Archive for July, 2014

new power cord is loose, but works

July 31, 2014

1:16 PM 7/31/2014

Okay, I did get a new power cord when I was in town. I went to get mom and dad’s check that they sent me in the mail. Now I have extra money so that I can get a new apartment – usually, they want the first month’s rent, the last month’s rent, and a security deposit, or at least some places want that, and it’s a huge amount of money.

I got a universal power cord. It kind of fits, but it’s a fraction of a millimeter too small. I tried several of the adapters, and none of them fit perfectly. If it wiggles even the slightest bit, it stops charging. The worst thing you can do to a battery is plug it into a ‘flickering’ power source that’s constantly disconnecting and reconnecting. This will destroy a battery quickly. I did that to one of my phones once. I plugged it into a loose plug outlet where the plug was constantly halfway in, halfway out, and it would charge for a fraction of a second, then disconnect, then reconnect. The battery was wiped out and I had to buy a new one.

This is a flaw in the design of rechargeable batteries. My dad actually told me about this decades ago. The battery sort of ‘remembers’ where it was charged to, and if it starts to discharge, to use up the battery, then recharges again, it somehow changes the amount of space available for charging in the battery, so that it gets smaller and smaller. You should fully discharge the battery, and fully charge it up again. In reality, batteries aren’t quite that bad now, like this battery in the netbook – it still works fine even though I’ve always discharged it partway and then charged it again without worrying about it. But I have a feeling that rapid
‘flickering’ might kill it.

This charger will do for now. I probably broke the other one just by pulling it too hard whenever I had the netbook stuck underneath some stuff.

I wasn’t able to give my bike away. I would give it to the bike shop. I’ve done that before. But I wasn’t ready. I’ll be lost without a bike and will have to be ready to get a new one immediately. I’m fine as long as I’m at this hotel, since I’m right next to where I work, but anywhere else, I’ll be lost.

I’m sick today and having diarrhea. I have to go to work this afternoon. Every time I work, it takes time away from doing my projects. I have to finish sorting through my stuff and doing the decon so that I can move into a new place. I’ll probably sublet again, maybe, if that’s all that’s available. As soon as my work days are done, I’ll get totally focused on this again.

I’ve been having problems with my moods, my energy, my fatigue, my sickness, and other things distracting me, demoralizing me, and preventing me from finishing. I was demoralized by not being able to remove the bike pedal, but I had to sleep on it for a couple days and then I was able to decide to just get rid of the bike, like I did before, and get a new one.

Having problems with my moods and my fatigue and my morale is the only thing keeping me from finishing this quickly. There is hardly anything to do. I only have a few bags to look through and decide what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. It’s the easiest decon I’ve ever done, because I have hardly any belongings left, and they are only very mildly contaminated, as in, if I mess up the decon, it will be no big deal.

I just try to sort through stuff and then something or other will distract me or demoralize me and I won’t want to do anything more and I’ll have to take a break. Yesterday it was the thunderstorm. I was distracted because it was so close and so terrifying and I felt like this motel was going to get struck by lightning. I was terrified and I was walking around the hotel, trying to find a place where I felt safer somehow, and we don’t have an underground basement that I could go into, unless I wanted to go find that maintenance stairwell or whatever I think I saw one time.

I also got demoralized because I’m sick with diarrhea and just overall didn’t feel well yesterday, so I only did a little work, sorting through two bags of papers and stuff, and throwing them away. I found a couple sentimental items, things that reminded me of Jesse. I found the little sticker with a wire through it that you hook on the zipper of your coat when you go skiing. That day that I went skiing, that was a significant day for me and Jesse. He called me on the phone after I went skiing. He didn’t go with me, but I had invited him. Afterwards, I think that’s the night when I went to the laundromat in town. I was still homeless, so I hung out at places like the laundromat. He met me there. His grandmother was dying, at the time. He got drunk. We spent a few hours together outside of work, for the first time. We had only just worked together a couple of days, and then I gave him my number, found him on facebook, and started stalking him and bugging him to meet me, and eventually he finally did, but only after a great struggle. That night when he met me at the laundromat was wonderful, the most wonderful thing I could imagine, being with him, kissing him. So I wanted to keep that little sticker from skiing, and that was in one of the bags I sorted through.

He called and we’re talking again. I really, really, really, really don’t want to make any mistakes that will make him angry at me again. The one day last week or whenever, he wasn’t feeling well, and we had been about to get together, and then he said he couldn’t be there because of being sick, and then suddenly Steve showed up at my door and took me to the powwow (not ‘pawpaw’ as I accidentally called it, although the pawpaws are getting ripe – the last time I went up Mt. Nittany, I visited the pawpaw trees at the neighbors’ house, and the fruits were ripening). I stayed at the powwow all day long, and didn’t expect to be there so long, and when I came home, Jesse was mad at me. He visited me, but he had been having angry thoughts all day, and I didn’t mean to do that. I was surprised when Steve showed up at the door, and had actually thought it was Jesse knocking. I don’t want to do that again, but Steve is being controlled as a puppet, and he gets those urges to do those things. And I am stupid and can’t say no.

But… Jesse is talking to me again. I hope so much that I can hurry up and get this decon done and move into a new place. Or, at least, start camping again temporarily if I have to. Whatever, just get out of here quickly. I will succeed, it’s just taking several days longer than I like, which means more money is spent at this hotel. I will succeed. I will do it. I’ve done it before. I know I will.

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How did I kill my power cord?

July 31, 2014

10:24 AM 7/31/2014

I unplugged my laptop during the thunderstorms yesterday, but my power cord got fried anyway. I always unplug it during a storm to avoid frying my netbook. But I never expected that the power cord, all by itself, would get fried by a thunderstorm even though it was unplugged.

I could feel extremely strong electrical fields yesterday during the storm, and I was terrified that we were going to get hit, right here, this hotel. I didn’t know where to go – there really isn’t a basement. There’s a stairwell that goes down to a maintenance area, I think, but I doubt that I could get in there.

If the unplugged power cord really did get fried just because of the electricity – well, I was sitting on the floor, and I could feel electricity running directly through the floor, the way I used to feel it running through the ground during storms when I was camping. I never want to camp in a thunderstorm again. I can’t feel that electricity so much when I’m in a house during a storm, and the house would provide a *little* bit of protection from a lightning strike. It redirects the energy.

But apparently, it was enough electricity to induce my netbook’s power cord even while unplugged. It was just touching the floor! It must have overwhelmed the little surge protector box in the middle of the cord. I’m just trying to plug in my netbook today and no matter what I do, no matter which outlet I plug it in, the cord no longer works, the little blue light won’t light up, and it says my netbook isn’t charging. This happened sometime between now and yesterday, because it worked fine yesterday.

Maybe something more mundane killed it. The netbook was on the floor under some stuff, and I *slightly* pulled on the power cord to slide it out from under that stuff. Maybe the cord was folded or tangled and it broke the wires when I pulled on the cord. But now, I need to get a new one or I won’t be able to charge my laptop at all. This means an errand. Grr.

As for my project, I have sorted through a couple more bags, but progress is slow. I will succeed, it just takes time. I don’t have much to do, really.

still here for a few more days

July 30, 2014

7:33 AM 7/30/2014

I’m about to go out the door and go to McD, but it’s hard for me to move – I’m having a sort of anxiety attack. All I have to do is show up at work. I haven’t had enough sleep or enough food. So I’ll be there, but I won’t be at my best.

I have enough money to check into the hotel for a few more days, but I’ve still got to hurry, because an enormous amount of money will disappear very quickly if I stay here too long.

I think I’m actually going to just get rid of my bike and get a new one. That was what I did during the previous major decon.

Okay… I guess I should go. I have to go up to the front desk and check into the room for a couple more days.

Bike pedal won’t loosen

July 28, 2014

I removed my bike pedals easily enough a while ago when I did a previous attempt to decontaminate them. But this time, one of them won’t come off. I might have tightened it while attempting to loosen it. I’m looking at it, I’m reading instructions and stuff, I’ve tried going both directions, and it won’t turn either way. I’m praying that the magical fairies of screw-loosening will secretly do the job for me while I take a break. I just had to walk away. I was going to totally replace the pedals and then also change my shoes, so that I would stop contaminating the floors everywhere I go. But now I’ve hit this obstacle which is slowing down my entire project and wasting my time. One pedal came right off with some effort, and then this one was just impossible. I had everything ready, I had it all planned, and now I can’t do this. I even tried adding a little bit of chain oil into the screw, but it cannot penetrate anything except the outermost surface. I’ve been stepping on the wrench with all my 140-150 pounds of body weight, I tried banging it with a rock, I tried grabbing onto a tree and stepping on the pedal, and I’ve probably bent my wheel or something trying to hold onto various objects and pulling and pushing, but it just won’t move.

I’m ordering a pizza. I had to just walk away. I have to decide what to do. I’ve asked for help. The magical money printing fairies (Mom and Dad) are sending a check in the mail for me, but in reality I probably need much more than they will send. I need so much help. I need everything. I need a couple more days to do this decon. I need to make a decision about what I will do if I cannot take off this bike pedal. This is a non-trivial project. It is important for my decon. It cannot simply be left on and ignored. The only alternative would be to cover up the pedals with some kind of protective wrapper.

Peace, freedom, and a detailed list of things that make the State College Diner unique.

July 27, 2014

3:07 PM 7/27/2014

I’m in the Super 8 Motel right now. I’m off work today. A little while ago, I rode my bike up to the apartment office and returned my key. I am officially out of that apartment.

Dear Jesse visited me last night, so we are speaking again – he just saw me briefly as I was leaving McD after work.

As I was riding my bike in the sun down the bike path from the apartment office after I gave them my key, I had a brief insight or flash of emotion. Usually, those brief flashes of insight and emotion come from ‘them,’ I think. It was a clear, definite *feeling*. I’m not sure how often I actually feel feelings on my own in response to a real external situation. And I have this mistake of believing that all feelings are caused by physiological problems, such as hunger, fatigue, drug use or withdrawal, or chemical sensitivities, because I have so much experience with long-lasting moods and behavior changes caused by those things. It is true that if you’re taking a drug, then you might start having huge fights and arguments over really small things that normally wouldn’t bother you. I’m very aware of it when those kinds of things happen.

But now that I am mostly non-manic or at least much less manic than I was years ago, during the drug residue contamination, my moods and feelings are mostly normal. I still feel emotions, but they are quiet ones, or else shallow ones that I express in the immediate moment, such as in my tone of voice or outbursts at work, just small, brief expressions of feeling during everyday events, not deep feelings. There are also background feelings that color everything over a long period of time – for instance, I was feeling stressed and anxious for a couple weeks knowing that I would have to move out of my apartment, and now I have a different feeling of relief and peace now that I’ve moved out and the worst is over.

That was part of what I felt on the bike, a feeling of relief and peace, a feeling that it was done. But the insight, which might have been given to me by ‘them,’ was more than that. It was this feeling, which I summed up in some words, like this: I love all the world, and all the world belongs to me. I had this feeling as I was riding my bike up the bike path to the apartment, after having slept here in the hotel last night. I felt like I had the *option* of going up this bike path, rather than *having to* go up this path. I didn’t have to go all the way up this path every day anymore. Yes, it does still take a long time to go back and forth to work every day, but much less than it did when I lived in Lemont on the mountain. I didn’t realize that I was sick of it taking forever to go to and from work every day up and down that bike path, until I realized that I didn’t have to anymore. For the next couple days, I’m right here at the hotel, right next to where I work, so there is no commute at all.

It was the feeling that I owned everything everywhere, because I have no home. I can choose where to go now. I can choose any place based on my needs and my criteria.

There is still underlying anxiety because of the decon, which I will do today and tomorrow. I still cannot own physical objects or buy lots of things I need, because things get ruined by drug residues and have to be thrown away. That particular feeling, or state of being, or ongoing condition, has been in the background of my entire life and my entire world since 2007 when I first became aware of the
contamination and had the severe outbreak of ephedra and began to gradually throw away everything I owned.

