Prosperity) – Two coins, one victory coin. Simple. Easy money and victory coins.
  • Mountebank (Prosperity) – Two coins and each other player gains a curse and a copper (unless they have a curse in their hand). Great attack card and it clogs up other peoples’ decks with crap. One game we ran out of copper because of this card.
  • Nobles (Intrigue) – Worth two victory points and you get to choose +3 cards or two actions. It pays for itself as it’s worth victory and it does something.
  • Oasis (Hinterlands) – One card, one action, one coin, discard a card. A lot of folks don’t like this card because of the discard but I don’t mind it. I usually discard a victory point or a copper.
  • Peddler (Prosperity) – One card, one action, one coin. Like a Market however the cost depends on how many action cards you’ve played. Peddlers can be free!
  • Port (Adventures) – One card, two actions when you buy it you get another one for free. Not bad for 4 coins.
  • Ratcatcher (Adventures) – One card, one action so it takes care of itself. You trash a card when you call it back from your mat.
  • Remodel (Base) – Trash a card and gain one worth 2 coins more than it. Easy to turn copper into Estates and trash other cards.
  • Replace (Intrigue) – Like Remodel, it does the same thing except if you gain an action or treasure, you get it onto your deck. If you choose to buy a victory point, every player gains a Curse. Great for turning copper into Estates and cursing everyone!
  • Sacrifice (Empires) – Trash an action card and get +2 cards and +2 actions, trash a treasure and get 2 coins, trash a victory and get 2 victory coins. I love it. Easily trashes estates out of your hand and doubles their value. Keep buying estates and trashing them with this. I love trashing cards!
  • Scheme (Hinterlands) – One card, one action, put an action card on top. I Scheme Schemes! They’re awesome for playing a card over and over.
  • Temple (Empires) – Get a victory coin and trash one to three cards and add a victory coin to the Temple pile; whoever buys it gets the victory coins accumulated there. Easy victory coins. However, trashing in later hands can be stressful.
  • Trade Route (Prosperity) – One buy, trash a card and you get that many coins that are on the Trade Route map. Really good towards the later parts of the game. Love this card.
  • Treasure Map (Seaside) – Trash two of them and get four golds onto your deck. Get these as soon as possible and hope you get two in a row to get some serious gold.
  • Upgrade (Intrigue) – One card, one action. Easy way to turn a card that costs 5 into a gold. Or get rid of coppers.

Bottom line, I love cards that trash! I love getting rid of coppers. I love upgrading cards into something better. I love trashing curses. If a game doesn’t have a trash card in it, I’m sad.


Social Distancing Game Night Links

We’ve been social distancing now for about three weeks. I really miss my friends. I was able to do facetime with a friend the other day and I really enjoyed seeing them. These times are hard.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some cool websites we found to better connect us with our friends. These are primarily game websites since Bri and I are both big into board games. Here’s the list:

  • dominion.games – This is Dominion online. We played this last night until like 3 AM. The free version just has the base set. It’s only like $5 a month. Totally worth it. One membership gets you all the Dominion sets as well as the ability to play with six people. You only need one membership for anyone to join you. It’s free to join.
  • http://playingcards.io/ – This is a free, virtual card playing website. They have Cards Against Humanity! They also have a bunch of other games you’d usually play in gradeschool like Go Fish.
  • https://jackboxgames.com – JackBox games are always fun! We started playing them years ago with friends. You play them with your phone. You can do them distance now as well. I recently played Drawful with coworkers. We shared his screen via Slack and all talked through Slack and drew on our phones. JackBox games do cost a bit of money though.
  • https://www.trickstercards.com/game/ – A neat website you can play four player card games like Spades, Hearts, Bridge, and Pinochle.

I’ll update this post with more social distancing fun stuff when I find it.


Carpet Vs Hardwood

We recently explored the possibility of moving to another house (long story). So, naturally, we started interviewing realtors to sell our current house. Every one of them said rip up the carpet (which is only five years old) and expose the hardwood.

I wasn’t sure what kind of impact that would have on our home as the different levels have been built up for carpet. Not to mention, the title I had put in on the side door. That would have to go.

