Today’s choice requires a little context. On the face of it, I simply decided to stop watching a TV series that I’ve been working my way through. Not a big deal, right? Hardly worth a blog post.
Except the context is unique. I’ve mentioned before that I frequently approach a new year’s TV season like a fantasy football league, looking at returning veterans and scouting out new talent. I try to watch almost every new show, just to give it a try. Cable is easy for that, but streaming entities have huge catalogs, so sometimes I hear about a new show only to find out it is already streaming, and may even be in Season 2 or 3. It’s not new, it’s a veteran, I just never came across it before. Or it’s new, but it’s streaming, as I said.
I watch an EP, consider it for adding to the rotation, and if it has something to grab me, I start watching. Almost always to the bitter end. If I’ve deemed it watchable enough to go into rotation, it is REALLY rare for me to take it out of rotation. Some of that is just my connection to serialized storytelling. I want to see how the story unfolds. I might start skipping ahead in a show if it lags, watching a 44m show in 30m if it isn’t decent, but I usually want to see the major plot points. Seeing the choices the writer made to move the story forward. Some shows I watch and I know it isn’t very good. Magnum P.I. is not awesome, but I like the characters, the basic premise of the show, and I can put up with some schlock. Blue Bloods is another show that I know isn’t that good, and has some REALLY bad acting in places, yet I’m still watching. Others I will catch up on binge sets.
So simply deciding to “quit” a show is unusual for me. I’m a completist, I’ve already invested, and I just want to know how it plays out. Usually.
Then there’s the current show, You. Last year, I tagged it as a new show, something about a stalker, I assumed it was some sort of crime show. Nope. It’s almost a romantic comedy, without the comedy. And once I saw the premise, I thought, “Nope, this is stupid. It’s normalizing a stalker? Yeah, no.” But I watched all of the first episode. And it is quite dark, with the lead male portrayed as your lovable nerd who just happens to kill people who gets in his way. Parts of it is mesmerizing. It doesn’t hurt that the female lead is frequently shown in Piper Perabo-style soft light from Coyote Ugly-era. When she turns from self-obsessed to charming, she’s luminescent. And I stuck with it. There are sub-stories where he’s protecting a kid, others where he’s helping her confront some of her issues, he is almost a perfect boyfriend at times. As far as she can tell. It almost feels like a Sex in the City episode from a male perspective, except for the whole psycho reality.
Yet I feel like I’m watching a train wreck. There’s a season 2, and I have no idea if it’s the same couple, or what’s going on. I’ve made it through 8/10 episodes and as great as some of the parts are, it is STILL normalizing a psycho stalker. Half gaslighting, half Silence of the Lambs, totally creepy. And I just can’t stomach it for the other parts. It almost feels like fetish porn, some sort of stalker fantasy. Regardless of “what” it is, I find myself loving the writing, figuring out what they’re going to do with the premise, and yet hating the premise at all. I wonder if I could read it as a book and be done. I don’t know.
Today I chose to stop watching You. That’s not a normative thing, I’m sure there are people who are not emotionally f***ed up who could enjoy it just fine. I’m just not one of them anymore. There are too many other things to watch. Huh.
I haven’t been doing my daily blogging, taking a break through to the new year probably, but today I have an entry. About a month ago, I had a tooth that was sensitive. Actually, two were hurting, one right above each other. It was hard to know which was sore and which was only radiating / referring. I thought at first, hoped at first, it was just a standard sensitivity problem and a day or two later it would be fine. Extra brushing, extra flossing, it would be all good.
Nope, it got painful over about 4 more days until it was almost impossible to eat some nights. I’m a giant baby when it comes to dental stuff, anyway, but this was extreme even for me. I felt like on the pain scale I went from simple 1-2, through 3-4, 5-6, and by the end, a few 7s and 8s. And the throbbing was incredible at times. I discovered the alternate-stimulus method i.e. interrupt the signal with a different sensation, so I took to rubbing my check or beard to send a different sensation through the same nerves so that the pain didn’t reach my brain. It was good for 5-10-minute reprieves, but wasn’t sustainable.
