Monday, February 6, 2017

Term In Nation

Tax time is here.

We're lucky enough to get a fair return when this time of year comes around, because we actually ask for more income tax to be taken off our checks than is necessary, so we get it back in accumulated amounts when it comes time to file.  Along with fixing up things that need to be done with the house, we allow ourselves little treats for ourselves, too, that we wouldn't normally be able to afford.  For me this year, it'll be a nice ride cymbal and tambourine with a multi-clamp for my drum kit.

I get to thinking sometimes of the old days, really old days, when my brother Greg got me my first drum set for my 13th birthday.  I remember I was clueless how to play it.  It was just an upside down snare with the snare wires over the top of the batter head, a small bass drum, and hi hats with a stand.  But it did the trick.  These were the only tools I needed to start my journey to becoming a drummer.  I met this friend, we'll call him "Ed", in school, and we were mutual KISS fans.  He was a guitar player who was self-taught himself, and I taught myself how to play my drums.  Ed and myself evolved into being able to play fairly well throughout our teen years.

But Ed was a troubled guy.  Like me, his dad died in his early years, and I think he had a lot of trouble dealing, like I did.  But he took to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.  Through it all, his personality kind of changed.  He was the same likeable guy, but he tended to tell you things you wanted to hear to get your approval, only to leave you disappointed when time went on.  It was kind of part of his charisma, which he had a lot of.  People would believe what he said even when they were faced with the truth.  He wasn't always untruthful, but too often not.  My guess is that he desperately wanted the approval from people that he never got from his father.  We all come from somewhere, right?

We veered off separate ways in our late teens, when we got girlfriends.  That took me a lot longer, though.  I didn't have the confidence he did when it came to girls.  I remember, though, he had a girlfriend he was with for a little while, and she had friends that would tag along with them sometimes.  Ed would tell me that her friends 'liked' me and that we were actually out on dates, when really we weren't.  I had such a hard time finding girls to date that I would just believe it.  It was almost never true.  He'd tell me they said nice things about me that they never said.  Again, to gain favor.  Man, that kind of wrecked me back in those days.  Putting it short, really, Ed was a chronic liar that would say whatever it took to gain favor and leverage.

I didn't want to be around him anymore because of his excessive pot and alcohol use.  When he told me he was done with it and wanted to jam again a few years ago, we played a few times, and then it became evident he was just the same old Ed.  His old habits came back along with his old behaviors.  I was saddened by a couple of things:  That he hadn't come around from his old vices, and that I allowed myself to be taken in yet again by it all.  Ed's a smooth talker who had a knack for getting his way, only to do something entirely different when you weren't around him.

These days I just play my drums by myself, because it appears my friends have either grown out of their hobby or they just don't want to jam anymore, at least with me or whatever.  But the way I see it, once a drummer, always a drummer.  If opportunity comes knocking to make some noise with somebody, I'm there to take it.

Lady Gaga was on the Superbowl halftime show this year.  I'm really not a fan, I don't like her stuff, for me.  Just not my style.  But I had to respect the performance.  She pulled out all the stops to entertain everyone and did an exceptional job.  If she was lip syncing, it wasn't noticeable.  For the most part it looked pretty legit.  But... I long for music with real musicians and less machines and programming, and less overproducing.  My thinking is, for every person playing an instrument you take away and replace with a machine, that's one less soul you have in the music.  And music lacks soul these days.  There really isn't any.  And you can hit all the notes in your singing you want, it doesn't mean you should.  I'm looking at you, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, and pretty much every "pop princess" on the top 40 these days.

One thing Gaga didn't do, allegedly because she was told not to, was wax political onstage during the halftime show.  You just know she was itching to.  You had to think that the Trump Reich Trump Administration was watching, with the Donald having his tiny thumbs at the ready on his Twitter account if she made one false move.

