Free Write Week 18 (April 30 – May 6)

This week has gone about like the last two weeks. I’m not very happy and I’m not feeling my best, but I’m surviving. Actually, surviving might be the best way to describe how I’m living right now. I’m just getting by the best that I can, one day at a time.

I caught up on Debris over the weekend and the show really took off around episode seven or so. It reminded me a lot of Fringe when it first began and I was wondering if the show was ever going to actually go anywhere, but then when it got going it got good fast. Debris worked the same way, I just hope it retained enough of an audience (or gains one based on word of mouth) to get a season renewal. We all know how broadcast sci-fi usually goes.

Brandy and I picked up It Takes Two, an adorable couch co-op game that deal with some unusual video game subject matter: divorce. I highly recommend you take a look at the great trailer that sold me on the game to begin with, but in a nutshell: a couple announce they are going to divorce and their daughter wishes upon a romance help book to save their marriage. The couple then wakes up as two little doll caricatures that the daughter created and are forced to learn to collaborate and compromise thanks to the guide of this love book which now talks and walks around. It’s like a Pixar movie come to life and the game play is a lot of fun.

Playstation Plus also gave away Battlefield V and Wreckfest this week. I’ve played Wreckfest before, but never finished it up so I’m excited to dive back in. Thus far the PS5 improvements are minimal and the controller sound is pretty terrible, but it’s still a fun game by the makers of Flatout.

I loved Battlefield 1 and have been curious about Battlefield V and well… it’s not bad, it’s just not great either. I do love the loud war time chaos sound mixing that goes on and I’m sure I’ll play an occasional match or two. Can’t beat free. I still think I prefer Battlefront.

My buddy Michael has released his latest wrestling book that takes a look at the history of Limitless Wrestling out of Maine. Having read this book, I can verify it was a colossal undertaking and is thorough as can be. It’s an impressive story and Michael breaks downs all the results, wrestler profiles, championships, and history of the promotion. It truly is an impressive book and one I’d recommend to fans of indie wrestling, especially Limitless.

It’s also worth mentioning that at one point the book was the second best selling wrestling book on Amazon, only behind Drew McIntyre’s book. That’s huge!

I’ve started meditating again on a regular basis. It’s been years since I’ve gone more than a day or two, but I’m on day six as of this writing of doing ten minutes a night. I’m proud of this and am hoping it’ll help make me feel just a little better.

I’ve been reading Rob Bell’s What We Talk About When We Talk About God and A Field Guide to a Happy Life by Mossimo Piglucci. Both are fascinating reads and ones I’m enjoying quite a bit. I don’t have as much time to dedicate to my reading, but I try to average at least one chapter a day if I can.

I’m intrigued by Alexandra Aja’s latest sci-fi film Oxygen. I’ve always enjoyed his work and this looks to be just as impressive.

I’m also interested in this quirky British sci-fi show called Intergalactic.

I also had fun experimenting with this adult bedtime story which creates a space travel story. It worked quite well and I’m interested in trying some others.

Movies Watched in April

Max Payne – I’ve been wanting to watch this film since it came out. I’m a huge Max Payne fan and I knew it wasn’t well received, but I’ve always been curious. I should have stayed curious. This was horrendous.

Evil Dead (1981) – This will go down as one of my favorite horror movie watching experiences. I watched Evil Dead on VHS for the first time in a very long time and I enjoyed the hell out of it. What a great film that still holds up and looks great on VHS.

Clerks – Once Kevin Smith was my favorite director and Clerks was one of my favorite films. I haven’t seen it in a very long time and I really enjoyed revisiting it. It made me laugh quite a bit despite knowing all the jokes.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage HomeSee my A Year in Star Trek review.

Frozen in Time: Dawson City – This documentary was fantastic and slow. It tells the story of the small Yukon town of Dawson City where silent films went to die. It was the last stop on the distribution ring and a ton of the films were buried in an old swimming pool hole. The permafrost preserved these treasures and tons of of lost films were found. This documentary is made like a silent movie and is very arthouse, but interesting.

Star Wars Episode One: Cloak of Deception (Phantom Menace Fan Edit)/Star Wars Episode Two: The Approaching Storm (Attack of the Clones Fan Edit)/Star Wars Episode Three: Labyrinth of Evil (Revenge of the Sith Fan Edit) – I wanted to watch some Star Wars and had heard good things about these fan edits. I gave them a shot and boy was I surprised at how much they improved the films. I was so impressed I almost want to buy a blu-ray burner just to preserve these as the definitive version of Star Wars for myself.

The Final Terror – A low budget 80’s horror film by the director Under Siege starring Daryl Hannah and Joe Pantoliano. It was slow and not worth the 83 minutes I spent on it.

Mortal Kombat – This wasn’t bad. I definitely wouldn’t say it was great either, but I felt like it was a good step in the right direction. I’m interested in seeing some sequels.

Free Write Week 17 (Apr 23 – Apr 29)

So, I don’t see myself getting to Friday posts like I used to, but I’m hoping to get my Free Write journals up by the end of each weekend. Maybe if I develop a new routine I can get back to Fridays, but for now I’m hoping to just get them done by Sundays.

Let’s start off with some good news first. I enjoyed watching The Middle this week, a sitcom that I missed out on but have developed a fondness for. I love the fact that they feel like a real family who have real struggles.