It is such a huge relief to go to a place that isn’t contaminated – this hotel – and walk around barefoot and naked in my bedroom. I do have to worry that the housekeepers will knock on the door in the morning, and I also have to close the curtains if I’m going to walk around naked. I didn’t go around naked in the Chinese apartment, and I always wore socks after the floor got contaminated. You don’t know how it feels, you can’t imagine, to have to *always* wear socks all the time, and never be allowed to go barefoot on the floor inside your own home for even a minute because you will step on ephedra and you will never sleep again afterwards until and unless you thoroughly wash the bottoms of your feet and then put socks on.

I’ve been in this hotel, many times, with my contaminated shoes. However, they vacuum it frequently and I assume they probably also wash the carpets regularly. For whatever reason, contamination doesn’t build up. The carpets also do not have deep pile – they are a flat carpet without much ‘fur.’ I’m sure they’re slightly
contaminated because of me, but all the constant vacuuming and washing reduces it. Ideally, it would be a stone floor that gets mopped daily, or else a dirt floor where the dirt itself is physically removed, if I were to design a decontamination center, a getaway, a place where people would live, a spa.

But this feeling of being able to live anywhere – If I weren’t contaminated, I would buy things, but I can’t do that yet. But I would buy temporary camping equipment, something small, that I could set up anywhere, something light, and I’d attach it to my bike. My bike would be my snail shell. I’d take everything everywhere with me, and I’d have my tent in there too. I couldn’t do that before because I could not buy infrastructure. I couldn’t buy an electric bike, I couldn’t buy a lightweight tent or lightweight sleeping bags, I couldn’t buy lightweight clothing, I couldn’t assume my bike was permanent and add things to it like metal frames or baskets, I couldn’t do anything or build anything or customize anything because it all would have to be thrown away. That is still going on, in the background. I’ll do my decon today, as well as I can, here at this hotel, as I have done before, but it will not be complete. I will make some major improvements, just not ‘perfection.’

I went to the State College Diner for lunch, after dropping off my key. I considered going to IHOP, which is right next to the hotel, but I hated IHOP the last time I went there, for so many reasons that I won’t even begin to get into. Every possible thing that could ever annoy me was there at IHOP.

So I rode my bike up to the diner. It’s right next to McD, on South Atherton Street, at Hills Plaza, but it’s practically invisible. It’s just a tiny box. It doesn’t have a familiar facade like all the chain restaurants, with brightly lit signs, familiar colors and symbols that are recognizable everywhere no matter what town you go to, a familiar brand so that you know exactly what kind of dining experience you’re going to have when you go there, no matter where you are. This diner is the type of place where you have no idea what it’s going to be like. I never went there at all until one of my neighbors in Lemont gave me a little prepaid gift certificate for $50 to go eat there.

There are reasons why I don’t like restaurants, unless they have a buffet. I don’t like the huge portion sizes. I can’t eat it all, so I have to take the leftovers home, which means I must leave the restaurant and go directly to my refrigerator afterwards to put away my food so it doesn’t spoil, instead of being free to go anywhere I want after eating. Portion sizes at restaurants are almost always without exception gigantic, an entire gallon of food on your plate. Also, back when I was driving a car, I usually preferred drive-thrus.

Also, a lot of restaurants seem like they would be great, in theory, the idea of them, but when you actually eat there, it’s horrible. I discovered that I like some Americanized Thai food – it’s not real Thai, not traditional primitive authentic Thai food, which includes foods we don’t eat here, such as insects, and which would almost certainly have a much higher content of saturated animal fat, as all primitive traditional diets do. It would also have a much wider variety of ingredients, different fruits and vegetables unique to that region, insects and animals unique to that region, etc. Americanized Thai food uses ingredients familiar to people in the USA, such as green beans. But years ago I started buying these frozen
microwaveable meals, back when I lived in an apartment before, from Wal-Mart, I think, or just grocery stores. It was this Thai food, with curry, and Thai eggplants, and lemongrass, and a couple other spices and herbs associated with Thai food, and shrimp. I loved it. Again, this isn’t *real* Thai food, it just has a few traces of things that might have once been slightly associated with Thailand, but even so, I liked it.

Modern society’s nutrition is moving in a harmful direction, with everything low fat, fewer ingredients and less variety, nothing local. Real traditional food uses foods available in every season of the year, plants that only blossom for a month and then are gone, and next month you have no choice but to strip the bark off the trees because there’s nothing else to eat – that’s a *real* primitive diet. They wouldn’t have fresh vegetables delivered from South America in the middle of winter. Primitive people did have long distance trade, but it would have been much smaller than what we have now, and they absolutely had to be able to subsist on their own in their small local region without depending too much on imported foods. So they ate a wider variety of local foods during every season of the year, and would sometimes eat foods that were not very enjoyable, but which provided enough calories and nutrients to keep you alive, such as tree bark. There are things you *can* eat, but you don’t really like to eat, and primitive people ate those kinds of things all the time.

So I don’t like seeing green beans in my so-called Thai food. Green beans have nothing to do with Thailand, except for the fact that you’re capable of growing them there. You’re capable of growing green beans in Florida food, too, and you’re capable of growing green beans and putting them in Pennsylvania Food, or English food, or French food, or African food – surely, there are parts of Africa capable of growing green beans. Yet this ‘Cozy Thai’ restaurant, which I thought I would love because I had already discovered I loved those frozen curries with the Thai eggplants and other spices, I actually did not like. I tried this restaurant several times. It’s very lowfat. There is one particular curry, where the sauce tastes good, but the entire substance of the meal is just a huge fucking bowl of green beans, and that’s about all. What the fuck. Then you can get it with beef, or shrimp, or something else, maybe chicken, I forget, and the beef is just this thin sliced low fat muscle meat – never any fat, never any organs, just the lowest fat cuts of beef like the garbage they serve here in America.

There are grains of truth in the phenomenon of eating low fat muscle meats. Organ meats spoil quickly. They are made of a different substance than muscle meats. You must eat them right away after killing the animal, or freeze them, or do something else to preserve them more carefully than muscle meats. Muscle meat, especially low fat muscle, is good for drying and preserving for a long time. You can render some tallow so it’s shelf-stable and doesn’t spoil, and then dry out some low fat muscle meat and get it as dry as you possibly can, and then it won’t spoil, and you can mix together this tallow with dried meat, and eat it while hiking, and it’s called ‘pemmican,’ something Native Americans ate. Many cultures dry out the muscle meats and save them and eat them over a long period of time, because they can be preserved. But people would not just eat low fat muscle meat by itself without adding any kind of fat from another source. They would always cook it in some kind of grease. That’s something we don’t do nowadays. People are like, ‘Hey! Low fat meat! I’d better EAT IT BY ITSELF without ADDING ANY KIND OF FAT to it, because LOW FAT IS GOOD FOR ME!’

I went to this diner, then, the place that isn’t a national franchise. And it was wonderful and comforting. Now, granted, if I had a diner, I’d serve foods that met my criteria, such as, foods without any chemical preservatives, homemade foods, and so on. This diner served me a sandwich on normal bread, which would have contained all sorts of chemicals in the bread, and the liverwurst probably contained nitrates and other things that they usually put into meats. If I had a restaurant, I’d like to combine everything that I like into one place, then make it a national brand (or maybe just keep it local? are any local restaurants ever doing a drive-thru? Not normally! that’s weird, isn’t it? Small, local, non-chain restaurants don’t usually build a drive-thru.). I’d have a buffet, I’d be open 24 hours, I’d have a drive-thru, I’d let you choose small portion items and build a meal yourself instead of giving you a huge plate with a meal and sides included, and I’d also home deliver, and maybe our company would also produce foods available in the freezers of grocery stores too. We should cater, too, if I’m including everything.

I sat there eating, and wrote down a long list of things that made this place special and different from the two chain restaurants where I work. There are all these things that a national brand would never, ever do, which the diner was doing. And I like that, and I want to be aware of those things. The whole world isn’t a national brand chain store. There are places that are doing things their own way and doing them differently. I’ll write this list without explaining it. Basically, these are things that don’t exist or aren’t done in any famous national brand. They are no-nos, all of which are being violated with impunity by this little local upstart business with its one local owner and its independence.

This isn’t the diner in the middle of town, by the way, the one where all the Penn State students eat. This tiny little invisible diner is just a place where old people eat. It’s next to all the old folks’ homes in that part of town.

What makes the State College Diner unique?

1. Analog clocks visible from all directions in the dining room. Four clocks, at least! No matter where you sit, you can see a clock. Our new McD doesn’t have a clock anywhere in the lobby, although our old store had a tiny one up near the ceiling in one place. TB doesn’t have any clocks in the lobby either. What’s wrong with having clocks visible so customers can know what time it is? Seriously, why not? Why do big national brands refuse to just put some frickin’ clocks around for customers to look at? As soon as I saw them in the diner, I realized how much I like them. Clocks are awesome! If you want to cover the entire wall with a million different artsy-craftsy clocks made in Ancient China or something, that makes me happy. If you’re eating at a national chain, you’ve gotta bring your own clock, and it’s gotta be a little quiet one that nobody else can see that won’t offend anyone, because nobody wants to be shocked and disgusted at the sight of a huge, ugly fucking clock on the wall while they’re eating! I’m gonna have a primitive water clock or something, like the first clock ever invented.

2. Homemade paper signs taped on the glass. An absolute no-no! Surely, this diner will go out of business and lose all its customers! ‘Please pay at the front desk – Thank you!’ ‘Help Wanted.’ ‘This is a smoke-free environment.’

3. Peeling wallpaper in the bathroom. Surely no one in their right minds would ever eat at such a low-class place as this!

4.Bathroom stalls are just made of that inch-thick metal the way that all old-fashioned bathroom stalls usually are, the kind that you could probably disassemble if you had a screwdriver. Not this
lead-reinforced solid mahogany/plastic stuff like the ones at McD, where it creaks so loudly when you swing the door, which requires you to push or pull with all of your weight on the door because it’s so heavy. Customers hate those doors! I’ve already heard *other* people complaining frequently about how heavy and noisy they are – not just me. But a high-class national brand like McD MUST HAVE huge, thick, heavy doors that seal completely shut and are bombproof. You must be absolutely safe from an external attacker while you are using the toilet. People might bang on the doors to get in and break through those flimsy little metal ones with their flimsy little sliding latches! Worse yet, they might kneel down and peek underneath them or crawl underneath them and see you while your pants are down – the shame! (although, I guess you can do that with our new McD doors too – but I betcha in a couple years, the doors will go all the way to the floor so nobody can see or crawl under them.) No automated sinks in the bathroom, although I don’t recall if they have a hand dryer or not. I wasn’t working and I wasn’t in uniform, so I didn’t bother to wash my hands, because washing my hands after I use the restroom is something I only do for show, when I’m working. In reality, I do not wash my hands unless I have actually gotten a noticeable amount of bodily fluids on them somehow. I’m not, like, going into the bathroom stall and then grabbing my genitals or peeing through my hands into the toilet. I only touch my pants and the toilet paper with my hands.

5. Paper placemats at the table. They’re disposable. But in theory, they could even have artistic permanent placemats at the tables, too. Not so at a national brand fast food chain. No placemats for you! I wrote this list with a ballpoint pen on the placemat.

6. Permanent metal silverware, rolled in a paper napkin.

7. No drive-thru. You must come in and sit down. I like drive-thrus, and I also like the fast food factory assembly line concept, so I’m imagining something that combines the best of both worlds.

8. Condiments at the tables – sugar, salt, pepper, ketchup,
sweeteners, jellies. Some of these are in permanent glass containers, shakers, jars. Aren’t people bankrupting the business by stealing hundreds of those things? But no, there they are! Apparently the old people who eat at this restaurant are capable of restraining their urges to steal all the salt shakers.