It started on a Thursday, ratcheted up by Monday, and I phoned my dentist first thing Tuesday morning (they’re closed Mondays). He couldn’t seem me for at least a week. Ruh roh. But he gave me an antibiotic to hold me over, and it took the pain away almost completely. I had my appointment, and I needed a root canal. No cavities, nothing else going on, just a routine root canal. My first, but still, routine.
Because of my own stress and past experiences, I need stuff like that to be done under sedation, and so his assistant set me up for the “first available surgery” day which was the 17th of December. Almost a month away. Sigh. There was some question of her competency, and maybe she was new, but she had very little ability to work the scheduler, the payment system, any of it. It was a crapfest. But she very clearly booked me for 10:00-12:00 for the 17th, i.e. today. I would have to arrive an hour early (9:00) to take my relaxant before the appointment. But I was booked. If anything came up in the meantime, I should call.
Nothing came up. My tooth was a bit sensitive here and there over the last month, but never above a 2/10 for pain and rarely even above a 1. But the scheduling was a bit more complicated with COVID.
Because I do sedation, I can’t drive myself to the appointment or take myself home afterwards. I need someone else to do that for me. Andrea can’t drive, so I was taking a taxi there, easy enough, and a neighbour drove Andrea over so they could pick me up and bring me home. Problem solved, and grateful for the help even if I have to impose on a neighbour.
Today started slow. I really wasn’t in a great mindset to go, worrying too much about the surgery, the unknown recovery, the potential complications, the taxi, the pickup, all of it. If the vaccines for COVID would change the world by February, I might have tried pushing through until then.
I took a taxi, and distracted myself with my frequent topic-of-conversation with taxi drivers about how business is going (generally terrible). Upon arrival, the new people working the desk (hint, hint about the previous person), came to let me in and said, “Oh, you’re really early”.
I thought they meant that I was an hour early but I reminded them they wanted me to come early to take the pill onsite. Yes, she knew that, but I wasn’t scheduled until 11:30 a.m. WTF? There was no mistake in my earlier booking. It was 10:00 a.m., AND she gave me a piece of paper with the info that matched what I put in my e-calendar. Plus it was the same schedule as last time. Arrive at 9, surgery at 10, cleaning around 11:00, done at noon.
The taxi had already left, so they let me stay and suggested I could just stream something on my phone. Uh-huh. Whatever. Waiting wasn’t the issue, I needed to see if Andrea could now come at 1:30/2:00 instead of noon. Yep, they adjusted, it was all good. Worst case scenario, Andrea would just come in a taxi and get me. Okay, set.
So I was supposed to start now at 11:30. Which would mean not taking the relaxer until 10:30/10:45.
At 9:45, the woman comes over with the glass of water and pill, and I’m like, “Wait, aren’t we a bit early?” Nope, they’ve *changed the time* around and haven’t told me. The 9:30 person didn’t show up. Why? Because they thought they were booked for the 22nd. When the clinic isn’t even open. Which I got to hear her tell the person about 25 times during the phone call.
It was patently clear that the idiot I dealt with the first time screwed a LOT of stuff up. And apparently moved people’s appointments around in the system to make room for other things without ever telling the patients. Yet while I was sitting there this morning, the scheduling assistant was calling around to move other things, and they got me back to my original schedule. Great, right? Except I had already MOVED MY RIDE!
So I had to call Andrea and get her to confirm she was okay with the new time. She was, they were, it worked. Okay, time to focus. Relax. Meditate.
I go in the room, the chair that they use is in the same bit of disrepair as it was in a month ago. The left arm works fine, the right arm keeps collapsing. Guess which one my arm has to rest on to do the IV? Yep, the right. Anyway, the anesthesiologist tries to fix it, no luck; the dental surgery assistant tries, no luck. Then, while they’re PUTTING AN IV in my hand, the doctor is using wrenches and tools on the chair I’m sitting in to fix the arm. Meanwhile, I have to hold my hand out level for about 10-15 minutes (no exaggeration) while the woman tries to find a solid vein in the back of my hand. I hadn’t drank enough water, so find the vein was a challenge, but I also had no place to put my arm, and the doctor kept raising the arm on the chair to the point of bumping my arm. Each time, the anesthesiologist was like, “Hold it still, please”. The Marx Brothers would have a whole skit written before they left the room.