I also wasn’t sure what kind of shape the hardwood floors were in as I hadn’t seen them before. What if they were crap and needed to be sanded? Ugh. I know what that does to a house (all the dust, disgust from cleaning and sanding hardwood from my dad’s house).

Ripping up the carpet was a non-starter with us. We dismissed it and saying we wouldn’t do it. Apparently, hardwood “shows better.”

I had hardwood when growing up and it was gross. Getting a glass of water in the middle of the night, or going to the bathroom? I’d have to wipe my feet off before I went to bed. Dust, dirt, black on my feet. It was not cool.

My husband and I are big into carpet. I love the feel and the ease of cleaning. It’s just a vacuum. With hardwood floors it’s like swiffering, vacuuming, and cleaning. It’s a pain. Not to mention the dust and hair that settles down on it and get’s blown around. Then you have these areas close to the walls where there’s hair and dust. Ugh.

So, this post was pretty pointless. Just letting people know I’m a carpet person and hardwood sucks!


I’m The Average American?

WaPo had an interesting article of what the average American looks like. I fit most of their attributes.

Here’s how I compare:

The average American is a woman – Yes, I’m a woman.

The average American is white and not Hispanic – Yep. I’m Caucasian.

She’s 52 years old – Nope. I’m significantly younger than that.

She has a bachelor’s degree – Guilty. BS from Frostburg!

She works in “education and health services” – Somewhat. I work for a government contractor who does contracts with HHS.

She earns $889.62 a week – Nope. I earn a lot more than that.

She lives in a city – Yes. The suburbs.

She’s a political independent — who tends to vote Democratic – Yes. I’m a registered Independent but I tend to vote Democrat (when I like them).

She voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 – Hell no! I voted for Jill Stein.

The average American has a 26.1-minute commute – This is accurate.

She’s married and lives with her spouse – Yep.

She lives in a house that she owns or that another resident owns – Yes, I own my home.

There’s probably another person there, too – Yes. My husband and my pets.

She’s an evangelical Baptist – Nope.

She disapproves of Trump’s performance as president – True!

She believes that Trump has strengthened the economy – False!

She believes that Trump has weakened America’s standing globally – True!

She would rather see Democrats control the House than Republicans – Yeah, I guess but it’s like one inch of difference.

She probably won’t vote – Fuck no. I’ll always vote.

Total: 13/19


Best Days Of My Life

Wow, what a serious title.

Anyway, for the past, I don’t know, year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the best days of my life were and how I wish I could relive them… even the boring parts.

First, though, let’s start about songs about the best days of people’s lives. Here’s a list I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Bryan Adams – Summer Of 69
  • Kid Rock – All Summer Long
  • Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
  • Bob Seger – Night Moves

Not sure if all of them are about like the best times of people’s lives but they were good enough to write a song about.

Anyway, I figure the best times of my life were:

  • Spring and summer of senior year of high school – I was ready to graduate high school so like everything was easy. I didn’t have to nor want to study. I crushed on a few guys from my school (some of them teachers)! School was actually fun. I was living with my mother and sister who didn’t care where I went. I didn’t have money but I had friends and time. That summer I started dating a friend of mine. I would go over his place and hang out. We would IM each other and invite ourselves over to our friend’s pool. I played a lot of neopets. I hung out with a lot of friends; go to the mall and the movies and sushi. I was always up for hanging out. I would sleep late everyday. It was a great life.
  • The May after I graduated from college; spring, summer, fall – This was the time where I really had everything. I had friends, time, and money. We had finally made some friends and we were all living in the apartments in Germantown. It was an amazing time. We would hang out every night. On the weekends, we’d go out to dinner, had drinks, go rent movies, and go back home and watch them. We’d play a lot of Rockband and go over to each other’s apartments all the time. We’d do crazy stuff like light off fireworks, water gun/balloon fights, go to the pool, barbecue, etc. I had everything then… then my dad had to die and it changed everything.

I love my life now for the most part. I have everything… time, money, and friends; but it isn’t the same as those times. I wasn’t constantly hanging out with people or sleeping in late everyday. Just miss those times I guess.