9. Windows have venetian blinds that you can adjust yourself.

10. Washable permanent plastic drinking cups, permanent plates made of ceramic or whatever plates are made of, etc.

11. Coat rack with hangers. You know, why don’t national brand chain restaurants have a coat rack? I mean, I myself never use one even when I’m wearing a coat. But other people do. They’ll take off their coat and leave it on the rack instead of wadding it up in their seat or throwing it over the back of their chair. Some people have nice coats and don’t want to get them all wrinkled up. This is just a nice little courtesy. I’d be curious to talk to a national chain representative and get some kind of explanation for why coat racks are forbidden in their restaurants. It isn’t part of the Universally Provided Equipment Package. All of them have to have tools that come from the Official Tool Provider and look the same everywhere you go.

Surely, coat racks make people think they’re allowed to sit down and stay for a long time! And that reduces profits. People must be discouraged from sitting and getting comfortable. I remember reading about that long ago, as part of official McD policy – don’t let people get too comfortable, otherwise they’ll take up seats that other people could be sitting in. But wait – aren’t they providing wi-fi nowadays, and encouraging people to linger for hours upon hours, while ordering more food? Somebody needs to question this ‘don’t let them get too comfortable’ policy now! But that would violate our cold, unfriendly, impersonal, uncomfortable, non-homey atmosphere that everyone values so highly!

12. Houseplants, some fake, some real. That’s something I *love* at The Waffle Shop in particular. They have entire rows of windows full of plants. The more plants you have, the better. You seriously cannot go too far with this. If every square inch of space is covered with a living, growing plant, and if moisture and water are raining from the ceiling and trickling around over the tables, so be it, that is fine with me. I’d enjoy eating inside a waterfall. A hydroponic restaurant would be a most joyful experience. We’d have Sun Pipes coming through the ceiling and bringing real living sunlight from the outdoors into the deepest pits of the restaurant. McD has a few plants in big, heavy, immobile concrete pots on the outside patio, and TB has some landscaping around the outside of the restaurant, but that’s all – nothing on the inside. You really cannot overdo the living plants thing. I guess I would not want the seats to be covered with poison ivy. But you know.

13. No overhead music, PRAISE THE LORD. It was peaceful, sweet silence. There was a air vent blowing quietly, making a slight breeze, from the ceiling. There was a TV playing quietly behind the bar, but it was not too loud, and that’s all there was. No music… thank god… thank god… You don’t know, you can’t imagine, how much I hate the overhead music everywhere. It’s everywhere. It’s in every national chain. Sometimes, they have a slightly semi-decent satellite radio station with some okay music or interesting music that I haven’t heard before, and, actually, the new McD’s radio is interesting… but which do I prefer – silence, or okay music? I’d prefer silence, although I might sometimes like to have a real musician playing a real physical instrument nearby. Real musicians would be awesome, but silence is wonderful too. The overhead music has got to go. I do admit, I like the station we have now at McD… but I feel happier and peaceful when it’s nothing but silence, sweet silence. Somehow, I wasn’t bothered by the voices of other people eating at other tables. At IHOP, I could hear the loud, annoying conversation of the loud, annoying douchebags sitting only inches away from me, because for some reason I was seated almost directly in their laps instead of being given a couple feet of personal space. But at this diner, there was no radio, no background noise to prevent you from hearing other people’s conversations, and yet, I wasn’t bothered by other people at all. Everyone was talking quietly and comfortably.

14. Waiters and waitresses who come to the table, and sometimes chitchat with you. I fantasized that I would make a restaurant with people who had Intuitive personality types, because all intuitives are rare and hard to find, no matter which quadra – the world is overwhelmingly full of sensors as a vast majority of people. So, these intuitives would walk around in the Conversation Room. If you chose to sit in the Conversation Room, you’d know to expect that an intuitive hired by the restaurant would sit down and talk to you, about anything at all. You’d go there because you were eating alone. It’s like a date, paid for by the restaurant you’re eating at. They get paid to just walk around chatting with people about stuff. Their job would be to learn about interesting subjects and be aware of interesting news and have stuff to talk about.

15. Broken down truck sitting in the parking lot by the restaurant for the last couple years. I’ve seen it there for a very long time. The windows are busted somehow, partway open, with a garbage bag duct taped over the opening. It’s got all this junk inside. What the fuck! Not in MY backyard if I’m a Highly Respected National Brand! We certainly cannot allow broken-down vehicles to sit there in the parking lot for years at a time without an explanation. Our high-class customers would be put off by such a thing! What if… what if someone creepy and scary and dirty and filthy owned that broken down vehicle? What if it was somebody who was…. POOR? What if they jumped out and grabbed me as I walked by? Our employees must park their cars separately out of the way where customers can’t see them, and our Highly Paid Managers must drive official expensive company cars to create a good impression!

16. Curtains sticking out the crack of a closed door. I was walking up the walkway and I saw this orange piece of fabric sticking out of a closed door. It was a pretty color of orange. Orange is one of my favorite colors. The door was obviously unlocked, because the thin curtain was in between the door and the latch. What the heck? After I went inside the restaurant and used the bathroom, I walked past this curtain on the way back to my table, and I gently pulled it out of the crack in the door, and then just kept on walking like nothing unusual had happened. La la la. Just doing my duty. But, not in a National Brand Chain!

17. Arts and crafts in random places. An angel, rather tacky looking, made out of that wrapped string or something, I don’t know what it is. A chandelier hanging from the ceiling on a chain. Some candles on the wall by a mirror. Little objects here and there. Not in a national chain.

18. A small desk where you pay. Not the large counter with three or four or five cash registers on it. Just one. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a non-computerized old-fashioned cash register that was purely mechanical? I think this one had a computer, but I’m not sure, I didn’t really see. Only one person could pay at a time, at this little desk.

19. Sit down, then order from waitress. Look at a menu at the table. The menu is made of paper. Oh my god, the complaints that I’ve heard from customers about those fucked-up menus at McD. At McD, they have electronic menus, which are constantly flashing and disappearing and sometimes doing a Blue Screen Of Death with a Windows Desktop afterwards or Windows Error Messages. They flash, they crash, they splash, and they annoy the hell out of EVERYONE who is trying to place an order. You can’t find anything when it disappears and reappears somewhere else or isn’t visible at all. Our dollar menu disappears and cannot be found for minutes at a time (we probably get BIGGER PROFITS if people cannot order anything from the dollar menu!!!). The last few items of our numbered value meals also could not be found, value meals 10-16 or something, because they just were not there on the last panel, and, hey, who cares! We don’t need to WORK OUT THESE BUGS BEFORE OPENING THE STORE!

20. The type of food served. This is too complicated to get into. Just a different type of food. Homey comfort foods such as a liverwurst sandwich with onions. Again, I have opinions about the type of foods, their nutrient value, the chemicals they contain, the sources they come from, and so on. But it is simply a different kind of food served there than they serve at TB and McD.

21. Old people sit and talk. People sat at our old McD and talked for hours, too. But our new store doesn’t really encourage that. Maybe they still do – I haven’t come here early enough in the morning to notice whether our gang of old people still comes in and sits there for hours.

22. Leave tips for the servers.

23. Servers aren’t insane or annoying like at IHOP. When I ate at IHOP, the person who served me was insane, and she also seemed to be suppressing some kind of intense emotion such as extreme fear and stress, underneath her exterior of EXTREME MANIC FRIENDLINESS. I got this impression that there was a huge, evil manager somewhere in the back room yelling and screaming and beating people to death. The lady at the diner, on the other hand, was quiet, peaceful, comfortable, and polite, but not excessively manic. She didn’t ask me HOW I’M DOING, thank God. I really, strongly dislike it when strangers ask me how I’m doing. Do you WANT to know how I’m doing? Do you REALLY want to know? I have this BLOG on the internet which is SEVERAL THOUSAND PAGES LONG, and it can tell you how I’m doing! I do not want to say ‘Good,’ while a muscle clenches involuntarily in my abdomen to tell me that I’m blatantly outright lying. My muscles tense up painfully when I tell a lie, and my muscles clench every time I have to answer a stranger asking me ‘How are you doing?’ and I have to lie and say that I’m fine and good. I am NOT AT ALL FINE and DO YOU EVEN GIVE A FUCK how I’m doing? Because I CAN TELL YOU IF YOU REALLY WANT TO KNOW. Do you have a couple WEEKS to LISTEN to me while I tell you how I’m doing? I absolutely hate this behavior. The waitress was friendly and polite but did not say ‘How are you?’ to me. At TB, though, we are REQUIRED to ask EVERY CUSTOMER ‘Hi, how are you today?’ This is official policy. It was burned into one guy’s brain so thoroughly that he’s still doing it now, even though he quit working at TB and is now working at McD with me. So he answers the headset at McD and automatically says, ‘Hi, how are you today?’ before taking their order. Nobody has told him to stop doing it. It’s okay, I
understand. It’s a habit.

I was chitchatting with the waitress for a minute, explaining that I was mentally comparing this small diner with the two large national chain stores that I worked at, TB and McD. She understood, and she said that if you work at a national chain, if some retard comes up with some idea that you hate, everyone everywhere has to follow this policy anyway. She said, at our little diner, the owner can do whatever he wants. The ‘Hi, how are you?’ is one of the insane universal policies that I absolutely hate at TB.

24. Glass window below table level is painted black, with holes that the light shines through, except it’s not done artistically, it looks like the holes were chipped or peeled by accident. It’s a big window that goes all the way to the floor, but I guess they didn’t want people to feel uncomfortable sitting there all exposed or something. So the lower half got painted black, but not thoroughly. Actually though, the effect was sort of interesting, and I thought it could be done that way deliberately, if someone had painted shapes and cutouts that let the light through.

25. Checks brought to the table. You wait while the server brings your check. You pay after you’ve eaten, not before. Fast food restaurants make you pay before eating. You pay again if you decide to order anything else. I’m not complaining about either of these methods – each one has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m merely noting the differences in how business is done.

26. Plain square building, plain colors, plain name (‘Diner’). National brands have a recognizable symbol, a font for their letters, particular colors that are familar, lines and shapes and designs of the exterior of the building, so that you can see it from a long distance away, and recognize it, no matter what town you’re in. You see a bright red building, you know it’s a Sheetz. You see yellow arches, it’s McDonald’s. Etc. This diner building is gray, with a red line around the top, a dull red, and if I recall, during the nighttime, half of the sign isn’t even lit up, it’s burned out and is unreadable, but oh well.

27. Cannot choose your serving sizes. This is actually something I strongly dislike about sit-down restaurants. All of them always have a huge size meal that I cannot eat and must take home. I must immediately leave the restaurant and go directly home to put my leftovers into my fridge, even if I’d rather go someplace else. You get a ‘meal,’ with particular ‘sides’ that you are required to get along with the meal. You can’t order just one item without all those sides. You can’t order a smaller portion of the main dish if you don’t want to eat, for instance, an entire gallon of rice at the Indian restaurant. I’m not a big rice eater. I might eat a little of it now and then, but I don’t want to have a huge plate of nothing but rice with some flavored sauces on top of it. I like McD, where you buy one individual item if you want, and it can be something very small, like just a single cheeseburger, or just a small fry, if that’s all you want.

28. Desserts – whole cakes, in a case. The waitress goes and slices the cake for you. I asked her about this. She said the cakes were made by an outside bakery, perhaps by someone the owner knew. She didn’t know where they came from. They came in unmarked white boxes. It might even just be a friend of the owner.

29. Waitress chitchats with you, or leaves you alone. I wrote about this up above. But in a fast food restaurant, nobody really interacts with you except to give you the food. There might sometimes be an employee walking around cleaning the restaurant. But with a waitress, it’s different. The waitress knows what you ordered, and is focused on you and your group and is paying attention to you the whole time. She knows what you might need. It makes you feel like somebody is taking care of you. Sometimes, you might want to be anonymous and eat there without a person knowing what you ordered and knowing what you need and taking care of you. It could go either way.