Meanwhile, the anesthesiologist is asking for my list of current meds, which I had already given to the woman at the desk earlier, so had to remind myself of their titles. 3 are easy, 1 I tend to forget. Got it out, marked, okay. Then the dental assistant says, “Wait, this is for a ROOT CANAL? I don’t have the right tools for THAT!”. No one told her I wasn’t the 9:30 patient, but the 11:30 patient. The fact that I was clearly not Diane didn’t trigger a thought process.
All in all, I wasn’t getting the warmest fuzzies for professionalism and organization. Oh well, I’m in the chair!
Eventually, the chair was fixed, my arm could rest, we got going, and I was OUT. I don’t remember anything after he got the arm rest fixed until I woke up mostly post surgery during a cleaning. There were x-rays happening in there too, I think, and the cleaning was much more aggressive than I expected. I think they turned the drip off early. The whole point of doing the cleaning was that I would still be out. But it was a much-needed cleaning…they might have sent out for extra tools from Home Depot, for all I know.
Andrea picked me up at noon-ish, I don’t remember much until she got there, and I vaguely remember paying but those details are slipping. The head nurse escorted Mr. Rubber Legs out to the car, I saw our neighbour, we got a ride home in her Tesla, but I wasn’t really tracking the conversation so I might have dozed off en route. At home, I went up to bed and crashed for four hours. Much of the details of the day are fading.
Andrea woke me up and brought me some food and drink. Apple sauce, I think, but those details are fading too. But I was awake now and went downstairs and had some toast. After 24h of fasting, basically, I was a bit hungry. For supper, I was able to easily eat chicken stew, milk, and I even managed ice cream. I haven’t had anything crunchy yet, will wait on that until tomorrow, but no sensitivities for warm/cold yet. I’ll hold off on “hot” too.
My mouth is probably at about a 2-3/10 on the pain scale at the moment. I was surprised, they gave me no follow up meds. I assumed anti-biotics and pain would be standard, but I guess not.
Overall, the logistics were a sh** show, but the work seems fine. It’s sorer now than it was a day ago, because of the trauma of the day, but I’m not “in pain” generally. I remember more of the day this time than last sedation — that time I remember being at the dentist and taking my pill, getting in the chair, paying, getting OUT of a cab at home, and waking up. About 15-20 minutes worth of memory in an eight-hour period. This time, I remember most things up until the chair was fixed until the cleaning was almost done. There was some serious gagging in there that had me freaking out with latex flashbacks to another dental appointment, but it’s done.
Today I chose to have a root canal. And despite being worried, despite lots of stressful quirks during the day, the surgery part seems to have gone fine, and now I can just milk my injury for some TLC at home. I’m hoping for a morning omelette. 🙂
I have this meme that I saw a number of years ago. I forget the exact wording, but it is something like “I try to be a warm, caring, relaxed human being, comfortable in my surroundings and at peace with the world. Except for spiders, DEATH TO SPIDERS!”. What I really like about it, other than the spider deaths, is the idea that no matter how “at one” you are with the universe, some things are likely to piss you off. For me, it was a number of things today that didn’t exactly piss me off, but they affected me enough to respond aggressively when normally I wouldn’t.
This will take a bit of vague wording to protect certain identities, but someone had pushed to be part of something that’s going on at work. We didn’t have an option for it, I found an alternative for her with someone else who was kind of doing us a favour and helping her at the same time, all good. A “success”, or so I thought. It didn’t turn out the way she expected or thought at least it should. So, early today, she went back criticizing the group that helped her, they didn’t do this or that, it should have obviously been this way or that, yada yada yada. And on a good day, I like to think that I will try to see the other person’s situation, accept that I don’t know all that is going on, blah blah blah. Which I can do okay, right up until that person decides that their problem is now someone else’s problem and it’s an excuse to be a jackass.
That I’m not okay with. That’s the mark of a bully. And I am perfectly okay treating bullies like the f***ing wastes of skin that they are, and I sometimes have no off switch for that…I will go 0 to nuclear and may not stop until the person is radioactive dust. 99% of the time I can keep my temper in check, but the 1% where I might lose it? It is almost always dealing with someone who is wielding power badly because they feel like it. So, today I started to write a strong reply, could deal with it that way, and instead I decided to go evil. I don’t do it often, I find it offensive and manipulative, but I chose to send them a sh** sandwich.
