[Ancient Repost] Gay Like Me

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High school, the place, was absolute hell for me. Because of a rumor my brother started when I was in fifth grade, a rumor that kids don’t forget ever, and because kids are the meanest little creatures on the planet, I was the lowest of the low in the pecking order. It was so bad that, when I was in junior high, I moved to Wisconsin to live with my father so that I could get away from it. And oddly, it had nothing to do with me being gay.

No, I’m not going to tell you what it is. I don’t need more of that trauma in my life by letting the world know or by reminding those with whom I went to school.

When I was in Wisconsin, I had my first sexual experience with the boy next door. It was amazing, it felt right and I finally had the word to put with the feelings I’d been having since I was about, oh, six or so. I also found out that most of society thought it was wrong and that, because of what the Bible said about it, I was going to Hell for it. I didn’t care. I started questioning the Bible and my faith, at the tender age of 12. TWELVE YEARS OLD and I was already a very independent thinker.

After junior high, I chose to move back to Wyoming to go to high school. I was in school for all of three days when people resurrected The Rumor. There were several days in September of my freshman year that I was “sick” due more to stress than anything medical. Sure, I was throwing up several times a day, but again, stress-related, not illness. I finally just started to push through and ignore the bullshit as much as I could and keep my head down and not get involved with anyone or anything that would draw attention to myself.

It was a long four years of band, drama, journalism, Academic Decathlon and keeping to myself. I had a few good friends (Carolyn, Sheila, Stephen, Casey, to name a few). I had more people who were more intimidating than hostile (Mike Green, Brandon Elliot, most of the football team — I use their names because I might forgive but I never forget). The one and only time I got anywhere near being in a fight (from which I ran away) was in my freshman year at the end of lunch. Sean Brandt (again, might forgive, never forget) came up to me on my walk back to school and said, “I heard what you said about my ass,” and swung at me. I moved fast enough to only take a little bit of it on my chin, and then ran my ass back to school. I was already late, but damn, I could have won track meets with that speed. While I was in my locker getting my books for the class for which I was already late (Biology with Mrs. Pollet), he walked behind me and shoved me into my locker and kept going. The halls were empty, so nobody saw it, and I didn’t report it. Keep my head down and get through it. He never brought it up again.

By my senior year, I was a fuckin’ wreck. There was The Rumor, and there was the growing fear that someone would find out about the crushes I had on various people in my school, crushes on guys. Because, really? DAMN, I went to high school with some fine guys (and let’s keep in mind, shall we, that at the time I was age-appropriate. I’m not a pedophile; most of those scum are straight). P.E. classes were my own special hell. Thankfully, I had a lot of self-control and very few opportunities. There was rarely a week when thoughts of suicide weren’t part of my world.

Then I had a friend spend the night (let’s call him Dex). Dex and I had sex that night, and quite a few other times throughout my senior year, all under the noses of my friends at school and my parents. I wasn’t keeping secrets from anyone that most people wouldn’t keep secret anyway. How many high school kids tell their parents or friends that they’re having sex? Dex moved away before I graduated, so I was solo again.

I went to college in Powell. I chose Powell, because I had a scholarship for anywhere in Wyoming, and Powell was the farthest away from Wheatland as I could get and still stay in the state. Somehow The Rumor followed me up to Powell, and it could have only done that through a very few people. I’m pretty sure I know who it was, but I can’t prove it and it doesn’t matter anymore anyway. It died pretty quickly because, well, I don’t think anyone gave a shit.

I met my first real boyfriend, Dwayne, while I was in Powell. He was the husband of a good friend of mine, who introduced us, knowing full well that he was bisexual and I was questioning. We were together for about six months during my sophomore year. When we broke up, I told my friends Sandy and Heather about it and what I went through for high school and up until then with my sexuality.

I moved out of Wyoming and to Wisconsin where I came out at the age of 21. Four years later, in 1998, a young man named Matthew Shepard was killed in Laramie, 70 miles from my hometown of Wheatland, because he was gay and some small-minded bigots decided that they didn’t need any fuckin’ homo faggots in their precious little backwoods.

It could have been me for all of those years. I don’t know which deity was smiling on me, nor do I know why, but I am thankful for His or Her intervention.