30. Not open 24 hours. All national brands are moving in the direction of being open 24 hours. They have people cleaning the stores overnight who also have to do the normal day job of making and serving the food, while simultaneously cleaning. I’ve done it, and it’s very stressful. I don’t like the overnight shift. You can’t really focus on anything. You can’t do a really good job shutting the store down and cleaning it, and you also can’t really do a good job of serving the customers either. Everything suffers. I’m not saying it can’t be done or shouldn’t be done. I like it when places are open 24 hours, and back when I had a car, I was *always* the person who had to go through the McD drive-thru at 2am because I couldn’t sleep.

31. A bowl of lollipops and candy on the desk by the cash register. When I paid my check, I dug in that bowl to get a mint, then noticed I had picked up a mint without a wrapper. That’s okay, I’ll just grab another mint. I dug around and found yet another opened up mint without a wrapper. Oh well, I’ll just eat it. Nobody seems to mind. I haven’t been poisoned and I’m still alive. Maybe they just dumped a whole bunch of mints out of a big bag or something, and they never had wrappers to begin with.

32. Salt, sugar, ketchup in glass containers, not in little packages. I mentioned this earlier. It’s a permanent object belonging to the restaurant, the shakers and jars. They have to be washed
occasionally. Perhaps, if these objects are always being stolen, you could chain them down and lock them to the table and unlock them with a key. The good thing about these permanent tools is they aren’t disposable and create less waste. The original packages that the salt, sugar, and ketchup come in would still be disposable, of course.

33. Not a franchise; owner has control.

34. Some foreign guy is the owner, and he might also be a cook. I don’t know who he is, but I’ve seen this guy working there for years. He sometimes comes out and talks to people. He has a foreign accent which I cannot identify. He also seems to be wearing an apron and dressing like he’s working in the kitchen. So, I don’t really know who he is, and maybe he’s just a cook, not the owner, or he could possibly be the owner too. Maybe the owner just likes cooking too. I’m not sure why I thought he was the owner.

35. Staff isn’t wearing uniforms. They just have jeans, t-shirts, generic white aprons, and ordinary baseball caps, or no hats at all.

36. The waitress stands behind the bar reading a big newspaper, which is blocking her view of the little old man slowly, slowly making his way towards her across the restaurant because he needs something. She can’t see him and doesn’t know he’s coming, and doesn’t acknowledge him until he’s right next to her. I can see this little vignette from the side, I can see what she can’t see, I can see the several slow minutes as the little old man slowly walks across the room approaching her. For some reason, this is amusing to me. Finally she puts the newspaper down and notices the man and gives him whatever he came over to ask for.

That’s all I wrote on my little placemat. It isn’t meant as criticism of everything, it’s meant as more of an observation of differences in the way things are done. Both ways have their good and bad sides. As I said, I want to take the best of both worlds.

I’m at the Super 8 tonight and tomorrow night.

July 26, 2014

11:10 AM 7/26/2014

I’m sitting outside my back door with a bunch of bags and a
refrigerator. I also need to remember my bike, which is out front. I’m waiting until noon, which is when people will be checking out of the hotel. I’m hoping it won’t rain between now and then, but if it does, I will move my stuff farther under the awning, and I also have a piece of plastic I can put over it, and everything is in trash bags.

Xuan told me that the carpet cleaning people would be here at 10:00, and they were, but she wasn’t ready. I was. I had pulled everything out the back door so nothing was on *my* part of the floor, and that includes the bombproof century wooden furniture that wasn’t mine, and also the bed. I put a few things into the dumpster, but then it turned out that Xuan had rented a U-Haul for the rest of the furniture. I don’t know where she took it to, but it magically vanished into the U-Haul. I put the heaviest items in there, and took the lighter things to the dumpster myself. I took the mattresses there to the dumpster too. There are a couple of bombproof century wooden furniture items next to the dumpster, which look like they came from elsewhere in the house. They match the appearance of the other bombproof wooden items.

So the carpet guy came in and saw her and her friends moving all her stuff out, and I said it would be a couple more minutes (which means, the rest of the morning), so he left.

A group of male and female Chinese people came in and magically helped her move all her stuff out and they also cleaned some parts of my room. They wiped the dust off the air vent and sponged some of the stains off the walls. I myself did not have the patience or the desire to do this, knowing that it was all probably going to be painted. My attitude at this time is, I do not give a fuck. Fuck them all.

She and her friends are not slaving away at two manual labor jobs, so they can have fun cleaning rapidly and with energy, and they are also Chinese, which means they do not suffer from Standard American Health Syndrome – they were raised on a good diet and grew up with a functioning immune system and don’t have all the problems that have ruined my life. Chinese college students are not suffering from all the health problems that we have, we victims of American Healthcare and American Lifestyle and American Nutrition and American Education.

Sure, they’re going to Penn State University, but before that, they were raised in China with a Chinese public education, which is far superior to ours. Why in the holy hell would ANYONE want to come from China to go to a university in the United States is beyond me, unless they wanted to come here and live here. I can kind of understand why someone would want to live here permanently, because the housing is cheaper, it’s less populated, it’s peaceful, and so on, but our horrible and insane education system is not something to come here for.

Everyone else is going to college and getting good jobs, and they don’t care that they’ll be $200,000 in debt for the rest of their lives. Or $300,000, or $400,000, or whatever they charge Chinese people to go to Penn State. Who cares about a million dollars in debt? We’re living the dream!

In a couple hours, I and my belongings will be in the Temporary Holding Area, where I will work on the decon (after going to work this evening at McD at 3:00). Then I must choose another more permanent location, and I do not know where it will be, whether I will camp again, or what. I’m going to take a cab to the Super 8 Motel. I just have to sit here for 35 more minutes, waiting till noon, check-out time at the hotel, when the lady will be able to tell me how many rooms are available. There might be zero, and if that is the case, then, nothing. I’ll just do something random. I’m starting to get a little bit hungry. I have a few snacks somewhere buried in these bags, but nothing really solid. I could theoretically order a pizza and then just sit here eating it. But I think I will just not eat. I will just suffer for a little while.

Jesse is not in this with me. He hasn’t spoken to me since the last time he visited me and we had our misunderstanding and he left. I *did* see that there was a call from him on my phone a couple days ago, but he didn’t leave a message and I never got a hold of him afterwards. It was when I was at work.

I think he would give a lot to me if he had anything to give. He avoids me because my problems and disasters make him feel powerless. He wants to help, but cannot. He has his own problems and is barely surviving. As hard as my life is, it is probably better than his life in some ways.

I was going to clean Xiaocheng’s bathroom, which she did not clean when she left, and I had told Xuan that I would do that, but now, I am just saying, fuck everything. I cannot. Whatever the consequences will be, whether we are charged a fee of some kind, whether Xuan loses respect and trust for me and I sacrifice my long-term relationship with her, whatever the consequences, so be it.

Ah… the sun is coming. I thought that this miserable cold and cloudiness and the chance of rain was bad. But now, I see a blue sky slowly approaching, and some shining sunlight brightening the grass. I’m sitting outside on the back porch. The sun is ominous. I, and my belongings, will all be sitting out here in the baking hot noon sun. If I have to, I’ll move inside. I just don’t want to go sit inside, because the carpet cleaning people were supposed to be here sooner or later.

I need to be settled somewhere by 3:00, otherwise I won’t be able to make it to work at McD. I’ll have to tell them that I’m coming in late, maybe, if this doesn’t go well.

I just don’t want to sit inside, because everyone will be coming back in a while. They went somewhere and didn’t come back, and they’re probably out to eat or something, and hauling the rest of the stuff in the U-Haul. I don’t want to sit inside where they can look at me. I’m just outside the back door.

The carpet guy came back, and he’s gotten started. They got enough of their stuff from upstairs that it’s ready to clean up there.

I’m going to be okay. I’m going to do another decon. Maybe it won’t be a perfect decon. It won’t be perfect, because my dear love may have something on him and his footprints and in his car and in his house, from the couple of times I was with him in the car and the one time I went to his house.

I’m starting to wonder if the roommates are coming back. They still left stuff in the kitchen, and a few random things are sitting around, which aren’t mine. *I’m* not taking it to the dumpster. I don’t know whose it is and who wants it. Fuck everything. Fuck ’em all.

I might have to call work and tell them that I’m going to be coming in late this evening. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to the hotel or not. And the carpet guy is here right now, and I feel like I can’t leave until someone comes back to guard the place. But I need to call the hotel *now* to find out if anyone has left. I don’t want to wait too long.

They U-Hauled ‘my’ furniture away, and even lifted it into the back of the U-Haul for me. Am I grateful for that? No, that stuff never should have been here in the first place. I’m not really grateful that someone else is fixing a problem that never should have happened. In some way, I am grateful. I’m also angry. I’m angry at everyone and everything and the way things are done in the world, especially the world of Penn State. I’m angry that people have to move in and out of apartments all the time. I’m angry that school ‘ends’ at particular times of year instead of being continuous – there doesn’t need to be a ‘summer vacation’ now that nobody is a farmer anymore. If everyone was farmers, then yeah, they needed a summer vacation, but nowadays, nobody’s a farmer and therefore nobody needs a summer vacation from school. It’s a pointless relic of an agricultural past. The tiny minority of people who are farmers could do school
differently. But as it is there is absolutely no reason at all for school to end during the summer.

I guess I need to call the hotel again and see whether they had anyone check out…

***********
I’m in the Super 8 Motel for tonight and tomorrow night. I’m here now. All my stuff is here. I’ll be able to get to work tonight at McD. Tomorrow I’ll prepare my stuff and figure out where I’m going to go.

an evil world that throws everything into the garbage

July 26, 2014

8:51 AM 7/26/2014

All I can say, over and over again is, ‘For the love of God, WHY???’ Why would any fool buy hard, heavy, thick, immobile wooden furniture for an apartment that they were going to live in for a couple of months? Why? Because it must be a Desk. And a Desk shalt henceforth be made of Wood. And it shalt be Heavy, Thick, Durable Wood, designed to withstand a bomb blast, for the rest of eternity, regardless of how long we are planning to live here. And it shalt be abandoned and left behind for the next person to deal with, because that is the way it’s done. The next person shalt be a small, petite female working two manual labor jobs and suffering from chronic fatigue and chronic insomnia and electronic attacks. And it shalt henceforth be carried into this room by the work of several people, so that it can be used briefly for a couple of months and then abandoned.

This enormity of waste – other people have no excuse for this. I do – I didn’t know I was going to be suddenly moving out of here. And also, I’ve had to throw things away because of contamination. But other people HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR THIS. The dumpster is quickly filling up with garbage and furniture and thousands of dollars worth of things that are still perfectly usable. This is done routinely every couple of months in this town, every time college students come and go. I have OTHER PEOPLE’S heavy bombproof hundred-year furniture in my room, which I did not choose to buy.

I have my own stuff in bags. I don’t know where it will go. Maybe I’ll just sit outside the back door for a couple hours. I’m going to try to get it to the Super 8 Motel, but they don’t know if any rooms will be open yet, so I’ll have to call them after noon sometime.

It always rains when you’re moving. It rained overnight, but isn’t really rainy now, but it’s cloudy and cold, fucking cold for July, and it will probably rain again. I don’t have an apartment to move into, nor do I have another clean tent and clean new sleeping bags and sleeping mats. So I am not yet prepared to camp.

There’s more, much more, to this story, but I don’t feel like telling it now. I’m just taking a break to vent my anger and horror at all the stuff in the dumpster. Everything. People’s effort, people’s work, people’s labor, millions of hours that people spent doing labor to earn a living, all of it into the trash for nothing, because of STUPIDITY, *S*T*U*P*I*D*I*T*Y*. Stupid and evil, this entire process. It is absolutely insane and unthinkable, unimaginable. MY EFFORT, my hard physical labor, people just like me, making things and selling them and throwing it all away for nothing. My slavery, the wasted hours of my precious life, me and everyone else like me, all of the slaves, everything we do, into the dumpster.