If you don’t know what a sh** sandwich is, it basically is an extremely passive aggressive email or letter that gives the other person NO room to go anywhere in their response because you are being TOTALLY FRIENDLY in your tone while feeding them the sh** sandwich that they pretty much have no option but to swallow and say thank you. I had lots of smiley faces and well wishes for a great afternoon, and offers to help them out in any of the three options I could offer, all of which would require them to swallow some sh** to accept. They know what you’re really saying, but if they try to call you on it, they just end up looking like a turd. It is the complete opposite of transparency or even civil discourse. As expected, they chose the option that they absolutely didn’t want to agree to but was the one that would make them look the least ridiculous.
I haven’t used that technique in almost 12 years because I find it offensive. I don’t mean offensive in the sense of its use is offending to people, I mean that relying on it is an offense to integrity. It violates almost every principle I have in dealing with people except one — dealing with people who are bullies. Now, I know this person has issues. Or to quote a recent meme, they may even have the whole subscription. Doesn’t matter. Someone did them a favour, they didn’t quite understand how it worked, got ticked off with the result, and basically dumped it back to the person like a steaming pile of turd. I played patty cake with a disposable shovel, made it look pretty, and served it back to them. Problem solved. Moved on.
Later today, a close friend posted something that I find a really stupid meme for someone of any knowledge of business and economics about how evil Amazon supposedly is. Most of the people who comment on Amazon are full of sh**, and I don’t care. Certain people love the “buy local” mantra, and think it explains capitalism in some way, virtue checks in another, and because I know why they think that, it doesn’t bother me. Educating them won’t help. It’s the same with Walmart. Or Costco. Or any of the disrupting chains. Anyway, I decided to engage, and when they doubled down even further, I gave a rant with a lot more context than I would normally. I normally smile and ignore it, but I tend to speak my truths with friends, and stupid attempts to badly explain economics or business rankle me.
And finally, I got really annoyed tonight at three companies just doing business badly, and it has nothing really to do with COVID.
First and foremost is a company that makes one of the plugins I use. They’ve had a problem that has plagued members / users for months, and despite the fact that we pay for support, paid members haven’t got any more support than free users. Which is nada. They have not figured out what the problem is. Nor how to fix it. Which was fine. Except 3 months ago, I FIGURED IT OUT, or at least figured out where the bug is. Kind of like a diagnostic for a car…it might be 20 different problems, but if you can narrow it down to the carburetor, you know there are limited ways to fix the limited ways it can be causing the problem. So I messaged them when it stopped working after an update this week. Nicely, but more or less, “WTF?”. I am way far away from ever using a sh** sandwich with them, but I opened the ticket, lowered previous ratings for their performance feedback, and got their attention quickly. Only to find out they have no solution. They haven’t for over six months. Even 3m after I found the bug. At first, I thought it was a different problem. So I repeated the steps I had done before, and voila, it solved it again. It’s a simple ordering problem. If you run plugin 1 and plugin 2, everything works. If you update plugin 2, it stops. If you disable plugin 1, rerun #2, reactivate plugin 1, it all works again. I told them that 3m ago, I’m 95% positive it is a simple file permission problem, but they don’t know how to fix it. Why am I paying for tech support when I have to resolve conflicts that are hurting hundreds if not thousands of users? (The big plugin has over 800K+ users!). I felt like a crankypants complaining, but come on, if *I* can solve it with my limited skills and knowledge, surely they could have done it months ago? And don’t call them Shirley!
Secondly, I was cleaning up an email folder I call “Financial – Pending” and generally it is stuff that I have ordered. When it arrives, I will sometimes but not always move the email confirmation to another folder for Financial – Done. A digital archive folder. But until I confirm I have them, I don’t move them. I don’t always do it right away though, so every few weeks, I go through and tidy up. This time through, I realized it has been a whole month since I followed up on a t-shirt order.