*****

Wow, re-reading that was kind of rough. I’d like to add that a great deal has changed in my world since then. I’m out, I’m in a good place, I’m in a great relationship, and I’ve been approached by quite a few of the people I knew in high school. The overwhelmingly vast majority of those interactions have been extremely positive, and I’m glad that all of us have grown up and learned that high school wasn’t the end-all-be-all, and that the high school pecking order, while extending somewhat into the real world, doesn’t really matter to the good people. I’ve learned of or talked to several other people from my home town who have come out since high school, and it’s good to see that they’ve gotten comfortable in themselves and

I’m gay. I’m out. I’m proud of the man I’ve become. My family loves me and, just as importantly, loves Leon. I’ve seen a lot of changes come to the gay side of the world, and there are a great many more to go, but I’m confident that the anti-gay contingent will go away. Not necessarily in my lifetime, because that kind of thing takes generations to disappear, but the big changes will come soon, and the haters will die off.

To those who have stood by me forever, thank you. To those who are back in my life, welcome back. To everyone who reads this, I’m glad you’re here.


Fiber Art vs. Other Types of Art

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Dear everyone who is unaware:

Fiber art is just as valid an art form as sculpture or painting or photography. Just because you don’t think so, that doesn’t make it so. It’s not just picking up any old yarn and one or two sticks and going at it. You have to know color theory, you have to know how to pick the right pattern for the job, you have to be able to differentiate between fibers to find the right one, you have to have the skills to do it. Sure, it can be learned in an hour or two, but it does take a good long time to master the different techniques.

I’ve been knitting for almost nine years. It took about an hour to learn and get comfortable with the feel of the yarn and the feel of the needles. Over the last almost-nine years, I’ve learned how to make cables, how to make glorious lace, what makes people “ooOOOoooo…” over a project, how to tell the difference between silk, bamboo, wool, and cotton by look and by feel, what a colorway is and how to pick the right one for a specific pattern, how to tink what I’ve just made without having to frog the entire thing, how to read my knitting, how to do three or four cast-ons and a couple of bind-offs, how to read a chart, how to speak in knitting code. There are still a zillion other techniques that I’d love to learn that still scare the glitter out of me: intarsia, fair isle, entrelac, just to name a few.

Perhaps you didn’t know that this much went into knitting. That’s part of why I’m saying something. Saying that knitting and crocheting are the same thing is like saying that Lichtenstein just made comics, or that a Van Gogh and a Kinkade are equal, or that Jackson Pollack just flung paint at a canvas. Yarn sold at Joann or Michael’s or Walmart are not the same thing as yarn sold at a yarn shop. You can get modeling clay and watercolors at those places, too, but you wouldn’t.

You’re going to sell a painting that took you 20 hours to paint for $1000? Good for you. You’re going to sell a photo you took and developed and printed in about three hours for $250? Congrats. Why do you think my knitted garments shouldn’t sell for what they’re worth? Let’s take a pair of socks, shall we? Just plain socks in a colorway you love, no fanciness to them at all, just plain stockinette stitch. A good yarn for socks will cost anywhere from $12 to $25. Then it takes a knitter anywhere from 12 to 16 hours to knit them. And you want to say that paying me $10 is fair because “you can go to Walmart and get socks for $8”? That doesn’t even cover the cost of the yarn, let alone my labor and my skill. This is the reason why, when people say, “You should sell your knitting!”, I say no. There is a scarf that I make that I pay $40 for the yarn and it takes me about 12 hours to knit. And it’s an easy knit, a boring knit. But there is exactly zero way that I will sell it to someone unknown for less than $90. Because my time and skills are worth that much. Banana Republic has scarves that sell for $110 that are machine knit and identical to every other scarf that they sell. And people eat that shit up.

When you put down my creativity because it’s something that only old ladies do, you’re insulting the hell out of me and millions of other people. Sure, we have older women in our ranks. We also have women of all ages. And men of all ages, for that matter. Doctors, lawyers, administrative assistants, musicians, fashion designers, housewives, football players, ballet dancers, dog enthusiasts, cat enthusiasts, we’re all kinds of people.