Maybe I should write a song about it.


Pet’s Relationships

A few things have changed… In August of 2018, we brought in a cat named Brindle (who had kittens). You can read her story. Also, our cat we had from college, size_t, passed away. He had diabetes for the past few years and had slowed down on eating. It was very sad.

Now (as of February 2019), we have a dog and three cats. We decided to keep two of Brindle’s kittens. This makes for a different kind of relationships throughout the house. Bri and I are our pets parents. We are also parents to Lupin and Tonks (Brindle’s kittens; named after Harry Potter characters).

Since Brindle is also our daughter and she is mother to Lupin and Tonks, Lupin and Tonks are our son-grandsons. (But we just call them our sons.)

Wiki’s relationship is interesting because he is a brother-uncle to Tonks and Lupin and only a brother to Brindle.

Lupin and Tonks are brother-nephews to Wiki.

Brindle is Lupin and Tonks’ sister-mother.

So we have an interesting dynamic to our house.

Bonus… I’ll throw in our houses in Hogwarts!

  • Janis – Hufflepuff
  • Bri – Gryffindor
  • size_t – Gryffindor
  • Wiki – Ravenclaw

Brindle, Lupin, and Tonks are too young to be sorted yet. I’ll take the quiz to see what house they’ll be put in later in their life.


Brian’s Run For Delegate

I thought I would post about one of the most hardest thing my husband and I ever had to go through: running for state delegate. Besides my dad’s house (you should all know what a nightmare that was), running for office was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

Honestly, the first 8 months were probably the hardest… and that’s granted the campaign lasted a little over a year.

Donations

When Brian first announced to our family and friends at a party we threw, I thought the support was going to be tremendous. I had set up ActBlue beforehand and made sure it was working so people could donate ASAP. No one donated. No friends, no family, no one. It wasn’t until maybe September when we got our first donation. We had several people said they would but no one donated until then.

The first people to donate were people who’s door Brian knocked on. I remember that feeling of seeing the ActBlue notification of a gift of $25. Finally, we were relieved. I had Brian write a thank you note right away.

We didn’t raise a lot of money throughout the campaign but Brian wasn’t asking for it either. We didn’t tap any friends or family. We didn’t send out an email with the companies we worked for asking for donations. Besides Brian’s parents, we only raised a few hundred dollars total. Brian’s parents gave the most.

Campaign Lit

I had always wanted to go to a union shop but VistaPrint was cheap and they had great deals and the quality was great. We started out with business cards. Brian would door knock with them. We eventually had to bite the bullet and upgrade to something larger so we got postcards instead. We started out one-sided then opted for two sides… one being the stances, contact info, his picture, etc. The other, a personal message mentioning that he’s NOT A LAWYER.

We also purchased a few signs and posters with his logo.

The Logo

I had came up with a few things for Bri. He liked the cursive font with the Maryland flag. However, everyone thought it was too hard to read. By this point my sister was bugging me about a campaign video and we needed the logo to be concrete. I just changed the font and the alpha of the flag (making sure the 4.5:1 color contrast ratio for accessibility was enforced).

We went through like three logos. Even now people still say it’s hard to read but whatever. Maybe something that lead to us losing.

The Campaign Video That Never Was

When Brian started out, my sister, Stacy, offered to help with a campaign/intro video. I wanted to film the whole thing in one weekend. I had obtained a script from a guy online. I wanted it to be funny but the guy didn’t put many jokes in it. I had already came up with some jokes so the guy included some of them but all-in-all, looking back, I was disappointed in the script.

My sister came down for the weekend and I gave her the script and she immediately started to revise and make changes. I thought it was such a waste to let it go and Brian was awful filming. He won’t act the way I wanted and I got very frustrated with everything.

This was one of the worst weekends of my life. I had to divorce myself from it. My camera was crappy, we didn’t have all the things we needed for the script… it was just bad all over.

After the weekend, my sister took the footage we had (we shot more after she was gone). She and her friend tried to edit it together but nothing really came about it.