And speaking of his Twitter account, it's a marvelous way to trip the wires of the man's temper, isn't it?  Like a teenager with her iPhone frustrated standing in line at a fast food restaurant because she isn't getting served sooner, he explodes when something just isn't going his way.  Just look at any tweets regarding the Obamas, the "so-called judge", Muslims in general, or anyone who disagrees with him at all.  But... if he meets face to face with any of these people, it's all peaches and cream, isn't it?  He shakes hands, praises them and tells you how much he admires them.  Then when it comes time to write executive orders, that's all out the window, and his true nature makes itself clear.  Just like that 'Ed' fellow I told you about.  He'll tell you everything you want to hear to get what he wants, and once he gets it, so what.  Trump did that all through is election.  He came off as a populist, promising to give people everything they wanted.  That is, until he got what he wanted, which was the people's vote.

In that regard, I sympathize with Trump voters.  We all know what it's like to be taken in by a charismatic con artist, and to feel the regret when we realize we'd been taken in.  It's frustrating.  Who likes a pathological promise-breaker?  Liberals, or democrats, tend to think they're higher thinkers than republicans or conservatives are, and look down on those without like-minded thinking.  But the reverse is also true.  There has to be common ground in there somewhere, though.  Could there be a simple solution?  I doubt it.  But I did ponder it, and this is my pitch on it.  Not like anyone would take it seriously, but still...

Imagine this... if every four years, there was a presidential election, where there was no such thing as more than one term.  But during that term, it's a Democratic president.  Everyone had to choose from a field of democratic candidates, whether they're registered Republicans or Democrats.  That's right... republicans get a say in who the Democratic president will be.  Congress is elected as usual, but the Democratic president gets the usual powers of veto and all the other dressings that come with it.  There are no squabbles about who the president is, because everyone chose him/her.  The term is over, then a republican nomination is chosen, and everyone decides who the best Republican president will be for the next four years.

This way the president is truly chosen by the people en masse each and every time.  It doesn't solve all the problems, but I'll tell you this... it'd go a long way into ensuring guys like Trump don't get into office again.  Oh, and do away with this delegate nonsense.  If that never existed in the first place, Bernie Sanders would be president right now and all of this upheaval would never have taken place.  In fact, Sanders is a perfect example of someone who appeals to both sides of the voting block.

This same rule would apply nicely to Canada, although our voting system is vastly different from the one in the U.S.  We have a parliamentary system that kind of mucks up the idea.  But the abolishing of the "first past the post" system is a start, something Prime Minister Trudeau promised, but reneged on.  Hence the need for it in the first place.

Regardless, we need some way, whether it's via mandatory one-term leaders or not, to tell certain leaders they have no way of saying "I'll be back".

Thursday, January 12, 2017

RT Jan 12 2017

Been a while since I did a Random Thoughts post.  It's a day off today, so why not.

Going to attempt slow cooker meatballs today, and baby smashed garlic potatoes.  Gotta do something new, and start putting that slow cooker to more use.  Updates on facebook how it turns out.

Could it be time to change jobs?

Today is the day I double the dose of Cipralex after a lengthy washout period from Trintellix, which was/is incredibly rough.  Still not out of the woods.  Might be in March or so.

I understand Canada is "hockey country" and all that crap, but I hate being one of the few that's stuck in the pool with all the fanatics splashing the water too much.  Football even more so.  Still waiting for baseball to ramp up.

Poor Ronda Rousey... she would've done better had she listened to everyone else, including her own judo expert mother, and had a better coach/trainer.  I bet Stephanie McMahon is drafting a pretty big deal to get her at the next Wrestlemania, though.  Rousey's a huge WWE fan.

Contemplating plans to see a couple of tours this year, the KISSworld Tour and U2's Joshua Tree anniversary.  Montreal or Toronto among the possibilities, maybe Boston.  I'd always wanted to see a WWE pay per view show in person too.

Still going to the gym, but took some more or less forced time off through most of December, due to the wife's and mine work schedules.  Busiest Christmas I've been involved with in retail (hence questioning 'could it be time to change jobs?', among other reasons).  My schedule does me no favours, with two 5am shifts, three 8-4's, and even two 2-10's every third week.  Those shifts don't co-operate with my mental health issues either, I'm told.  But... still want to train for the Fundy Marathon this summer, a 28 mile run.  If I did that... not bad for a 51 year old, after taking up running only a year and a half ago and going for it.

Janice is training like a pro athlete.  Goes to the gym nearly every day for around two hours.  Weight has slowed falling off her although she's getting smaller, as is evidenced by her clothes sizing.  She will be 50 this year and can kick your ass even if you're a teenager.  Guy or girl.  Warning:  She finds Ronda Rousey inspiring.