Telling us that we’re “less than” because it’s something anyone can do? That’s a bunch of bullshit.

Sincerely,
The Fiber Artists


Adrift. Again.

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Forgive me. It’s been four weeks since my last post.

Not a lot has changed since last I wrote, O Great Internet. I’m maintaining my weight (still ~250 pounds); I’m not losing, but I’m also not gaining. I’ve tried making better food choices, and that seems to be going well. I’ve been snacking on healthier things (oranges and strawberries lately, with some popcorn if I crave salty snacks). Hell, I even had a salad with dinner tonight. I haven’t been to the gym in two months, and I probably won’t go this week, since the Resolutioners are there, and I hate the thought of being seen as one of them.

I’ve been doing a lot of sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. I went through the entire run of White Collar and Hot in Cleveland. We’ve also watched the full first season of Game of Thrones and all of Star Trek: Enterprise. Fun shows, for very different reasons. I need to get the first part of this season of White Collar so I can catch up very soon, and I need to get the second season of Game of Thrones in a format I can watch on my large TV from my very comfortable couch instead of on my good-sized computer monitor from a mostly comfortable computer chair. I’m working my way through Burn Notice right now; I’m not completely sold on it yet. Though, honestly, I do love the glitter out of Ms. Sharon Gless. She makes me happy; I’d listen to the woman read the phone book. (And, dammit, I can get Cagney & Lacey on Netflix DVD but not streaming. WHY DO YOU HATE ME, NETFLIX??)

I haven’t just been sitting there, though; I’ve been knitting like a crazy man. I finished a double-sized (meaning ten repeats instead of the five in the pattern) Citron in a gorgeous pewter and amethyst for The Sister, and I’m just a bind-off away from finishing Anna for the same Sister. The Citron was mindless and made for a great traveling project, but by the final increase section, I was over 900 stitches, and knitting or purling that many stitches makes you want to stab your eyes out with the needles. Anna, on the other hand, takes a little more paying attention, and it’s paying off. It’s gorgeous, it’s in a 70/30 merino/silk blend, and it’s a fantastic deep blue-green colorway called Kenai. I’ll admit that part of the reason I picked that colorway was the name. Kenai was the name of the main character in Brother Bear, so it’s appropriate that it’s going to my sister. (And yes, I know it’s also a city in Alaska; there’s no emotional attachment there. Yet. One never knows, I may end up on a trip there at some point.)

There hasn’t been a lot of movement in the last month on my video game alter-egos. I haven’t been in the mood to play much, sadly, but I’ve got a ton of screenshots from before the end of City of Heroes (though, warning, that link makes COHers very sad), and I’ll turn them into blog posts at some point, I hope. I’m also still doing some hellacious rep grinding on World of Warcraft. It takes FOR.EV.ER. but I’ll get what I want. OH YES I WILL. Guild Wars 2 is fun, as well. My little Asuran Engineer hit level 40 a while back, and my Sylvari Elementalist (named Shadow Glitter) is also a hell of a lot of fun to play.

Not much to report on the job front. I’ve had a few interviews, but nothing’s come of them. I’ve got one on Monday, and I hope that it goes well. It could be a very large turning point for us if I get it. I’ll ask for more job mojo and leave it at that. I also think I need a new interview outfit, but we’ll see what happens with that.

Aside from that, O Great Internet, there’s not much to report. Same goals from last year stand: eat better, exercise more, lose weight, read more, pray more, blog more, be most smartest (though, if you need to click that link, how are we even friends?), be more authentic to myself. I realize that there are a lot of people out there who really couldn’t care less about me because they’ve made up their minds about me without, y’know, really getting to know me or caring if I’ve even changed who they think I am, and that’s their own issue, one that I refuse to make mine. There will be no shoving me into their molds; if someone doesn’t like who I am, well, they can waltz themselves right out of my life.

Here’s to a massive ass-kicking to 2012. You deserve it for sucking so badly. 2013, you’ve got a pretty low bar to get over. Perhaps you should get to it.

Much love. Blessed be.


“…after the night, the morning comes.”

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I’m totally freakin’ made of awesome, dipped in glitter and more awesome, in a bowl made of filthy language and awesome.