I wanted the video to be a 1-2 minute thing that said who he was, what his platform is, what sets him apart from the rest of the crappy candidates, but it never went. I wanted it to only take about a month so we could release it end of September to share on social media. I was hoping it could be a hit on YouTube since it would be funny but we stopped.

I do thank my sister and her friend for their effort.

Door Knocking

Our whole campaign strategy was about the doors and the events. We never through any meet-and-greets besides the one at Leisure World in September. It didn’t go well at all. Only four people showed up. It was a flop.

We got the voter data from Nation Builder and instead of paying thousands of dollars for the VAN, I decided to create my own.

It took me three days to load all the data into a MySQL database and another few days to build an app around it. It was all stored locally on my laptop at home (a laptop I especially bought for the campaign to replace my old PC).

I would create lists off of the data by choosing a street, looking it up on Google Maps, and getting the streets by it for a route. I created over 160 lists which was around 80% of the knockable district. A lot of the un-knockable district was Leisure World, apartments, or houses that were too far apart to knock.

Bri used these lists throughout the campaign. Bri’s parents would come over for the last two months of the campaign and flyer doors.

The app worked well and I would like to add upon it and have it as an alternative to the expensive VAN. However, I’m going to have to come up with a better way to load and update the data.

Events

Like I had mentioned before, Bri never had any meet-and-greets besides the one in Leisure World. He attended a lot of group meetings though. Every group I heard about, I made sure Bri attended their meetings. I wanted Brian to be a different kind of delegate. One who doesn’t just show up during election time. I wanted him to continue to going to these groups if he had won.

He mainly just did group meetings at night and even attended meet-and-greets of other people we knew were running.

Strategy

Like I said before, our whole strategy was door knocking. We also touted the fact (and hammered it) that Brian is not a lawyer. There was only two other candidates who weren’t lawyers running. Brian is also fact based. I made sure his website had links to articles that were proof of why Brian thinks that way. No other candidate does that or has that. Actual facts? What? And ideas to boot. And he backed up his ideas with facts!

Friends

We pretty much postponed our social lives until after 8PM. Bri would door knock all days

But where to start with our friends? First off, mostly all of our friends were not supportive of Brian running. They would ask how it was going but that’s about all. Only my friend from work joined us for a march (with the exception of our friend’s son). Mostly the marches were family and some of our political friends.

Let me get that straight… our friends were almost of no help but our political friends were of help. The people we met for Bernie stuff helped out a bit. Other than that, it was just us and family.

I am disappointed that our friends didn’t help us. It was something that really hurt me a lot during the campaign. I’m over it now and I’m still friends with people but it really hurt that no one would help. People barely could like Brian’s page on Facebook.

Social Media

God did Facebook cause me much anxiety. When we first announced in June 2017, I thought immediately Bri would get a lot of FB likes on his page. We got like 15. And it stayed at 15-20 for MONTHS. This was the most depressing thing for me that a lot of our friends couldn’t even bother to like his page. I can’t explain how much depression I felt because of FB. I was always tempted to pay for ads for Brian so he’d get more likes but knew I would regret it (if it even panned out).

Social media is not one of my strong suits. I sucked at posting to FB and Twitter but I always felt Brian needed to do that for himself.

Twitter wasn’t so bad. Brian got quite a few followers so I wasn’t depressed about Twitter. He even had more followers than someone we knew running who had hundreds of FB likes.

But ya, FB sucked and caused me to go through a lot of depression.

It’s A Big Club

2018 was a year where a lot of progressives ran for office. We were already helping our friend out in his County Council run. We met a lot of progressives on the campaign trail and if Bri wasn’t running, I would have totally helped them out in their campaigns.

However, a lot of these progressives turned out to be very popular. Much more popular than Brian. People I hadn’t even heard of were suddenly getting all the attention from Bernie groups (i.e. Moco’s Our Revolution) and Brian wasn’t. I had been a part of those kind of groups for a long time and never saw any of these other progressives in there. However, they got all the attention and not Brian.