I don’t know where I’ll go today. I also have to go to work this afternoon. I have a bunch of garbage bags full of belongings which have to be sorted out. I’ll throw a lot of them away, but not right now, just later on when I get to the hotel.

My body will survive, but I am screaming, screaming, screaming. If I screamed out loud, they would lock me away. I am screaming and crying my lungs out at all of this evil, evil world that does this to people, everything.

Too-warm fridges might have global consequences. People believe meat and dairy products are bad for you, because everyone everywhere is spoiling those foods in their warm fridges. Cold fridges ‘oughta be a law.’

July 25, 2014

7:35 AM 7/25/2014

I was able to get up early (as in, be forced awake by an electronic attack) and pack a bunch of stuff into garbage bags. I’m not sorting through my belongings, I’m just piling everything into bags and taking it all with me to be sorted out later. That means I will have a lot more bags, but that’s okay. I haven’t gotten everything into bags yet, but I am taking a break.

There is something very wrong with the world, and I’m not even joking, if hundreds of millions of people are using refrigerators and keeping them turned to a setting where their temperature is higher than 40 degrees. I came home last night and found that the fridge in the kitchen had been turned back down to number 3 on the dial. My thermometer measured that as being higher than 40 degrees, when I had my thermometer in there. I could feel it was warm when I first came here, and saw that it had been turned all the way down to 2, so that it was up at like, I dunno, 55 degrees or something ridiculously warm and totally useless like that. Maybe it actually says in our lease that we’re required to keep the fridge on that setting when we leave – I vaguely recall seeing something in a previous lease about the fridge at one of my apartments in the past.

But I am actually serious. This phenomenon has huge consequences which may be far worse and far more encompassing than you might think. It might have consequences beyond just individual people getting sick from eating spoiled food every day. It may have influenced
‘scientific’ thinking for many decades now. It may be the reason for harmful popular nutrition advice from the government and the media. It might possibly have had huge social consequences.

When I lived in my tent, I decided to test a block of cheese. I had wanted cheese, but could not just buy one small piece at the convenience store in town, so I just bought a normal block of cheese that most people would put in their fridge. I didn’t have a fridge. I tested what would happen if you kept it at room temperature all night long.

After only a few hours at room temperature, the block of cheese was changed. I ate a tiny, tiny nibble of it, and instantly started having heart problems and a sort of allergic reaction in my mouth, probably to the amines. Protein foods form amines when they spoil, and amines cause many reactions.

Now imagine. People are all keeping their fridges on too low of a setting. That doesn’t mean low temperature, but rather, on too low of a number. The highest numbers are the coolest. Fridges don’t normally have an integrated thermometer that automatically tells you what temperature it is, and their dial is not calibrated to a particular temperature, so you can’t just turn a dial to a number that says ’40 degrees.’ It’s somewhere between 3 and 4 on our fridge here. They *should* have an integrated thermometer, and not only that, they shouldn’t even ALLOW you to turn it to any number that will make it warmer than 40 degrees. You should have to purchase a specialized refrigerator intended for special purposes, such as deliberately growing particular types of mold and bacteria, which might require an exact temperature of 55 degrees or something, maybe for people who are culturing cheeses and other fermented foods and want to keep them at a cave-like, underground-like temperature or something. Nobody else on earth requires their foods to be at 50 degrees for any reason, unless the fridge is full of nothing but beer and non-spoiling liquids like soda. Fruit juices will spoil at that temperature. So people might argue that there are lots of people out there who use their fridges for keeping nothing but beer and soda, and those people ought to be entitled to keep their non-spoiling beverages in a 55 degree fridge.

But so many other people out there are ignorant and/or stupid. Not everyone has worked in a food service industry. Not everyone has taken a nutrition class or studied nutrition for decades as a hobby like I have. Not everyone is good at understanding organic chemistry. People DON’T UNDERSTAND that when food is higher than a certain temperature, there are enzymes and bacteria that start changing the chemical structure of the food so that it gradually becomes toxic to eat.

So, hundreds of millions of people buy fridges and they see that it’s capable of going all the way down to 1. They think, ‘Wow, if we have the option of turning the fridge all the way down to 1, think of how much energy we could save! Why would anyone ever want to keep their fridge on a higher setting than that? That’s just a waste of money! It uses more electricity!’ They assume that just because you CAN turn the fridge all the way down to 1, then it must be OKAY to turn it all the way down to 1! Nobody would build and sell a refrigerator that was capable of doing something that wasn’t okay to do! Nobody reads the manual, or even HAS the manual, especially when they live in an apartment and the fridge is already there. The manual might tell you what the various settings could be used for. How many hundreds of millions of people simply don’t know this at all?

It ought to be a law. It oughta be a law that fridges must include an integrated thermometer which is connected to the temperature setting dial, and that dial must not be physically capable of going to any setting warmer than 40 degrees (or whatever the exact specific number really is – it might be 38.5 degrees or something). You might set it COLDER than that, but not warmer.

Well, this has far-reaching consequences. Fridges were invented many decades ago. Maybe a long time ago they might have had an integrated thermometer that wasn’t capable of going below 40 degrees. I don’t know. Maybe back then people actually knew the right temperature to keep their fridges at. But now, they don’t know. People are buying food at the grocery store – where people *DO* know what temperature to keep food at! and bringing it home, where it spoils in a couple of hours after they buy it – basically, they might as well have just taken it home and set it on the counter instead of inside a fridge. The fridge is just a box or a shelf or a cabinet for putting food in, and it’s just a slightly coolish place.

If millions of people are eating spoiled, rancid fats and proteins, maybe that’s the reason why meats and fats have such a bad reputation. Maybe the government and the mainstream media are reporting that saturated fat is bad for you and causes heart attacks BECAUSE IT REALLY DOES CAUSE HEART ATTACKS if the fats are all spoiled and kept at room temperature, BUT NOT if the fats are fresh. This is just a hypothesis. It may have actually been true that when people ate McDonald’s foods back when the fries were cooked in beef tallow, they might have had heart attacks because the tallow was continuously held on high heat for days at a time, causing it to be destroyed. Fresh tallow may be good for you (I have not yet had a chance to buy grassfed tallow online and test my body’s reactions to it), but maybe not reused tallow being kept on a constant high temperature. This is just a theory. People then concluded that ALL tallow under ALL circumstances is ALWAYS bad for you.

So we’re being told for decades that healthy fats and healthy animal foods are bad for us, due to the fact that millions of refrigerators are on the wrong setting, thereby spoiling the food. For THOSE people, animal products really are bad. Millions of people become vegans and say that they stopped being sick all the time – BECAUSE THEIR FRIDGES WERE TOO WARM. It’s really true – people become vegans and say that they stopped having health problems when they switched to this diet. THAT WOULD BE TRUE if their fridges were causing all of their meats and dairy products and eggs to spoil and produce amines and other unhealthy toxic products of decomposition!!!

Fruits and vegetables and grains survive at room temperature without any refrigeration. This is the key. Meats and dairy products do not. In the grocery store, you can walk around the produce department and see piles of fresh vegetables and fruits kept on tables at room temperature. THIS IS THE KEY to why vegetarians claim that they suddenly stopped being sick all the time when they became vegetarians. Meats and dairy products spoil easily; people are too ignorant and uninformed to know that they have to CHOOSE their fridge setting WISELY, and they blindly put it on too low of a setting – even the ‘recommended’ setting of 3 is too warm!!! You can only find out by putting a thermometer in there. The fridge does not include its own integrated thermometer, and the dial has arbitrary ‘setting’ numbers (1-5) that are not calibrated with temperatures.

It’s not even a joke: people’s ignorance of fridge settings may actually be having global consequences at the social level. It may be misleading hundreds of millions of people to believe bad things about meats and dairy products. It may be causing millions of scientists and government organizations to tell us that meats should be eaten only in small quantities. THAT WOULD BE TRUE if all our meats and dairy products were rapidly spoiling and decomposing after only a couple hours in the fridge. So now we have this huge belief, this ‘fact,’ which is pervasive throughout our entire culture, saying meat and fat and dairy is bad for you – because SPOILED meat-fat-dairy is bad for you!

I’m sorry, but It Oughta Be A Law. Fridges must be physically incapable of going to any setting warmer than 40 (or whatever) degrees. Or 39.5 or whatever that magic number is. All those people who use their fridges for holding nothing but non-spoiling sodas and beers are just gonna have to suck it up and live with it. There are too many stupid people out there harming themselves and others with spoiled foods, causing all of our government and scientific and popular media to believe untrue things about meats and dairy products.

In the past, people *dried* their meats. In foreign countries where people don’t have electricity and refrigeration, that is what they do now. That was the way of preserving meats without a fridge. If only you dry them, they don’t spoil. Organ meats in particular spoil very quickly and have to be eaten immediately after the animal is killed, for freshness. I don’t know what they do with organ meats in foreign countries. I’ve never had the chance to experiment with attempting to preserve organ meats by drying, or preserve fats by rendering them.

I really want to tell the refrigerator manufacturers that they must stop this universal practice of making fridges with a 1-5 setting of meaningless arbitrary numbers. Don’t give people a choice. They are too ignorant to choose. (All the libertarians and Objectivists and anarchists and Ayn Rands out there are rolling over in their graves and/or chairs to hear me say this.) People are safer if they are prevented from having a choice about this particular thing. It ought to simply be a universal way of producing an appliance. People’s safety ought to be a higher priority than their freedom to choose.

All you have to do is make a universal production standard for refrigerators, where all of them are required to go no warmer than 40 degrees (or whatever the magic number is exactly), and to simply be incapable of being set for any warmer temp than that. Then they would sell, separately, a special refrigerator in a different category, called a ‘BEVERAGE COOLER,’ which would be set at 55 degrees or something, or would allow you to use any settings at all, and it would be clearly labeled as being intended for nothing but beer and soda and plain water and NO FRUIT JUICES because fruit juices do spoil at that temperature, and also milk – it couldn’t be used for milk – and if someone for some reason wanted to try growing molds and bacteria and fermenting foods in their fridges at 55 degrees, they could use a specialized Fermentation Fridge or something which was kept at that setting. Just divide the two categories of fridges so that they are clearly labeled and do not overlap, so that people who require a food, meat, and dairy fridge are incapable of purchasing a fridge that has a too-warm setting on it. ‘Fermentation Fridges’ and ‘Beverage Coolers’ would be designed totally differently and would not be for sale in the same location as food fridges.

I know it’s possible that somebody somewhere would want to be capable of using a fridge for some special purpose at 52 degrees (‘OMG! I’m a laboratory scientist, and the species of mold that I am researching must be grown at precisely 52 degrees, but woe is me, my fridge won’t let me keep it that warm!’), but the vast majority of people are clueless and are not using a fridge in that way, and are simply trying to ‘save money’ by keeping their fridges at 55 degrees and spoiling all their food, too stupid to observe that they become ill immediately whilst eating, because that’s how stupid everyone is – they’re swallowing their food and getting sick in the very process of eating, yet failing to observe that it’s happening, and then go around moaning and complaining or being in a bad mood because of how sick they are, and never seeing any connection.

I guess that’s the end of my rant. I actually defrosted my little fridge and threw away everything in it, then plugged it back in and put in a container of cream again so that I have something to drink today and tomorrow. I’m just going to let the fridge in the kitchen sit there at setting 3 (45 degrees or something) and just forget about it and go my own way. Just let it rot! Let it all rot. Let everything and everybody everywhere rot. I can’t do anything about it. All of society, everyone, everywhere, is doing something harmful and I can’t stop them from doing it.

I guess I should start getting ready for work. I’ve successfully packed *some*, but not all, of my belongings into garbage bags, without sorting through any of it. A lot of it must be thrown away, but I will do that later. For now, I will take it all with me.