That’s how I described myself to someone today. And most times, that’s how I feel about myself. There are times, though, that I really don’t. I can spend two or three days feeling incredibly useless, incredibly worthless, incredibly broken. I know that it’s a temporary thing, and that the sun will shine again, but for those two or three days, my self-worth is somewhere significantly less than zero.

This year, my Seasonal Affective Disorder hasn’t been acting up. The last three or four years (or more; I’ll have to check with Leon), it’s been horrible. Crying at the drop of a hat, not wanting to get out of bed, not wanting to leave the house, that kind of thing. For me, it’s not as severe or long-lasting as depression, but I’ve done quite a bit of reading about it. It made me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who deals with this; I’m not the only one who suffers every year; I’m not the only one who spirals down into near-catatonia at times. Is that weird? To feel better knowing that there are other people in a shitty mindset? It feels a little weird, but, then again, I’m kinda weird. We changed out a few of the light bulbs in our house with full spectrum bulbs and OH MY GODS, does it make a difference.

I’ve got a friend who’s dealing with SAD really hardcore this year, and the people around him aren’t dealing with it well. They just don’t get it. It’s not something very many people can help with; you kind of have to have some sort of depression to understand. It’s a shitty, shitty, insidious, shitty disorder. With “regular” depression, you can get diagnosed and take meds. There are support groups. There is traditional therapy. With SAD, the most effective therapy is light therapy. There are no meds. There are no support groups. People think you’re just down and they try to cheer you up. It sucks.

If you know someone who has SAD, treat them kindly, but don’t expect them to be happy just because you are or you want them to be. If you have SAD, so do I. I’m more than willing to help talk you out of your dark places.

I’m ending this with a video. It’s by a group called Delta Rae. They’re absolutely amazing. The song is called Morning Comes, and it’s the absolute best song about struggle, hardship, depression, and hope that I’ve ever heard.

Be well, brothers and sisters. Be strong. We need you. The morning will come, and you will be stronger for it.


Frustrations

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So, I’m job hunting; we’re all aware of that. I use whatever websites I can to find jobs. There are a zillion postings on Craigslist for which I’m qualified. However, I rarely, if ever, apply for any of them, for the simple reason that whoever posted them wrote a terrible job posting.

If you want qualified people to apply for your job opening, you can’t hamstring your applicants. It’s all well and good to tell them what they’ll be doing if chosen for the job. However, you have to — need to — tell them for whom they’ll be working. In Columbus, Ohio, you’re most likely not the CIA, FBI, NSA, or one of the other acronym agencies. You don’t have to be super secret about it. More details are better when it comes to these postings. People want to know to whom they’re sending their resumes. It helps job seekers to tailor their cover letters.

And hiring managers? Really, wouldn’t you rather take the time going through qualified people than taking the time to go through three times as many people who aren’t, simply because the job posting is written poorly?


Workin’ it

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Three times in the last week, I’ve made it to the gym. GO ME. I’m pretty damn happy about this. I’m doing a strength-foundation workout that I found on RealJock (link is so very not safe for work; you’ve been warned). It’s kicking my ass. Tonight, I added an extra set on most of the exercises I’ve been doing and holy shit, do I hurt. I’m gonna sleep VERY well. I’ve also been keeping up (and, well, surpassing, because I’m an over-achiever sometimes) the Morning Mile Challenge from NerdFitness, and it feels awesome. I’m not always doing it in the morning, but I’m getting at least one mile in a day. Kinda proud of myself.

Still working on getting my food choices smarter, and that’s still not easy. I’m kind of a picky eater, and some foods are more challenging for me than others, but I’m doing what I can. I have asparagus that I’m going to make this weekend, I hope, and we have some orange cauliflower that we’ll be mashing up, too. Kinda looking forward to them. There are ways to make this easier and better, and I will do my damnedest to find them and make this happen, because I need to make it happen.

I finished a pair of cabled fingerless mitts this week, and I have a pair of kicky red cabled gloves on my needles to finish next. It’s kind of nice that I don’t have gigantic paws; most glove patterns are made for women’s medium or large hands, so I’m pretty safe with most of them. I hate sizing patterns, mostly because I suck at it.