I decided to give Red Faction Guerilla: The Remarsters Edition a try. I’ve had the game for quite some time and I loved my original play through on the 360 (although I did not complete the game.) It’s totally GTA on Mars and I like that about it. It’s quirky, weird, reminds me a bit of Total Recall and the ability to destroy just about everything is great. It’s a shame we saw a game like this and Battlefield: Bad Company do some tremendous things with damageable environments but we’ve seemingly left that concept behind a couple generations ago.

I’m still on the hunt for Dr. Pepper Zero Cherry but I haven’t been able to find even a glimpse of it anywhere near where I live.

I finished up King of Queens this week and I gotta say, it ended well. So well, I almost wanted to start back over from the beginning the next day. The show wasn’t always great and I wasn’t thrilled with how Doug and Carrie’s relationship turned mean towards the end, but it was great for some laughs.

I’ve been exploring some options with faith this week, which is not something I’ve done in a very long time. I feel that I’ve exhausted my comfort from Buddhism and Taoism and I sorta stumbled back into a bit of the Christian faith in a way that I could stomach. I’m not ready to discuss it in detail, since honestly, this is very, very new but there might be something here worth exploring.

Okay, now it’s time for the main event. Let’s talk about this new job of mine.

As I mentioned before I started the job, I had high hopes that this was going to be the beginning of a career. I was hoping that I was taking a step in the right direction for secure employment with a decent salary. From what I was told about the position, it would include health/dental/vision insurance paid for by the State and I would be working alone in an office. Two things that sounded great to me and two things that really didn’t work out all that well from the get go.

Sure, I got free health insurance, but if I wanted to add my wife (which I needed to since she lost her job) my monthly premium would be $1700. That’s over 2/3rds my monthly take home pay. So, that sucked right off the back.

It also didn’t help that I had to beg to get premium information, my boss didn’t have a clue about it, and it took several days to sort out. It was straight up crazy disorganized which is the motif for my experience thus far.

That whole working alone in an office came with some cons too. That cons being that I have three cameras with microphones on me at all times. I also have to stay in contact with the folks who work remotely even to update them on when I go to the bathroom.

I’m micromanaged with a massive spreadsheet that I have to keep track of. There is no breakroom or anywhere to escape to for lunch outside of my car. My computer is so broken/old/slow it’s not even funny. It’s almost inoperable and I know way more then the IT folks and that’s scary too.

I can only take vacations in February/March/April, no other time. The office was moved last year prior to COVID from a massive floor in a skyscraper to this tiny office, so there are literally disgusting, overflowing boxes EVERYWHERE.

My job title changed once I began the job and while it’s a different title now, the reality of it is I’m a secretary. I’m a secretary who is treated like a temp by the remote workers, because they are used to dealing with temps. There is not the slightest bit of respect shown nor patience.

The first week, my supervisor was there to train. She overloaded me with information but by the end of the week I was doing okay. Then this week, she went on vacation and someone else was supposed to show up and train me. She decided she wanted to continue to work from home and just interact with me via MS Teams. She trained me on using their chat feature for about 30 mins and then told me that I was on that alone and I should jump on the phones. I should note, this State Board is not something I know anything about. I have little to no knowledge of the laws and rules and answering questions is not something I’m even remotely close to being capable of doing. I tried to explain this (along with the fact that my supervisor said I wouldn’t have to) but she didn’t care. She was a supervisor so I was put to work.

My work flow went like this: someone would call, I’d answer. They’d ask a question and I’d put them on hold. I’d send a message via Teams to the other supervisor would then tell me the answer. Then I’d relay the message via the phone. Of course, sometimes, the supervisor had her sound turned down, so I’d have to sit and wait minutes for her to get back to me with an answer as I frantically searched the website and tried to come up with something. It was frustrating.

The job is not a good fit. I left my previous job because I didn’t feel like I was treated like a human being by the doctors I worked with. At least I only had to work with them 2-3 days a week. In this job, I’m not treated like a human by anyone, I work way harder, I don’t get three days off, and outside of the money, there is no upside of this job. I made a mistake and made a bad decision.

It’s my fault too. I was desperate to get out of my last job and I didn’t ask enough questions. I let a couple red flags go and it sounded too good to be true and it was. That’s on me and I have no one to blame but myself.

So, I’m back on the hunt for my next opportunity. I may have to stick this out for a bit until Brandy gets back on her feet as well, but that’s okay. We gotta do what we gotta do. I just wish this had worked out for me.

One other factor that I didn’t take into consideration was how much downtime I’d lose. In my previous job, I had time to write, research, pay bills, and the like. In this job, I’m worked non-stop from the moment I walk in till I clock out. I can’t complain, because that is what they are paying me for, but losing those hours of free time has effected me in ways I didn’t imagine. I can’t keep up with everything now and I struggle to find time to write. I’m having to take inventory of my interests and eliminating just what I can and can’t keep up with. It’s strange and a bit of a bummer.

So, I’m hoping this week will go a little better because to be honest, these last two weeks have been absolute hell. I think the other mistake I made was making this career change with so much going on. I shouldn’t have committed to this in the middle of a stressful situation like a spouse job loss. It was a risky move that didn’t pay off and now I’m paying the consequences.