I’m a bit of a sucker for astronomy-related t-shirts, they just help me stay in touch with my hobby, and I ordered three back at the start of October as part of a sale that was on. One came in about 3 weeks. A cute little shirt I like that has a picture of an animated version of Pluto, and it says, “That’s OK Pluto. I’m not a planet either”. Two other ones didn’t arrive. I checked the tracking after 3 weeks and it was really weird. Supposedly one of the other 2 shirts was coming from the same place as the one I got from the US. I don’t know why it didn’t get bundled together, but what do I know? The other one was coming from somewhere in Europe and hadn’t been printed or shipped yet. It said on the website, it might take an extra 5 days or so, but if you haven’t received tracking info in 3 weeks, contact us. It was close to 4w so I reached out. They basically said, “Oops, sorry, COVID delivery delays”. It didn’t look like it was a COVID delay in the normal sense, one of them hadn’t even been printed out and the other came from a place in the US really fast — just by itself, no friend in tow.
It is now a month later, so I checked all the shipping again. Well, it SAYS they both have shipped. One supposedly even arrived in Canada a month ago. Then? Radio silence. The other is just confused. Soooo, I followed up again. They replied and said, “COVID delays”. I replied and said, “Umm, no, you said that a month ago. It is now 2m from when I ordered.” Their reply came back from the tier 2 people, or at least a T2 sounding position, to say, “Actually, looking at your tracking now, it appears your shirts have been lost in transit”. Really? Cuz I’m pretty sure I have one of them. Their solution was to file a claim. Which I did. For the two missing shirts, which they can reprint for me, probably. No rush, just want them eventually. And I got my claim receipt. They are reprinting all 3? WTF? I wrote back, they said, “Yeah, it’s with claims now, all good.” I give up on correcting them. Maybe I’ll get another shirt out of it.
Finally, tonight, something I ordered yesterday for a Xmas present sent me the receipt overnight. A smallish company in the US. The address I put in, the info I confirmed, is NOT what it says on the invoice. On the invoice, it lists my country as US, instead of Canada. Minor, but I just wanted to confirm it would come to Canada — the province info is there, we have a different postal code, it is very clearly NOT an American address. So I followed up with them to say, “Will it be okay?” and their response was the typical “Send them to the website T1 response”. Except that wasn’t my question. They told me how to go in and change my address, which was NOT what I wanted to do. It was RIGHT in the system where I needed to put in info, it was NOT right on their invoice. So I replied, gave them a low rating on their performance feedback indicator (some places that really matters), pointed out that was NOT my question, and instantly I got a much different response. She went in and edited the invoice address, it hadn’t shipped yet (supposedly) and it was all good, with a confirmation to me. Okay, I’ll count that one as done.
Normally on all of those things I am more measured. Today I was more inclined to not hold back. I didn’t do it because I was tired or anything, or upset, or whatever. I did it because it felt appropriate today. Some of that is residual COVID dampenings, some of that is just age, some of it is just I get tired of being a doormat sometimes even if I think I’m trying to be nice. If the old Shiva inside shows through PolyWogg from time to time, I’m okay with that…one of my favorite phrases from my high school days came back to me today…The clean phrase was “take a flyer”; the NSFW version was to “take a flying f*** on a rolling doughnut”. Poetry it wasn’t.
Today I chose to be a cranky-pants. Maybe when I’m older I shall wear purple too.
Most of the time, clearing snow wouldn’t be a choice. If you have a car, and you have a driveway, and you live in Canada, that snow has to be cleared somehow, right? Lots of people opt for the $250-$600 a year options for a company to hopefully come clear your driveway. A friend has an option for a guy with a plow on his pickup, small operation, $250 a year. Except it scrapes the driveway and mine ain’t necessarily perfectly smooth. That might not end well. Another guy I know is paying close to $600 but he’s farther out, with a longer drive.
I have a small driveway. And a snowblower. Normally that’s a good combo, or at least good enough. The variables tonight were not particularly in my favour:
It’s the first time this year clearing the snow. Which means I haven’t dug out the electrical cord to start it, some other stuff was kind of blocking in the snowblower, my garage is a disaster, etc. I was not “snow-ready” for clearing, okay? 🙂 Heck, the tires on the snowblower aren’t even fully inflated, although it did give me a bit more traction, so not a total hardship.
It was not, in fact, the first snowfall…that happened a couple of days ago, I was really busy and no need to go out, so I didn’t clear it. That is ALWAYS a recipe for future pain. The snow and rain today meant the end of the driveway was a bunch of hard packed wet crap that was really hard to dig into and clear. Every time I fail to clear on Day 1, it pretty much ends badly. But I was busy and lazy, never a good combo.