I’m gonna make it. I’m going to survive. I’m going to be okay. My body will live. This is a stressful experience, and I don’t know where I will make my home yet, and nobody answered my replies to their craigslist apartment ads – probably blocked by hackers. But I need to do a decon. I don’t want to ruin the floor of another apartment. My dearest Jesse may have some on his shoes, but I will allow this, because I want him in my life. He’s not speaking to me at the moment. It was so wonderful and sweet those weeks when he was talking to me, when he’d text me or call me of his own initiative, when I’d text him and he’d answer back instead of ignoring me, when he’d come over for a visit or we’d go out to a movie and see ‘Edge Of Tomorrow’ and he’d do all this spoofing of the movie afterwards, what if this, what if that, creating a whole new story that’s funnier than the original, so that I wanted to record every word he said and make it into a parody of the movie. My dual. I hope, I hope he will see me again when I’ve found a new home. He may be avoiding me while I am in this transition. I think he avoids me when I’m having severe problems in my life because it just makes him feel helpless. I don’t know. Maybe, I hope, we will get it sorted out over the next few weeks. It was so sweet when he was with me. I don’t want to go another couple months fighting the battle of trying to reach him and him avoiding me… I was always so happy to see him.

I’ve got to get ready for work now.

Soon, tonight or tomorrow, I probably won’t have the internet at home anymore. The magic invisible internet will suddenly become
inaccessible. I believe it’s coming from my roommate’s computer upstairs, and when she unplugs her computer and packs it away, the internet will disappear too. I don’t know where else it would be coming from. It’s not, like, inside the walls or something. It’s not provided by the apartment building itself. So, I’ll go back to using the net in other public places instead.

Jalapeno crisps on McDonald’s jalapeno burgers cause weird sensations of the hot pepper opioid rush

July 24, 2014

10:28 PM 7/24/2014

I tried McDonald’s jalapeno McDouble today for the first time. The sandwich itself is pretty good, but there is a problem.

Just by themselves, without the sandwich, I tried some of the jalapeno crisps. I tried only a teensy piece, not sure how hot it would be.

I eat hot spicy foods frequently, but this has never happened to me before. I have heard legends of hot spicy foods giving you a rush of endogenous opioids, the body’s natural painkillers, sort of like a jogger’s high (which I have also never experienced, in spite of jogging a lot when I was young). I never experienced the rush from eating hot peppers. I just enjoy them, but not in an ‘opioid rush’ kind of way.

But this time, after eating only a tiny fragment of one little piece of a jalapeno crisp, my mouth was flooded with the weirdest sensation. It was burning, as expected, but it was something much weirder than that. It was a feeling of pleasure which was simultaneously unpleasant and horrible, a conflicting pleasure sensation which is impossible to describe. It was like, seriously, like a mouth orgasm, which went on and on and on for about five minutes after I ate the crisp. It was a weird, pleasant yet sickening, tingly tickly feeling of pleasure in the lining of my mouth, along with the burning pain. I have never, ever felt that before from eating jalapenos. It was only from eating this little fragment of a crisp.

Then, I started to feel dizzy, lightheaded, like I was going to pass out and like I was going to vomit. My mouth actually became unable to function, which was a problem because I was in drive thru taking orders, so I had to talk to the customers with a mouth that felt sludgy like I had been injected with Novocaine. My mouth wouldn’t move and wouldn’t form words properly. Again, this has *never* happened to me before from eating jalapenos. It’s not just from ‘not being used to it.’ I eat spicy foods occasionally or often without any problems at all. This was totally new and different.

And again, this was not really pleasant. It was actually kind of frightening, and it made me feel like I might vomit. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had eaten a bunch of those instead of one tiny piece – I really would have passed out and vomited.

So I became curious: what were the ingredients of these chips? I found the box and read it. Nothing special, just jalapenos, a little bit of oil, and a little bit of wheat flour. Nothing really unusual.

I think perhaps maybe they distilled the essence of jalapenos, like, dried jalapenos, or maybe distilled jalapeno oil – something much stronger than just normal jalapenos in their whole fresh form. Maybe they sprayed these chips with jalapeno oil, I don’t know. Whatever it was, it was wayyyyyy too strong.

Customers are already asking to buy these burgers without the jalapeno crisps on them.

I’d eat them with the regular tortilla chips instead, the ones on the barbecue ranch burger and southwest salad. I only recently started eating the barbecue ranch burgers, because we got a new container for the tortilla chips, a small container, so the chips don’t go stale anymore. People used to put them in a huge, open container, where they would dump an entire bag and then just let the entire bag go stale. I’d eat those chips and get charlie horses, which are caused by rancid oils in things that are stale and exposed to oxygen. Now that we only have a small container of chips open, they’re not stale anymore, so I’ve started eating the barbecue ranch burgers – only to see a little message saying that they were going to be taken off the menu! But anyway, those tortilla chips would be perfect for the jalapeno burger.

The weird mouth orgasm feeling didn’t happen again when I tried just a couple more tiny pieces of chips, and it didn’t happen when I cautiously put a few tiny chips onto the sandwich when I made one for myself. However, after getting a few bites into the sandwich, again I felt like I was lightheaded and was going to vomit and pass out. Whatever is in those chips, I dunno, it still has its effects even if you can’t really feel it because it’s mixed in with the sandwich. And I eat jalapenos all the time! It’s not a mere jalapeno that does this – it has to be something else, like distilled jalapeno oils or dried concentrated jalapeno powder, or something – something beyond a normal jalapeno. I don’t know if it’s a chemical change in the substance, or just a very highly concentrated form of it, which causes the strange reactions.

I don’t know if that sensation was the ‘opioid rush’ that people have always described from eating hot peppers, but I suspect that it probably is, and it’s not really pleasant. I mean, it sort of is, but it’s also very uncomfortable and connected to feelings of vomiting and fainting, which makes it not pleasant for me – I am emetophobic and I try to avoid vomiting at all costs. I’m probably scared of it because I have a small throat due to Weston Price face, skull, and jaw deformities, and when I was a child, when I would projectile vomit, I would feel like I couldn’t breathe and I was suffocating. Some people vomit easily without any fear, but I have never been one of those people. So I am not going to casually gulp down a bunch of
concentrated jalapeno oil to get an opioid rush, then vomit and pass out and say, ‘Ha ha! That was fun!’ which some people will do. But, well, I can say I’ve experienced it at least.

still severely incapacitated and frozen

July 24, 2014

2:20 PM 7/24/2014

I’m having a miserable day. I have completely failed at almost everything with regard to moving out of my apartment. The most I did towards moving my furniture was, I looked in the yellow pages of the phone book, which luckily I was able to find lying on my floor, and looked up garbage and rubbish removal. I know which one I would call. So it’s possible that I might be calling these people and having them come here early in the morning on Saturday.

Or maybe I will just quit, give up, and surrender, and let it happen. I will be charged a fee for leaving ‘my’ furniture here. I don’t know how much the fee will be. I don’t know what else will happen.

I’ve been suffering from severe incapacitation, lockup, freezing, being unable to move or take action. I am just helplessly, passively waiting for time to pass. I’m still dragging myself to work every day, successfully. I haven’t lost any jobs yet.

I could barely even sort through my belongings or put them into bags. They will be put into black garbage bags and then taken by taxi to the hotel, or that is what I believe will happen. Perhaps I should check into the hotel on FRIDAY night, so that I don’t have to try to check in on Saturday morning. That way it will be ready for me to move my stuff there in the morning of Saturday.

I’m suffering from severe fatigue and overwork, and too much soda drinking. And I didn’t have any milk this morning. Last night, I stuffed a bunch of things into my mini fridge. I had a medium sized pizza box in there too, but I had to set it a certain way so that it wouldn’t push the door open. I thought that I had it set up okay when I went to bed last night after putting the stuff in there. But when I woke up this morning, the door was open, the fridge thermometer said “60 degrees,” and so I would not drink the milk or eat the pizza. I know pizza can sit around for a while, but it had sausage and stuff on it, and I don’t feel comfortable about eating that.

I had to defrost the fridge, but if I had done it myself, I would have moved the stuff into the main fridge in the kitchen so I could still drink my milk.

The milk is no longer serving its original purpose. Originally, it was to help me quit caffeine. And yes, it’s true, ever since I started buying the quarts (or whatever they are) of organic half and half, I’ve stopped buying bottles of Starbucks Frappuccino, and that is a *very* good thing. I used to drink several bottles every night when I worked at TB – I would get two packs of four bottles each, and sometimes drink maybe five or six bottles in one evening. Now I just drink cream, and I don’t drink as much, and it costs less, and it’s organic, and it doesn’t cause sexual arousal, and it doesn’t have caffeine. The only problem is, it messes up my brain and makes me stupid. I am having some kind of reaction to the milk. I’d like to try drinking what’s known as A2 milk instead of A1 milk (it’s technical, has something to do with a protein in the milk) to see if I didn’t have this reaction. I keep repeatedly doing really stupid things and making stupid, annoying mistakes after drinking this milk.

For instance, yesterday at McD, I was taking orders on the headset. But several times, I interrupted someone else who was taking orders on another channel. When they told me that I was done taking orders, and all I had to do was let other people take the orders while I did nothing but take cash, I *still* tried taking orders, like three times, not just once or twice, but like three or four times, just being persistently stupid and making the same mistake over and over again. Oops, I know you’re taking orders now, sorry. Sorry again, I know you’re supposed to take the orders not me. Oops, did it again, OMG! Whoops, my bad, I did it again, sorry (you fucking retard, what’s wrong with you?). I do stuff like that after drinking the milk. I also was trying to say the word ‘powwow,’ and said the word ‘pawpaw’ instead, while talking to someone at TB, but I caught myself (or ‘they’ notified me of the mistake, either way).

I have to go to work now. So, this disaster of moving out: I’m going to find out what happens when you do everything wrong. It might cost a lot of money. I guess I could just ignore their requests for money, but that would harm my reputation at future apartments, probably. Well, anyhow. I’m going to survive. I hate being stuck in fatigue and apathy and being incapacitated. It is severe, total,
all-encompassing helplessness making me unable to do any of the tasks I need to do.

Unable to get this apartment cleaned out – stuck, frozen

July 22, 2014

7:24 PM 7/22/2014

I’m going to spend a little while writing a blog.

This has been a long day of torture. I’ve been sick the last couple days with diarrhea and sometimes almost vomiting, but not quite. People have been calling off sick from McD, so McD has been calling me and/or sending facebook messages begging me to come in. I feel guilty because I absolutely cannot go in now. I have to do my own stuff at home, and I have too little time for that already. I think there’s a virus going around and other people have it too, which is why everyone is calling off sick. We desperately need people at McD. I’m half tempted to write a craigslist ad begging people to come to work there, even though I’m not really authorized to advertise jobs on behalf of McD.

I have to be out of here on the 26th, which is only a couple days from now. In some ways, this is no big deal. I’m not gonna die. But in other ways, it’s a huge big deal and I’m horribly stressing out about it and I’m frozen with terror and anxiety, unable to do anything useful.

I’ve been responding to a couple craigslist ads for apartments near here, but they haven’t written back to me. I need to reemphasize, this is not as much of a huge big deal as it might seem to most people, because I was homeless for over two years, I lived in my car, I camped in a tent, and I spent some time sleeping in a hotel. It won’t be the end of the world if I am temporarily homeless again. It’s just inconvenient and stressful.