George Carlin famously said, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.” I hate to report but the way I feel about progressives is the same… it’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

Endorsements

We spent hours and hours filling out candidate questionnaires for endorsements. We put our time and effort into finding the right words to say, spelling, grammar, etc. In the end, most came down to money anyway.

Here’s a list of groups that I have completely lost respect for because their endorsement process is a joke. Just have the most money or be able to raise the most money and you’ll get their endorsement.

  • MCEA – Ie. the Apple ballot/teachers union. My god. It didn’t matter what kind of views you had. You just needed to have the right amount of money in your bank account. Only one of the incumbents got their endorsement along with the rich guy and the union lawyer.
  • Sierra Club – We were pretty green. We wanted 100% green energy, everything recyclable, etc. Didn’t matter to them. They only cared about the money in your bank account. The two incumbents and the rich guy got their endorsement.
  • Progressive Maryland – We thought for sure we’d get PM but they instead endorsed the two incumbents and the union lawyer… go figure.
  • Progressive Neighbors – Nope! We are not the incumbents so we didn’t get their endorsement. They also went for the rich guy as their third.
  • SEIU – These people really treated Bri like crap. They scheduled a last-minute meeting and when Brian showed up, they didn’t. He tried to call them back several times (even talking to them) to reschedule but they never gave him a time. Seems they didn’t want to hear how Bri would help them with a $15 minimum wage, universal healthcare, etc.
  • All unions – Bri didn’t get any union endorsements. They all wanted to see the money. Like I explained before, money wasn’t our strong suit but door knocking was.

I am deeply humbled and honored and I thank the only two groups to give Brian an endorsement:

The Montgomery County Green Democrats and Montgomery County Our Revolution

These two groups didn’t care how much money you had in your bank account. They didn’t ask for other endorsements. They were strictly issues based.

And when it comes to the issues, Brian is the candidate.

ActBlue

I will never have ActBlue again. Bernie used it and I had donated to Bernie that way. I even tipped them quite a few times. MISTAKE.

ActBlue charged us lots of money even though we only raised a few hundred dollars through their site. They would charge us like $5+ a month.

I will never do ActBlue again and I will NEVER tip them again. Lesson to learn: DON’T TIP ACTBLUE. They get their money through the candidate.

The Other Candidates

We thought the two incumbents would win but one of them did not. I didn’t care for the other candidates that much. The union lawyer didn’t bother me as much as the others. The only one I really liked (besides Brian) was Jade. I would vote for him if he ran again.

One of the candidates did not treat Brian well. He made peace with her but I didn’t like what she did. She did end up winning.

The rich guy really bugged me. I will not be voting for him (or any of them) in the general. He’s the “progressive” but he raised thousands upon thousands of dollars from out-of-state. Since he raised all that money, he got all the endorsements. And since he was “progressive”, all the progressive groups swooned over him. Like I said, big club.

I really do think no one has the same integrity about money in politics as I do as no one else thinks that him raising thousands of dollars from out of state (and taking PAC/union money) is an issue. The same thing to say of him taking that money is the same excuse corporate democrats (and their defenders) use. Think about that.

Summary

To sum it up, friends hurt, lack of money hurt, determination and family are what got us through. I’m glad it’s finally over. I will NEVER do that again.


The Rubble Or Our Sins?

There’s a song I like, Pompeii by Bastille. It tells a story of a city like Pompeii (or it probably is Pompeii). A city that’s so full of sin and then it’s destroyed.

I have used a few lyrics from it before in my own life. In response to why I was leaving a job, I replied, “I was left to my own devices. Many days fell away with nothing to show.” I was bored; my PM just had left so I wasn’t growing. That was one of the reasons why I left.

But I’m not blogging about that aspect of the song this time.

I’ve gotten into debates with friends about another lyric in the song; “Oh, where do we begin? The rubble or our sins?”

This lyric is powerful to me because I often think about my mother and how much she is and has struggled. I also think about those who want to change their life around or, perhaps, myself if I were to fall into a bad action or a difficult time of my own making.

I feel that you should start with your sins.