Still nothing on the job front, but my unemployment kicked in this week. That will help until I get something. Help, because it’s not a lot. It’s not supposed to be a living, and I can’t wait until I can tell them to stop it. In the meantime, I’ve been working on a church program for Mom (link to Mom’s blog, which needs to be updated, hint hint hint), and I’m pretty proud of the way it turned out. I used my Mad Office Skillz, and it’s pretty awesome. I also have a hefty data entry project on which I’m working, and I’m designing some office documents for a friend’s new business. Those are heavily on the agenda for next week, I think.

Still reading Evolutionary Witchcraft with JaguarMoon. I’m not as enamored of it as I want to be. It’s nice to see another path, but I don’t know that that path is for me. I’m a little skeptical of it, but I think that has more to do with it being out of a book. I deal better with the experiential side of it, and the Feri rituals I’ve seen or of which I’ve been a part have been amazing. I’m pretty sure that that’s what the difference is for me.

I’m also still working my way through the Wheel of Time series. I’m on book five, The Fires of Heaven, right now. The final book, book fourteen, A Memory of Light, comes out in January, and I hope to be caught up by sometime in February or March so that I can get the final book on my Kindle and finish the series. I know that there are a lot of people who pooh-pooh this series because it’s so freakin’ wordy and loooooooooong, but I bough the first one, The Eye of the World, when I was working at Jack & Jill in high school, and it’s been with me ever since. It’s one of those things that I give my sister Sarah shit about, because there is crayon ALL THROUGH my copy of EotW, thanks to her little four-year-old self. No, she’ll never live it down. She knows why she doesn’t get to borrow my books. I don’t care that she’s almost 28. No.

People keep asking how I am. My standard answer is, “I’ve been better. I’ve also been worse, and I’m getting better.” The anger is mostly gone, though it spikes every once in a while, but that’s to be expected, I think. At some point, it will be gone, with little flares of bitterness and cranky-face. I’ll move on to better things, I’m sure, and life will move itself inexorably forward. It will take me along, as it always does. I will bounce back. And until I’m bouncing again, there are video games, there are rockin’ hot workouts, and there are good times with good friends.

And I will take this life, and I will make it my bitch.

So mote it be.


Morning Mile Challenge

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I’m doing the Morning Mile Challenge with a couple of hundred people over on NerdFitness. This was Day One for me, so I have two more miles to make up this month. At 8:00 AM, the air is beautiful. It’s quiet, it feels like I’m the only person in the world. Just me and my music (which was all Delta Rae — so awesome).

After my walk his morning, I posted this to my feed on Fitocracy:

Y’know, I’ve been doing this all wrong. I’ve been looking at it like it’s all a giant multiplayer game. For me, it’s just a single-person game. I’m on this never-ending quest to (save my boyfriend! *bling*) lose this weight, but I’m not competing against anyone but myself. I don’t care that there are people a zillion levels ahead of me; I’m doing this for *me*, not for them.

And I love that both sites act like this is a game, like I’m gaining XP and levels, at the same time that I’m losing weight and getting back into shape. Whatever it takes to get me doing it, right? And as much as I love me some MMORPGs, I love me some Legend of Zelda even more. That’s more my play style: me against the world, on my terms, on my own timetable. I’ll lose the weight, I’ll make this my bitch.

No, no, that wasn’t a question.


Happy Place

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I’m listening to the playlist I made for the Art of Ritual Class November Daily Meditations. I just hit Brothers Beautiful by Jeffrey Altergott. I miss all you beautiful bitches. You know who you are.

Oh, and now I’m going to cry. Again. You Raise Me Up by Celtic Woman. Oh, and then Fuckin’ Perfect by P!nk.

So much love. I miss my brothers, badly. For one glorious week a year, I feel as if I’m part of something amazing, even just tangentially or just on the outskirts. I know what some of my friends will say, that I’m not tangential or on the outside looking in. It feels that way a great deal, though. I know that it’s important for this event to happen, and I know that I’m a big part of making it happen. It still doesn’t stop me from feeling that way during the event. It’s why I retreat to my tent so often. I can’t talk about it while I’m there, though. Seems like nobody wants to hear me be all Debbie Downer. So I keep it to myself. I’m not okay with it, but I don’t want to bring anyone else down while I’m there. And I know it’s my deal, and I need to figure out how to fix it.