I have to move out, while simultaneously working a lot of hours at my job. As a result of being frozen and in denial, I was unable to take action, so I could not tell work in advance that I wanted a couple days off this week so I could move; also, I was affected by all the other people calling off sick, our extremely small crew to begin with, and the fact that I got in trouble not too long ago for calling off sick when I worked at the Nittany Mall McD, when I sort of quit and sort of got fired. I wasn’t really reprimanded for that, I just got a piece of paper with my crew review on it, where they tell you how you’re doing at various things, and it mentioned on there that I was having a problem with calloffs. So I was reluctant to call off even a few days in advance. Nobody can really replace me – we’re so shorthanded already. Today, I went so far as to just outright ignore their call and not even call them back, because I was afraid I’d be tempted to go in, when I really, really need to work on my own stuff here at home, desperately.

I just have to sort through my belongings and throw some stuff away and decide what I’m keeping. I don’t have much stuff. However, even the little bit that I have requires a lot of thought and effort to sort through, especially when I am sick, fatigued, under stress, and panicking.

Also, there is another problem. I’m subletting for someone. Those people brought in junky old wooden furniture and then left it here. Sure, that was nice for me in the beginning, but now I’m obligated to get rid of it. Fortunately, I’m on the ground floor, so I don’t have to carry it down a bunch of stairs. The furniture is not really nice enough to give to a used furniture store – it has little scratches and dents and stuff in the wood, and it’s old-looking. I can’t leave the furniture here in the apartment. If I do, I will surely be charged a fee for them to haul it away, and I don’t know how much that fee will be, because I’ve never been stupid enough to do something like that before. I’m not doing it because I want to, I’m doing it because I was caught by surprise when I suddenly discovered that I have to move out. If I had known it months in advance, I would have gotten rid of this stuff ages ago. Or… maybe not, I don’t know. If I had my way, I never would have had it here to begin with, not during my ongoing decontamination and the temporariness of my living situation.

I’m going to do my long, double-job workdays for the next couple days, starting tomorrow, which makes it even more impossible for me to do anything else at home.

So tonight, after I finish this blog, I’m going to sort through some more stuff. I just wanted to take a break and complain.

I had a *very* distressing incident with Jesse. The other day, we were going to try to get together and see each other on one of my days off. But then Jesse decided to wait and stay home because he wasn’t feeling well – he was either physically ill, or having a panic attack, or something. I don’t know exactly what happened to him.

A few minutes later, someone knocked on my door. I got all happy and excited thinking it was Jesse, that he changed his mind and decided he felt well enough to come over. I opened the door, smiling, and saw that it was Steve. Steve had actually left two phone messages, but I hadn’t listened to them yet. He had told me that he wanted to take me to a Native American powwow which was at DelGrosso amusement park in Tipton, a few miles down the road from here, out of town.

I was surprised, and I rationalized to myself that I probably wasn’t going to get to see Jesse at all today anyway, since he wasn’t feeling well, and I couldn’t predict when or if we would be able to get together. That was probably a mistake. In my mind, I really wanted to be with Jesse and was doubtful about going somewhere with Steve. Going to a powwow did sound interesting, since I like primitive cultures and tribes and Native Americans (although they weren’t really ‘primitive’ as much as I would have wanted – they were not really authentic). And I knew it would be fun to get out of town. Jesse had never really said explicitly that I couldn’t hang around with Steve as a friend. I’ve explained to him about Steve, about how we did sometimes have a sexual relationship last year before I met Jesse, but I stopped having sex with him because of Jesse. So I sent him a message saying that I was going to go to this powwow with Steve.

I only realized afterwards that this was a really, really stupid thing to do. Jesse and I do not really have a strong, stable, solid relationship yet. We both are still having some problems with our relationship and our personal lives. Jesse has physical and mental health issues that prevent him from keeping a job for a long time, and he’s in between jobs again now, which is extremely stressful for him. He’s living at home with his family and I’m sure they probably don’t just give him infinite free money to do whatever he wants. And I don’t like it when he doesn’t have a job, because he doesn’t like to let me pay for him. So we end up not spending time together because I offer to pay for him and he wants to avoid letting me do that, so he ends up just staying away from me when he’s unemployed, rather than letting me pay. I’d *much* rather pay for him than just not spend time with him. And we don’t have to always go somewhere that involves money, either – just taking a walk together would be fine, anything at all. But even so, he’s harder to reach when he’s unemployed, and he’s much happier and more optimistic when he’s employed.

So right now he’s unemployed, and he was sick that day, and he had wanted to see me, but then decided he couldn’t. That was the moment when I said yes to going out somewhere with Steve, out of town. Steve was using the shared car from his apartment – it’s not really his car, and he doesn’t have it for an infinite length of time. So he’s not going to just take me away forever and run away with me. But even so, he took me to the powwow, out of town, and I ended up staying there all day long, for like six hours or so, much longer than I expected.

It was really, really thoughtless and stupid of me to let Steve take me out at that moment, but I didn’t think of it, I thought everything was okay. But I think that really had a lot to do with what happened later on. After I got home I sent Jesse another message and he ended up coming over to see me. But he was having his mental phenomena, and I didn’t know if he was just sick that day, or if prescription drugs and/or withdrawal had something to do with it, or if he was angry at me or something. We had a strange misunderstanding, and he ended up leaving, and I was really upset so I followed him home to make sure he was okay because I was worried about him (he was walking on foot – he lives pretty close to me). I decided that part of the reason he was in such an awful mood was because I had gone away with Steve on a day when Jesse was sick and weak and having his own problems and needing me, and I wasn’t there, all day long, for six or seven hours, when I had wanted to be spending time with him.

So now… Jesse isn’t talking to me. 😦 I have a feeling that he might talk to me again after I get settled into a new place, but right now, he’s keeping to himself.

Meanwhile, the Indian powwow sucked, on so many levels that I can’t even begin to describe them all. I typed it as SLE. The guy doing the announcements, the guy who organized it all, was a SLE. The whole idea of a ‘tribe’ and ‘tribal traditions’ is SLE. That’s fine with me, I just didn’t like the way this particular stuff was done.

First, all the costumes were horrid beyond horrid. They had all this fake, gaudy, clashing, brightly colored fabric and fancy stuff, nothing at all like the primitive clothing that real Native Americans would have worn hundreds of years ago. So this is a ‘developing tradition’ or something like that. I can’t even describe it all and don’t really want to. I don’t even really want to explain why it offends me so much. It was just absolutely horrible. I would prefer, for instance, natural colors, natural leather, seashells instead of metal clinky things, real feathers instead of fake feathers bought at the store, natural dyes instead of modern dyes, and so on – everything primitive and made from the land, not bought in the store.

Then, they had people dancing on a grassy area. But it wasn’t a choreographed dance, it was just a bunch of random people dancing at the same time near each other, but with no real interaction with the other dancers, and it was supposed to be a ‘contest’ that was being ‘judged.’ The announcer kept saying things like, ‘These guys are some GREAT dancers. They sure can dance! Let’s give them a hand!’ They had both men and women dancing, taking turns, but no women were singing, only men, and that bothered me – I’ve noticed that I really enjoy the sound of women’s voices, and I can’t really relate to music if it only has men’s voices and no women’s voices. So it was all this male singing and drumming. All the songs sounded the same to me. All of them were boring.

The dances had really stupid names, too. There was the ‘Fancy Shawl’ dance, which, they said, wasn’t traditional, it was new – and it was stupid. They had the ‘Jingle Dress’ dance, too, which was also stupid and boring. Obviously, their names are self-explanatory. A woman wears either a fancy brightly colored (horribly ugly and gaudy and clashing) shawl, which she waves around while dancing, or a jingly dress covered in little metal things, which go ‘clink! clink! clink!’ when she moves. The men’s dances seemed a little more real and authentic. There was the ‘Grass Dance,’ where the men pretend to be stomping down the long grass, which, they said, people would have done in the old days to make a flat spot for dancing on. There was also the ‘Sneakup’ or something like that, where you pretend to be hunting and sneaking up on an animal. Or ‘Sneak Attack,’ maybe. I could google it, I guess. Those were okay. There was a woman’s dance where she is supposed to be ‘beautiful and dignified,’ but I have a feeling that in the real world, when the women were dancing, it wasn’t all about being beautiful and dignified. I’ve done some youtube watching of primitive, traditional, native African dances, and it’s these half naked or mostly naked woman shaking their asses around and being openly sexual. I’m guessing Native American dances might have been like that too, but we’re not putting on those kinds of dances at a public powwow full of Christian Americans.

It was interesting to notice the different races of Native Americans. I don’t know where they all came from, but I noticed that some of them had brown skin and kinky hair. Their hair was in a braid, so I couldn’t see what it looked like when it was loose, so I don’t know how much of an afro texture it had. Some of them were obviously people who had mixed blood with Africans, but others looked like they were a race of their own that just happened to have brown skin and kinky black hair, while not looking African. I didn’t go up to these people and ask them what race/tribe they were from.

I was offended by the irony at the end when they held up a big American Flag and made a big show of walking it out of the arena. Glory to the invaders who almost completely destroyed our entire race of people and took our land from us! There were some t-shirts for sale that expressed an attitude which I agreed with, different from the ‘glory to the flag’ attitude – the t-shirts said things like ‘Fighting Terrorism Since 1492,’ and showed a bunch of Natives (who had guns in the photo though). Some of the shirts implied the truth, that we whites took their land from them by invasion.

I just would have preferred: natural materials from the stone age (except for Great Lakes copper, and other places that had some copper which was right on the surface of the ground where people could find it without mining). And I would have preferred some kind of cooperative dancing, rather than a bunch of people randomly dancing around, in a group but alone, ‘competing’ against each other. I mean, what the fuck: this is a TRIBE. People have to behave as though they know each other and they’re interacting with each other! I realize that the dancers came from many different tribes. But still, the whole point of anything tribal is to ACT LIKE A TRIBE, not to act like a bunch of strangers who’ve never met and aren’t interacting with each other at all. There was no unity, no choreography, no interaction between the dancers, no cooperation. They really were all just running around in the grassy area doing their own individual separate dances, alone but together.

I also saw some offensive contradictions. For instance, there were a bunch of books for sale in one of the tents. The area was surrounded by tents selling jewelry, furs, and other stuff. If I weren’t doing a decon, I’d have wanted to buy a bunch of furs, but oh well. You can’t buy furs while doing a decon, only disposable things. Furs come from an animal and cannot be casually tossed in the garbage. Also, I don’t know how they were preserved, and they might have used chemicals.

Anyway, there was this book with a very offensive story in it. A missionary had gone to some tribe of natives, and he had rewritten the Christ story for them, dumbed-down to the Stupid Indian level. So… ugh… I can’t even talk about this. There was a native American baby born, near the Great Lakes or something, here in the USA, and (how the hell are we supposed to reconcile this with the OTHER Christ story, anyway??? Are BOTH stories true??? What happens when Native Americans go to church and find out that actually, there was a baby just like theirs, but born in Bethlehem, and he’s the REAL son of God, not THEIR baby? You can’t have both!)… and some people came from far away, and they brought him gifts like beaver pelts. Oh my god it was offensive! It was a little illustrated children’s book. Apparently this story had been written by a missionary a long time ago. They were selling THIS BOOK that was designed to brainwash Native Americans to make them more receptive to the brain-programming of the invaders bringing Christianity and telling them they shouldn’t be dancing naked and shaking their asses in public, and they should all cut their hair short.

I think it might have been in ‘The World Until Yesterday’ by Jared Diamond, where I read this. Cultures that had animal herding (sheep, shepherds, etc) tended to be very strict and authoritarian. Taking care of their animals was extremely important, and you had to be obedient, and don’t open the gate, and don’t let them loose, and you have to keep track of your wealth, and your wealth is measured in how many animals you own, and your children inherit your wealth.

Hunter-gatherers did not have that same authoritarian outlook. They tended to be more socially equal. Everyone had similar belongings. There were some differences in wealth, but not so much. People didn’t have much of a reason to steal things from somebody else. They tended to share childraising, so that your child is like someone else’s child, and can go over to their house and eat dinner with them, and their child eats dinner at your house, and so on. Husbands can have more than one wife, and wives can have more than one husband, and they can have children with different people – there are some places where a man will raise another man’s son like it was his own. You’re not all worried that some woman is going to get pregnant and then demand that you give her and her child lifelong child support money and all your family’s inheritance.