If you fall in trouble and lose what you have, if you gain what you have back, you have not learned a lesson and could repeat the same mistake again. If you get to where you’re comfortable again, what’s stopping you from falling back to the mistake? However, if you start with trying to better yourself (i.e. start with your sins), then you will have learned and can then build back from the rubble.

I probably suck at explaining that but that’s how I feel. Start with the sins then rebuild.


Solving 7×7 Rubics Cube

So I got really good at solving the 3×3 rubics cube; the regular cube like everyone is afraid of. I got so good I got Brian to get me more cubes. He got me a triangle, 2×2, 4×4, and a 5×5. As time went on, I got bored. I haven’t memorized all the algorithms for parodies but I’m still pretty good at solving them.

I had Brian advance me to a 7×7. Using the same kind of methods, I was able to solve it. Here are some pictures…

Scrambled:

Two Colors Done (I did this by lining up colors then putting them in their proper place… probably the wrong method but it worked):

Three Colors Done:

Four Colors Done:

All Six Colors Done (this was a pain to figure out… I kept playing around with it):

Somewhat Like 5×5 (this was also a pain to get… just kept playing around with it to get it like the 5×5 with three or two colors on each side):

Got The 5×5 Parody:

Solved The 5×5 Parody… Now It’s Just Solving Like A 3×3 (had to do the algorithm as well as an extra few steps for some reason):

Top Part Of 3×3 Solved (the next few photos are just a simple 3×3 solve):

Six Rows Solved:

Solving Edges (notice that the edges aren’t the right colors):

Last Part Of The 3×3 Solve:

And It’s Solved!:

I love rubics cubes but I absolutely HATE and refuse to solve the 2×2. That thing is a bitch. Funny, huh?


Democrats Who Need To Be Primaried 2018/2020

I’m going to grow this list. I wanted a place which I could update to tell people (and remind myself) of the democrats who are just not on our side and who need to lose their seat.

This is a national list and I’ll try to update it with big votes in the coming months.

Name State Reason They Need To Lose Notes
Baldwin WI Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Michael Bennet CO Voted to reopen government 1/22/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Blumenthal CT Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Brown OH Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Cantwell WA Voted for CR 1/22/2018
Cardin MD Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Thomas Carper DE Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Casey PA Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Chris Coons DE Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Cortez Masto NV Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Joe Donnelly IN Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Duckworth IL Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Dick Durbin IL Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Diane Feinstein CA Voted for FISA reauthorization
Hassan NH Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Heinrich NM Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Heidi Heitkamp ND Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Doug Jones AL Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Tim Kaine VA Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
King ME Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018 he’s actually an independent
Klobuchar MN Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Leahy VT Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Joe Manchin WV Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Claire McCaskill MO Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Menendez NJ Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Murray WA Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Nelson FL Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Gary Peters MI Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Reed RI Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Schatz HI Voted to reopen government 1/22/2018
Chuck Schumer NY Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Shaheen NH Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Smith MN Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Stabenow MI Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Jon Tester MT Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Udall NM Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Chris Van Hollen MD Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018
Mark Warner VA Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018; Co-sponsored legislation to deregulate Wall Street 11/16/2017
Whitehouse RI Voted for FISA reauthorization; Voted for CR 1/22/2018; Voted for CR 2/9/2018

Votes


Vacation Days

When I started working my first job out of college I only accrued 10 vacation days a year. I calculated it out and that was roughly a month and a week I had to work in order to get ONE day off. I needed to have stayed with the company FIVE YEARS in order to get 15 vacation days a year. It was complete hell for my first few years. The first actual vacation I took was over two years after I started working.

My second job wasn’t much better. I started out with accruing 10 vacation days a year (same as before) but I think after three years with them I could get another week for a total (and maximum) of 15 days a year. The first two years of this job I actually got less time off than my previous job. However I decided to leave after two years and it just so happened I left when others left as well. They (and me) sighted not enough vacation as one of our reasons for leaving. After I gave my notice the company changed their policy. They now gave everyone 15 days off a year as well as two extra floating holidays (for a total of four floating holidays).

Since they changed it, it actually got me to come back. I was very happy in earning 15 days off a year.

The next job I got I had 15 days off a year as well as some government holidays off. After one year I accrued 20 days off a year. That wasn’t so bad. I actually felt like I had time.