I figure if I keep playing songs like this, they’ll work as affirmations, and eventually, I won’t feel so broken. Eventually. Not today, though. Still broken.

This is my family.
I found it, all on my own.
Is little, and broken, but still good.
Yeah, still good.

Preach it, Brother Stitch.


Over-reaching

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Perhaps once a week was too much? Who knows. I just know that I’m not blogging, and it’s not like I’ve been doing anything else with my time. Job hunting sucks in a good economy; in this one, it’s horrible. I don’t want to go back to temping, but we can’t survive on just Leon’s paycheck. We’ll see what happens.

Applied for a job that … if I get it? I’m gonna be BUSY. And they’re willing to pay the good money for the good skills. It still blows my mind how… inhuman… people are when it comes to salaries. Seriously, $25K a year is feeble for my skills and experience. I’m easily worth $35K, but I’ll work for less, simply because it’s what needs to be done. I defy anyone with a BA to do the job I do with an AAS and be better at it, just because of their degree focus. You tell me: would you rather have some 25-year-old with a BA in Art History as an administrative assistant, or would you rather have a 30-something with a degree in Business Office Applications and 15 years of experience as an admin? Who do you  honestly think is going to be more qualified? Is the difference in the letters after your name that big of a deal? Yes, for some people who can’t see past those letters, it is. For the right employer, no, those letters don’t matter.

You know the worst part about that? Even if I tried to go to retail and work for $8-9 an hour, they wouldn’t hire me, because they would assume that the minute I found a job that fit my skill sets that I’d leave. I can’t say they’d be wrong, but I’m a damn good worker, and I get my work done.

Fuck, I hate office politics. I don’t think it’s so much to ask for that everyone in an office act like a grown-up and not some paranoid cheerleader.

We’ll see what comes down the pike. It needs to be good, and it needs to be soon. As it is, Yule is looking a little bleak. So that’ll be fun.


Derailed…a little

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Editor’s Note: Anyone on my Facebook knows what happened on Friday, so I’m not going to rehash it here. I am still searchable on here, and there will be no discussion of it here. If you have questions, well, send me a message over there.

I’m a week late in my update, but hopefully I’ll be able to add a second update this week. We’ll see what happens.

1) I haven’t started walking yet. Meant to this morning, but it was rainy, and I’m kind of whiny, so I didn’t go out. The sun is out now, so as soon as I’m done with this post, I’m taking the dog out and then I’ll head out to the streets for a while. On the weight front, two weeks ago, I was at 253.6, last week I was at 252.8 (a loss of .8 pounds, woo!), and this week I’m at 253.8 (a one pound gain, boo!), which means that in the five weeks since BTW, I’m showing a net gain of 2.6 pounds. I want to revise my goal of “lose 25 pounds”  to “be at or below 225 pounds by next BTW.” I’ll edit the original post to reflect that. That puts me at 28.8 pounds until my first weight goal. I can totally do that in a year.

2) My coven and I are reading Evolutionary Witchcraft together. We’re doing it in a book group kind of format, and we’re taking it slow. Prologue and first chapter are due by the 22nd. I also need to talk to a covenmate about helping with the rituals. She said she’d help, and with Samhain just around the corner, we need to get on it.

3) So not sure where to start with the podcast. Need to talk to Scott and see what I can get away with. I know that there are places that host on the cheap. Will need a new domain. Will need the right software. Will need a format, themes, music, and quite possibly a co-host or two. I have Ideas. Now just need Follow-through. Yeeeeesssssss…. The power of the airways!

4) Blogging: I’m doing it! Woo, go me! Or, y’know, something…

I finished a shawl. It’s beautiful and orange and geometric. I could have made it bigger, I think, but I didn’t and now it’s too late. Sad cowboy. I’m working on two sweaters and a blanket that have been hibernating for a while. They’re not portable, but I’m not going anywhere, and I have Netflix.

So, yeah, things got a little sidetracked. It will get better. I will make it better. And to those who doubt? Yeah, I don’t need you in my life.