emasculation by pollution control

Posted in general, Society with tags , , on July 19, 2009 by wkct

I have been emasculated by the Federal Beast. Specifically, I’ve been emasculated by the Federal Beast’s demands for fuel efficiency.

I did a little research last night on my engine and decided I’d have a poke around. Check the oil, look for leaks, look like I know what I’m doing, typical guy stuff. I opened the hood, looked around and decided that I would figure out how to change my spark plugs.

I found the electronic ignition, three sparks at three weird angles and, ugh, well…

I know there are three other sparks facing the firewall, but actually seeing them is beyond the reach of even the most hardy man. They are hidden behind the alternator, the coolant overflow reservoir, and some other bullshit I’ve never seen before.

What the fuck???

I remember, maybe thirty years ago, standing in the engine bay of a 1969 Nova removing a water pump. No face on the engine, no fucking problem. Now, that’s the way cars should be, free of pollution control, computers, and weird ass sensors.

Computers should be nowhere near cars, except when you bully some Beardo the Weirdo by taking his Mac and running it over with a fatty tire.

Remember when you didn’t need a torque wrench, specialty tools, a computer and a high speed internet connection to change a radiator hose? You certainly didn’t need to remove three fourths of the engine to get to fuel filter. You could change out you’re crappy AM radio without frying the electrical system and you could install fog lights (which look cool though they are totally useless) without setting the car on fire and having the engine computer reboot to 1925.

See, you could take care of your own car, you could make many of your own repairs. You were in spiritual touch with the cowboys of long ago, who could comb and shoe their horse, or change their water pumps on the Chisholm trail.

Looking into the Gordian knot of hoses, wires and tubing, I realized that there was nothing I could do except fill the wiper fluid reserve. Later, I found that my penis had fallen off. I found it on the electric fan shroud. Totally emasculated by modern car technology.

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full tilt hard on smokin’

Posted in addictions, quitting smoking failure, smoking with tags , , , on July 19, 2009 by wkct
OK, I haven’t blogged (not that anyone has noticed) for quite a while because I had nothing to report but failure.  I failed again.

I was just so tired of being in discomfort, of fighting the urge, of thinking about smoking for maybe a half an hour at a time that I gave in one Sunday so I could finally relax.

Now I have the opposite effect; I’m tight because I haven’t quit, and when I look inside, I find no desire to quit.  I’m even back to waking up and smoking in the middle of the night.

So this is how it happened…

I was filling up on gas at a gas station that has a mart. I was holding the pump while looking at the mart. I knew cigarettes were in the mart, peacefully sleeping until some lucky bastard bought them and brought them home to play.

I couldn’t get the idea of smoking out of my mind. It was like eight tracks of schizo smoke of consciousness. I was thinking, one, just one to get over this hump. Just one more trip to the top and I’ll be all right.

The pump clicked off, the kiosk beeped and whirled at me, I finished paying and then marched right to the mart, overpaid for a pack of stale Kools, and then ran (OK, wheezed) to my car. Coffee was so disappointed. I was so ashamed, but now I didn’t have to think anymore about quitting. For now anyway.

attacking the debt monster

Posted in money, Society with tags , , on May 15, 2009 by wkct

I was reading some message boards about persistence and debt repayment.  This is what I did over the last thirteen months:

First, I took a day off from work and called every credit card company.  I confirmed the amount of the debt and got online access to my account.

I put the online access information into my password book and made a spreadsheet to track all my cards and loans.

Next, I started cutting costs.  I didn’t buy things, I cut back.  I started shopping more wisely at the supermarket.  I went from going to the movies, to Blockbuster to Redbox and DVDxpress to waiting for movies to come out on cable.  I saved a dollar here, a dollar there. I questioned every expense.  It has to have some great value, or make some kind of sense. I drove my electric bill down.

I targeted certain credit cards to pay in full.  I picked the two smallest balances first.  It felt great.  I reduced the number of bills coming in so I would lower the chances of accidentally defaulting. Then I started targeting cards based on the interest rate.

I then made a spreadsheet to replace my check register.  I kept nearly daily tabs on my account.  I stopped overdrafting and immediately started saving hundreds a month.

I pushed for overtime and then worked it.  Some money went for car repair, some for food, some for debt. We didn’t have enough money to pay all of our bills each month, so I cut back further.  I was lucky enough to get about ten thousand dollars in back wages.  I never saw it.  I paid out two credit cards.

I read about how to save money, and the best way to pay down debt.  I was doing it all. I got my tax refund and sent it immediately to my debt. I took back cans for money, pick change off the ground, saved coins, and paid for everything in cash.  I shrunk my debt in thirteen months from maybe 52 thousand to 37 thousand.

I quit smoking – repeatedly. Even those failures gave me some breathing room and put about fifteen hundred dollars into my pocket. I have more plans.  I use all sorts of methods; the snowball, the snowflake, and targeting balances based on balance size, interest size, or how likely the credit card company is to screw me in the future.  I suspect that I’ll pay down about six thousand more dollars in the next ten months.  It’s take that long because this is the first time in ten years I’ll have money for summer activities and for Christmas.  I searched the web about credit cards and FICO scores.  I decided to repair my credit. My credit took quite a hit from carrying all that debt.

After my next tax refund, I’ll come up with a new plan.  As soon as the smoke clears, I’ll decide what to pay next and in what order.

I must say, it was quite a struggle but I’m glad for it.  I realized how little possessions mean, how important health and time are, and how important… really important… having money is.