I don't talk much about politics these days because, as I've discussed previously, I find it hopeless now, and my daughter's kids, if she has any, may be one of the last five or six generations to survive.  Not even kidding.  BUT... I do find U.S. politics increasingly hilarious.  The Golden Don is making his upcoming presidency the laughing stock of all of the history of planet earth, let alone the U.S.  Comedians everywhere will thrive over the next four years.

Our daughter has a new job working for a clothing store at the mall, and I haven't seen her happier in a long while.  She was screwed at her last job, I'll make no bones about it.  I won't even enter that building anymore.  In hindsight, a lot of people were.  Seems to be the culture of that workplace around here, not limited to just one building.

So far this winter is awfully similar to last winter, as to say, not bad.  Some might argue, but Moncton here hasn't really experienced a bad storm in three years, in my view.  Mind you, three years ago, we did experience our worst winter maybe in my lifetime.

Looking forward to fixing up the outdoor eves of the house this spring, and finally, hopefully, getting some walls replaced inside.  Doors would be nice... but then megabucks enter the picture.  Eventually.

I've wanted a nice, big ride cymbal for my drums for years, but to get a nice one, you have to pay a little.  I've always had them, but never a nice one.  This spring, Mr. K from Zildjian will be in da house.  Or a reasonable double.  Drumming is a solo hobby for me these days since I don't know anyone who plays anymore.

Last summer was so awesome, so good, that I can't wait for this summer to come around.  Janice and me spent a lot of time outside last year, thanks to our taking up running, not to mention getting back on track with the peeps in Caissie Cape.  I had a blast doing photography for the big washer toss tournament and look forward to it again.  We'd love to return to Fenway for a couple of games.  Might visit some fam in Welland too, who knows.  $$ will dictate a lot of that.

Going to be a great year for movies.  New 'Blade Runner', 'Dunkirk', 'Spiderman Homecoming', 'Alien Covenant', 'Mute' (Netflix), 'Star Wars Ep. VIII', and that's just off the top of my head.  Really wish the next 'Avatar' would get here already.  James Cameron will once again revolutionize movie making when he puts it out.  It's taking awhile because he's making three sequels at the same time.  Or four, maybe.  Ah yes, 'Alien 5' next year, a sequel to 'Aliens', skipping over the awful 3 and 4.  Newt and Hicks with Ripley will be back!

'Better Call Saul' is about to hit the TV screens... can't wait.  We get to see Gus Fring again.  I'll have to model my Los Pollos Hermanos kitchen apron on facebook sometime.

About TV... if you haven't seen 'Westworld', please please please, DO IT.  By the time you've finished watching the last episode of the season, you will see why I say it's the smartest, deepest, most stunning show on television.  It rivals 'Breaking Bad'.  Yes, it's that good.

Anybody else think Trump is the antichrist?  Maybe a precursor?  Obama only has a few days left to start World War 3 like all the conservatives have said, not to mention take everybody's guns, so he better get cracking.  Seriously, Obama = best U.S. president maybe ever.  Even Kennedy was rocked by scandals.  Nothing for Barack.  Argue if you want... but you're wrong to.

Who's going to win the Royal Rumble?  Not Lesnar.  Not Goldberg.  Those guys will screw each other over in the Rumble and we'll see one last match between them at Wrestlemania, that's my prediction.  And I'm stickin' to it.  Finn Balor is the dark horse in the Rumble, not even announced, but he's owed a rematch with Owens, so I look for Owens to retain and keep his title until WM where Balor will get a shot at taking it back.  But that won't be the headlining match at WM.  Lesnar vs Goldberg will be.  Maybe.  Perhaps Undertaker will be involved for a 3-way.  I'd LOVE to see Rowdy Ronda get involved somehow in the women's division, but odds are very long on that.  But eventually I'd like her to get a deal similar to Lesnar's.  Then there's The Rock.  How will he figure in all of it?  Seth Rollins vs HHH will happen at Mania, too, I predict.

That's about it.  Fire up the colortinis and watch the pictures as they fly through the air.

Good day.  焕