My garage is in disarray so that means my car is not in the garage, it’s in the driveway. Ergo, I have to clear it off too; ergo, I also have to clear around it so that I can back it out; ergo, I can’t do a very efficient back and forth clearing of the whole driveway in one go because I have to alter my patterns. Combined with the fact I needed to clear the end first that was frozen, and I had to spend a LOT of time working at areas that I normally wouldn’t do all at once (easier to do about 8-inches of the end with a glancing/passing tranche of the snowblower).
I am feeling really out of shape. I’ve been a couch potato for six months 52 years and it really showed tonight. Because of the frozen bits, plus getting setup, it took me almost an hour to do a small driveway, with a lot of pushing and wiggling it to get it to “bite” into the snow chunks. I crushed some with my feet, some with an ice chopper, some with the snowblower. But using the snowblower is not completely “exercise-free”. I stopped at the 20m and 40m marks just for a breather, plus I wish it was about six inches taller for the handles, my back is not a big fan of the height. I thought I was fine afterwards, tired but fine, and then my BP jacked for a bit and I had to lie down. “When I regained consciousness…”(*) two hours later, I had missed dinner. I felt fine, but clearing snow with a snowblower wiped me out for 2 hours? Greaaaaat.
* As an aside, that referenced phrase is from Dave Broadfoot from his Sergeant Renfrew character on the Royal Canadian Air Farce. I included TWO references to that in my Canadian trivia for work today and the players were NOT pleased. I thought their disdain was hilarious. I’ll write about it more in a later post.
The ironic thing about not clearing until tonight was that Andrea originally had an appointment this afternoon. For some reason, it wasn’t showing in either of my online or work calendars the way it normally would, and so I didn’t know about it at all. And I was thinking I would clear this morning before work. Hah! I wouldn’t have got very far, it would have been even more frozen then. I’m better organized for the next fall, and if it doesn’t happen for a week, I should have the car out of the way at least. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, Andrea had to cancel her appointment for her own reasons, so I was off the early-morning hook.
And yet…with the fact that I’m not going anywhere, nor having to take Andrea anywhere today, it was actually a “choice” to clear the snow or not. That is not a good recipe for maintaining healthy attitudes towards winter, but if we’re not going out, why clear? Because if I don’t clear, then we CAN’T go out. I know, I know. Just tell my body that at 8:00 a.m. some morning when I have to go out and clear the snow before work, on a day when I’m not commuting ANYWHERE. ‘Tis a crazy year.
Many of my recent posts have been about trivia. Online trivia, email trivia, website trivia, blah blah blah. I’m doing it in part for work (part of the workplace charitable campaign) but I’m also doing it now through Facebook.
I spent most of the day handling logistical details around getting people registered for trivia tomorrow, I have 8 teams of 5 people playing, and since MS Teams doesn’t offer breakout rooms, I had to fudge the way breakout rooms work. I created 10 separate meetings at the same time, and the people basically just do them in the meeting. They’ll have to manually come “back” to the main meeting after a set amount of time. It has been a lot of work to get the first one up and running AND I have help for it (a moderator and a animator, plus translation assistance).
For the personal side, I ran a beta test last week with 8 people, and a full roll-out this week with 12. It’s free and it’s for family and friends, or friends of friends. We do it through Zoom as my wife has a paid account. Tonight we used breakout rooms, and it made it more social for everyone, except me. Last week, I was in a room with 8 people for an hour. This time, each time people started to have a discussion, it was in the break-out room while I twiddled my thumbs and watched them type in their answers. I’ll figure out some workflows as I go, little tweaks here and there to speed things up. I’ll also add some “bonus” questions for future weeks to add a bit of extra interaction. It was hard tonight to ensure there was a good mix of easy questions and harder questions, questions for kids and adults, etc. My favorite category for the night (Screen Couples) proved hard to mark, and I might have overestimated the weighting for it. One aspect of my automated deck didn’t work as well as I had hoped, so I’ll tweak that too. But overall it worked. I suspect in future that I may offer a separate kids’ game too, just to separate the questions out a bit.
Today I chose to OD on trivia and it all mostly worked. Fingers crossed for work tomorrow.