I got another job and now I get 21 days off a year. I’m moving up!

I can’t help but feel kind of happy that me (and I’m sure many others) voiced our displeasure over vacation time and made companies change it. Talking with some people fresh on their first job out of college and them earning 15 days off a year makes me feel like I helped to accomplish something. I’m glad they’re getting more time off than what I had when I started.

I also have to note that my first and second job there came with a week sick leave. However sick leave could only be taken if you’re sick and it was not paid out when I left. I would sometimes fake being sick so I could get a mental health day. My third and now my fourth jobs do not have sick leave so I did not/do not have to do that.

It’s still NO EUROPE but it might be getting better. And minimum wage workers (and I’m sure MANY, MANY other people) do not earn vacation or sick leave. The United States has a long way to go as we are still the only first world country that doesn’t offer guaranteed paid time off.


Validation In Life

I’ve been really, REALLY stressed out a lot lately. So stressed out to the point I’m breaking out, forgetting lots of tiny little things, messing up plans, not able to concentrate, slurring speech, messing up A LOT at work, etc. And it’s definitely because of work. I feel like I have too much on my plate right now and no down time. I just do not feel like I’m very good at doing adult things right now.

I took off last Thursday and Friday and went to Ocean City for the crusin weekend which was nice. However I don’t feel like it was adequate enough time to recharge. I still feel stressed. The last real vacation I guess was Panama a year and a half ago.

This kind of stress is something new to me though. I’m just not handling it well. I feel like my work is sub-par and I’m just not as good as I used to be. I feel like I could get fired for messing up so much.

Talking with Brian last night made me realize that it may be because I don’t get validated. When I was in college, sure I’d get stressed and mess up and stuff but I also got validated. I would get grades back that made me feel good about myself. In the real world we don’t get that. The only validation I get for the work that I do is MAYBE once a year, an annual review. Other than that, nothing. No, “doing a good job”, “wow you did that really great/fast”, whatever. Just no validation. And it’s not only this job, it’s been since I got out of college… every job I’ve never received enough validation.

I realize this validation problem in my personal life as well. Like the Young Turks did a story on social media and how it hurts our self-esteem and our self image. They covered just what others say, etc. For me it’s not like that with social media. For me it’s how many likes and comments I get.

I’ve kind of quit Facebook again (not like anyone notices) but I’ve stopped posting my pictures from Instagram. The likes I got were just not good enough. Especially when I see a lot of other friends get likes and stuff after one hour of a post… If I post something the first like will be like hours from then. Other friends post things and they get like 20+ likes all the time. My world record for a post is like 20 likes.

I feel like social media has made me less validated as a person. If I don’t get enough likes on a post or a picture, I delete it. It makes me feel inadequate if I don’t get likes or comments. No one is talking about that. I could write the exact same thing as any other friend on Facebook, they would get like 20 likes and I wouldn’t get any. Twitter is the only social media I actually like and I don’t feel the pressure to get likes or retweets or anything.

And yes, I get plenty of validation from Brian but it’s not the same as a boss or a friend just telling me I’m doing a good job or that I’m an awesome person and that I’m liked. I’m not getting what I need right now to feel better about myself and I really don’t know how to solve this issue.

Just stress like everywhere. Work and social media. I can quit Facebook but I can’t quit work.


Position On Time Travel / Travelers On NetFlix

My friends and I had a rather interesting conversation about time travel last week… well… every conversation I have with anyone about time travel is interesting.

I used to believe that it would be like Back To The Future I, where Marty has yet to go back in time to change his parents future. Like we are still on the original time line where we don’t know about time travel because its discovery hasn’t happened yet. I thought this for years. Time travel hasn’t happened yet so we’re still getting there.

Then I kinda flip flopped and changed my thinking to more align with what average people think about time travel… like it hasn’t happened yet so we know it’s not possible. Kinda like in Back To The Future II, Lost, and Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. We can’t change things by going back in time because we would have already done so.