The biggest change was overcoming my problems with money and debt.  I shook away all the fears and shame my parents installed in my, looked honestly at the debt, and grabbed it by the horns. I didn’t let the fact that I fucked up for so many years depress me and make me look the other day, letting the debt and bad spending habits mount. I was sinking in red.  I bellied up to it and handled it.

becoming unhinged

Posted in addictions, quitting smoking with tags , , , , on May 10, 2009 by wkct
Now I know why all mental patients smoke like fiends.  Smoking keeps back the darkness.
 
Even with the Nicorette gum, I’m jittery, anxious, tired and nervous.  I can’t really relax.  Really relaxing involves lighting up, sucking in that cool Carolina flavor and feeling my chest expand with smoke.  Now, that’s relaxing.
 
Drinking water, staying busy, and chewing nicotine-laced gum in almost the opposite of relaxing. It’s like climbing oil coated stairs. When I take a deep breath, there’s only air, and I feel like – oddly enough – I can’t breath.
 
For over a quarter of a century my little tubular friends helped me hold back the darkness. Hell, they did all the work, all I had to do was inhale. How does anyone get through the day without twenty or thirty cigarettes???
 
I feel like I’m dying, though the exact opposite is happening; my lungs are starting to clear a bit and I have a little bit – and I mean just an iota – more of stamina.
 
I’m depressed and I’m starting to see things out of the corner of my eyes.  Could cigarettes have been keeping me from developing psychosis?  Is is just I haven’t pulled my hair back for two days and I’m see strands of hair?  I guess we’ll know in a few weeks when I’m either starting my new health(ier) life or I’m strapped down to a gurney in a psych ward, listening to other patients scream about bugs.
 
Nothing’s making me feel better. I’ve done a bunch of chores but nothing gives me a sense of accomplishment because there’s no smoke reward. Even internet pornography isn’t helping, though I bravely gave it a try.  I don’t know if actual physical contact with a living woman would even help at this point.
 
This is A DAY AND A HALF of quitting! What about a week and a half, a month and a half??
 
Since I went off the Chantix I’ve quit for a day or two here and there, but this is the worse.  Maybe I’m motivated to quit so I know that there’s no cheating in the future. I think this is my last chance.  Shit, just writing that made my heart race. I hate this, though I’m glad to be free of giving my money away to the pump jockey at the gas station, and not having to stand on my porch like a dumbass,  looking at the muddy, spotty grass.
 
This is terrible.
 
 

and then there was nothing….

Posted in addictions, bullies, quitting smoking failure, smoking, Society with tags , , , , on May 5, 2009 by wkct

I haven’t posted for a while because nothing was really happening. I gave up quitting for a bit.

I also was enmeshed in some work problems. I won’t blog about my company, but I will say that there was a lot of maneuvering about the bully that runs our department. The end result of all the psychodrama is that I decided not to pick a fight.  I have too long to go for retirement.

I found this interesting article that stated what I already knew: my terribly quick wit is a response to my natural tendency to being depressed.

why are some common things so hard to do

Posted in addictions, money, quitting smoking failure, smoking, Society with tags , , , , on April 29, 2009 by wkct

Firstly, let’s get my addiction problems out of the way.  As we know, I can’t be trusted with money because I will immediately use any eight dollars I find to buy cigarettes. I thought I’d be quitting on Monday because I ran out of cigarettes and money at the same time. I won’t ask Coffee for cigarette money.  I felt ready to quit.

But I found ten dollars and in my pocket that I immediately converted to cigarettes.  On the upside,  I just ran out of money again (yes, I’m calling that an upside) and will be forced to not smoke tomorrow.

Remember critics (as if anyone reads this blog), the simple ideas like that I could stick to a pack a day, chew nicotine gum instead of smoke, or even consent to the situation of not smoking because I’m out of scratch instead of robbing a convenience store for all its menthols is a major improvement over the last quarter century. Am I proud?, No, like Bart Simpson, I feel less shame.

Onward to this common thing business. I’m reading postings on MSN about credit issues and I thinking, credit is universal to all adults, and yet no one knows how their credit scores are actually tabulated.  There’s no conventional wisdom involved; strangely, many smart moves involving credit repair are counter-intuitive.  Why should this be so hard?  Here’s some other  things that shouldn’t be so hard…

Divorce – a common situation that bankrupts all sorts of couples and takes years to conclude.

Marriage – getting all the crap together, holding the ceremony and the party, all that business is way too intense.

Taxes – few people understand their filings, or even why their tax payments are what they are

Credit – why so mysterious?

Buying a Car – why can’t I just walk into a store, pick out a car, pay for it and drive it away?

my complaint about teenage girls

Posted in general, Society with tags , , , , on April 26, 2009 by wkct

Where should I go to file my complaint about teenage girls and the terrible thing I witnessed today?

I was driving through town with Coffee when I spotted groups of teen girls, soaking wet and in bikinis.  They were agitating on a few corners, waving signs.  One girl, with hips like a Neolithic fetish goddess, hid her form behind her sign, making it look as though she were naked. The rest just bounced around, waved their arms, dripped water in the hot sun, and pulled at their clinging shorts.

If I wasn’t with someone , I would have slammed on the brakes and ran screaming into the hills.

These hyperactive angels were promoting a car washing event to benefit their la cross team, or some such shit. The thing though is, the actual car washing was done by teenage boys!  This was a clear case of false advertising, which caused me terrible, terrible disappointment.

These girls were taught by their school that sex sells, and to display sex to sell something that totally is void of teenage sexiness, like a bunch of half-nake dudes cleaning my car.  I was outraged/totally turned on.  I cut through a parking lot to avoid a corner full of these beautiful creatures, to keep passing out from the excitement.

It was totally unfair!  I soooooooo wanted these girls to clean my car, while I watched from the bushes. 

So, today these girls learned how to sell things with their bodies, and I learned that I am a creepy pervert.  Lessons learned all around.