I am able to debate either way. I wasn’t 100% on either way and I’m still unsure. It make sense way 1 in which we haven’t reached in time where we have the ability to go back in time (the original timeline theory), but it also makes sense way 2 (we can’t change time because we would have already done so).

Travelers

Over the weekend we binged watched Travelers on NetFlix (I HIGHLY recommend it). It was awesome but it got me thinking about time travel yet again. My issue with Travelers is that they take over someone’s body just as they’re about to die. Wouldn’t that change the future? To me it would create a paradox since that person didn’t die on that day or in that way so then the traveler couldn’t go back and take over that person. As the season progressed, their actions did have futuristic consequences like they intended; just not the desired outcome quite yet.

I’m optimistic about season 2 but we’ll have to wait until December I guess for a new season.

In the end I continue to remain on the fence about time travel… not that it’s not possible but that if it is, would something have already happened or are we just living the original time line?

I guess we’ll never know until we know?


Thanks, Obama (The Good, The Bad, The Ugly)

The Good

The Bad

The Down Right UGLY

  • We went from bombing two countries under Bush to SEVEN under Obama; he bombed so much he ran out of bombs
  • We’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan; full scale wars that the media isn’t covering anymore
  • Started wars in Somalia, Syria, Libya; destabilized Honduras
  • Expanded the surveillance state
  • Got rid of Habeus Corpus completely
  • Prosecuting whistleblowers and journalists
  • Campaigned more for the TPP than for single payer or the public option
  • Refused to stand with Occupy Wall Street and refused to stand with Standing Rock
  • Started Cold War tensions with Russia
  • Did nothing to help the people of Flint Michigan or other areas dealing with poisoned water
  • Did absolutely nothing to get money out of politics

There’s so much bad that outweighs the good. I would like to think it could have been worse had McCain or Romney won. War is what really gets me with Obama. Having two cousins in the military I cannot look past his record on that.

As an overall grade I would say D. I wouldn’t vote for Obama again if he could have ran. Despite all the bad I will miss him and I thank him for all the good. There is still too much to do in this country and we should have fought harder with Obama. It’s sad progressives need to fight tooth and nail with the Democrats. I just hope the left is awoke now for the shit storm that will be Trump because it’s looking that he will be a lot worse.


Electoral College Thoughts

With Hillary’s loss and win with the popular vote, there again is talk of getting rid of the electoral college. Back in 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote yet lost the presidency. Hillary won the popular vote by a large margin but lost the presidency.

Should we get rid of the electoral college? My opinion is no.

The electoral college gives candidates a reason to visit states. According to 538, there are around 12 swing states. If the US was to get rid of the electoral college, candidates would only have reason visit the most popular states; i.e. California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

I think I remember Trump saying he would have only campaigned in like six states instead of fifteen if there was no electoral college.

I know I’m going against like all my progressive heroes on this but I believe we need to keep the electoral college so smaller states can have a voice as well. And I’m from Maryland where we never get any love from either candidate every presidential election cycle. And we perhaps would if the US got rid of the electoral college since we’re like the nineteenth most populous state.

I’m for keeping the electoral college but I think we should award electoral votes based on voter turnout. There is/was no incentive to vote. ONE PERSON could have shown up to vote in any state and all that states electoral votes would go to that person whom the ONE PERSON voted for. Presidential candidates should work for every vote and try to ensure that his/her base actually shows up to the polls.

For example, my great state, Maryland, has 10 electoral votes. Say if only 58% came out to vote and Hillary Clinton won the majority of the vote, Maryland’s electoral count should be 6 and be all awarded to Clinton. Probably rounding up the percentage of eligible voters is best. Even smaller states, like a state with 3 electoral votes, would have reason to vote so their population can hit that 66% threshold so they can be awarded their full 3 electoral votes.

But I believe there should be more incentive to go out to the polls if we did it this way. I know that people roll their eyes at this because most of my friends and peeps are informed but there are a lot of people who feel like their vote doesn’t make a difference. I think if we were to award electoral votes based on turn out, people would feel they have more of a voice. It would definitely drive democratic numbers up since the higher the turn out the more the democrats win.

Anyway, that’s my idea.