So it takes a lot of genocide to slam this idea into people’s brains when they didn’t already have the authoritarian, obedient, Christian lifestyle.

There were some good things about it. I believe there should be some attempt to preserve native traditions. I also believe there is a need for people to live on the land without owning it, but that applies to white people as well as native people – white people shouldn’t have to pay rent and taxes either. People need autonomy regardless of what race they are. People don’t have enough autonomy and need more of it, once again regardless of their race – white people are complaining that they hate the government and feel that the government doesn’t represent them and is, instead, a parasitic group of people taking power by force, stealing money by force, and doing things we wouldn’t want them to do by force – as though all of us, including the white invaders, are the victims of this evil parasitic government, which is a separate species from us, a hostile non-human species taking over the world, and we whites are fellow sufferers trying to escape from the tyranny just like the natives are. It’s just harder to see the difference just by looking, because the government is made of white-looking people who look similar to their white-skinned victims. It’s white people owning white slaves.

Oh well, I think I’m about done ranting.

I’m going to go to work for a couple long days. I won’t be able to do anything. I’m starting to think that what’s really going to happen is this: I’m going to abandon the furniture here in the apartment, and, on the day when I must leave, I will pack my bags into a taxicab and go to the hotel, then sort of finish my decontamination, and then go someplace else from there. However, I don’t have this timeline planned out, so I don’t know how long I’d stay at the hotel. It would be wonderful to live with Jesse and see him every day and learn about everything he does and make food for him every day. But he isn’t ready to let me in. I will have to get something on my own first, I think. I could live with him every day, see everything he does, hear what he says, get to know him, understand him, see the truth of what he’s really like, understand what he’s experiencing and what makes his life so difficult, understand what makes him have attacks of physical and mental illness, see what kinds of things he likes to watch on TV, and just love him like a normal human being, and be close to him. Maybe sometime, not yet though.

Germ-phobic bathroom designers: Air vents are a MUST, but you never put them in! Noroviruses in the air sicken far more people than germs on the doorknobs.

July 19, 2014

I just changed clothes in our fully automated, touchless, germ-phobic bathroom at McD, and while I was in there, I had the privilege of hearing and smelling some unfortunate person puking their guts out in the next stall, which means that I now have the virus. The
germ-phobic bathroom designers need to get their priorities straight. It’s not ‘Ewwww, my hand just touched a molecule of somebody else’s pee-pee on the doorknob, ewww, shudder shudder.’ Instead it’s ‘Ewwww, I just inhaled 10,000 norovirus particles because the person in the next stall was puking their guts out, but since there’s no air movement AT ALL, even though there seems to be a non-functioning vent up in the ceiling which is doing nothing at all, then those viruses will float in the bathroom, and float out into the lobby where people are eating, all day long forever afterwards.’ Now that’s REAL germ phobia that actually MATTERS. Get your fucking priorities straight, and make a strong vent with both an intake and an outlet so that large amounts of air flow quickly, freely, constantly, and easily through the bathroom, at all times of year, winter and summer, no matter what, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll take your ‘germ phobia’ bullshit more seriously. Virus particles floating in the air sicken millions of people, but you can’t even make a bathroom air vent that actually works. Wake the fuck up, people. I’ll probably have to go home in a couple hours because of this.

Newly rebuilt McDonald’s store fiasco – an extremely long rant about stuff that went wrong or is hard to use. And this list isn’t even done yet – there’s a lot more that I didn’t even write.

July 19, 2014

6:34 AM 7/19/2014

The people responsible for this fiasco are anonymous and far away, unable to be reached with hundreds of frantic phone calls at all hours of the day and night, which they deserve. I don’t know who they are. They will never know the consequences of their actions, because we can’t inform them. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people who are directly and indirectly responsible for this, and they can’t all be told, but they should be.

I’m talking about the brand new rebuilt McDonald’s store.

I mentioned the fiasco to the store manager at TB, and she said she had a similar experience when she helped open a brand new TB store in another city. I didn’t quite hear everything she said and wanted to ask her about it but never had a chance to. She said, for example, their brand new sliding window for the drive-thru got stuck and couldn’t be opened and no one could figure out what was wrong with it, so they just couldn’t use the drive thru. Huge, essential things that are central to running the business, basically, not little things.

This is some kind of fundamental assumption or fundamental way of viewing things. There is this assumption that of course it’s normal for a brand new building or a brand new appliance to malfunction on its first run.

But Honda and Toyota never had that assumption. My dad always bought Toyotas because Consumer Reports listed them as the most reliable in terms of quality. We never had breakdowns. It is possible, and desirable, and worthwhile, to build things that function properly on the first try, and also function properly forever afterwards without a single malfunction throughout the life of the equipment until finally things just start to wear out completely and break down for real. There should be zero malfunctions in a brand new appliance. Toyota isn’t as good as it used to be, and there are reasons why, and Toyota will probably continue to slide downhill into poor quality over the years, I believe. But there was a time in the past when it had quality, and it wasn’t that long ago, and we still remember. These reputations for quality change over time. Perhaps Ford and Chevy used to have a reputation for quality, fifty years ago maybe.

When and how did it start being taken for granted as normal that, of course, everything malfunctions repeatedly, over and over and over again, forever, throughout the life of the appliance, and this is normal and okay and fine and nobody minds this?

Is it union workers? Are unions the reason why this happens? Unions are the reason why the American auto companies died. Well, one of many reasons – it’s more complicated than that, but unions are one of the primary reasons why they died.

I’m going to try to list the things that have gone wrong with our new store. But I have a bad memory and don’t know them all. Some of them are kind of trivial. However, when you add them all up, even the trivial things are extremely annoying, because a hundred trivial things are going wrong simultaneously, so that no matter where you turn, no matter where you look, some small trivial thing is going wrong.

Some of it really is mere ‘adjustment,’ or whatever the word is (that’s not the word, but I’m not going to remember it): getting used to something. Acclimation? I’m starting to adjust to certain aspects of the layout of the new store and don’t mind them so much. However, the differences in design between the new store and the old store were very noticeable at first, and I didn’t like them when I wasn’t used to them. It’s valuable to be conscious of what those differences are, during a time when they are still fresh in your mind and you’re able to remember them.

Some of my complaints and difficulties are about that sort of thing, things which I am slowly adjusting to and which seem to be not that bad after you get used to them. Sometimes, these subtle things can slip by you, and over time, they might ‘nickel and dime you to death.’ Perhaps they add up, if you forget too many of them. Perhaps you need to know what they are. Over time, the designs change and evolve, but there was a time, decades and decades ago, when McD was a tiny place that served pretty much nothing but hamburgers. The store design would have been very different back then, and over time, those differences became huge. Working at a nothing-but-burgers factory would be a completely different experience.

This is not ‘comparing apples and oranges.’ It’s a meaningful comparison. What valuable things might we learn by looking all the way back in history to when McD was a tiny place serving only burgers? There are people who are still interested in learning how to make arrowheads out of flint (I’m one of those people) because it is still, right now, in 2014, a valuable and useful thing to do. It might be worthwhile to look back to how McD began.

Did they borrow all their money back then? We still had a tiny fragment of a gold standard back then, as in, it was possible to exchange a piece of gold for a fixed amount of money. The money system was different back then. Interest rates were different. Did McD become great by constantly borrowing millions of dollars? Most small businesses, in the beginning, save up their own money and invest it back into the business, instead of constantly borrowing huge amounts of money to constantly expand the business. Nowadays, nobody (as in, no businesses) saves money by just keeping it in a bank account, because bank accounts don’t earn interest due to the (insert long list of vulgar and obscene epithets) banking system nowadays. So they borrow money instead.

But I wasn’t going to talk all about how the banking system influences the business world. Business is done very differently nowadays because of the banking system, that’s all. It’s worthwhile to imagine what would happen if McD stopped borrowing millions of dollars to expand its business, and instead used nothing but its own saved money to expand the business. Everything would be done very differently as a result.

Perhaps they would care more. Perhaps it would *matter* when you built a brand new, spotlessly new, perfect, BRAND NEW STORE, and then saw that almost all of the equipment was malfunctioning in some way or another. It would be viewed as a horrible and unthinkable thing that absolutely could not ever, ever under any circumstances be allowed to happen, because it’s *OUR MONEY* and we can’t afford to just throw it away on garbage equipment that doesn’t work. There’s a lack of attachment to the money, a lack of responsibility for the store – nobody really owns it, nobody really cares about it, nobody really owns the money that built it, it’s just a vague and faraway
abstraction.

I don’t remember how long it took to build all the other stores in town. All of them got rebuilt before ours did. With all of them, they built the new store next to the existing store while the existing store was still operating. But our site was different. For unknown reasons, they could not build next to the old store. I don’t know why, maybe they didn’t own that part of the parking lot or something, so they didn’t have enough room to do it. So they had to knock down our store and build on the same site.

Maybe that made them feel like they had to hurry. The store was completely shut down, so they had to hurry to get it rebuilt quickly. Maybe, with all the other stores in town, they had a little more time to get it up and running properly because they still had an old store which was open and still making profits. I don’t know. I don’t remember how many months it took them to build all the other stores, whether they took longer or about the same amount of time as ours, whether ours might have been rushed. I haven’t talked to people in other stores to ask them if *their* new store openings were as much of a horrible fiasco as ours has been.

But it is indeed a worldview. I’ve experienced something different. I’ve experienced Toyota in its heyday. (Yes, I just used the word ‘heyday’ in a sentence.) At the peak of its glory. During the time when it was still good. I’ve also experienced other things and can compare them to nowadays – for instance, a computer running Windows 98 is much faster and lighter and less bulky (in its operation, not in its physical body) than a computer running Windows 7. A Windows 98 computer is much more pleasant to use. A computer running programs written in assembly language is SO FAST that you cannot even see any time passing between the moment when you push a button and the moment when something happens. Instant response. As fast as the speed of electricity.

I have this worldview that says Old Toyota is the way things should be. There have been many articles written talking about how things were done at Toyota, to try to understand why their business worked so well, what they were doing right. So there are other people out there who feel that this is a desirable way to do things. But there are other people who do not feel that way. Even while Toyota was at its best, there were people who just dismissed the fact that Toyotas never broke down from the moment you bought them and for many, many, many years afterwards. They’d point to some 1970s Chevy that was still on the road and say that Chevys are great.

But that 1970s Chevy has been repaired thousands of times by owners who have their own garage and their own tools and free time and enjoy constantly repairing a car that breaks down regularly once a week. A Toyota, on the other hand, could have been bought by a clueless driver who had no knowledge, no garage, no tools, no skill at all, who never fixed it themselves and never did anything except drive it and change the oil once in a while and fill the tank with gas, and there would have been zero breakdowns from day one to decade two.

I’m exaggerating a little bit – the old Chevys would have probably been better than the modern ones. If you buy a modern Chevy today, expect a trivial breakdown of some random thing within the first week – the flibbertygadget overheated and needs to be replaced, the doxiflome sensor is malfunctioning and it’s making the ‘check engine’ light come on, etc, etc, etc, etc, all the way up to things that are more serious in the engine and will cause it to not run. This will happen for the first few months that you own the Chevy. After a year, it won’t be trivial stuff anymore, it will be that the so-and-so has completely rusted out after only a year and has totally crumbled and it’s no longer safe to drive, the brakes fail and you die, and that kind of thing.

The people who claim American cars are better than Toyotas tend to be racists who don’t like anything made by people in foreign countries, and that is part of their reasoning for why American cars are great. Those other cars are bad because they’re made by Asian people. We want to be on the winning team! Yay America! (And then, the inevitable endless arguments: ‘Well, but this piece and that part came from China and was assembled in the United States and then sent back to China and blah blah blah and made on the same assembly line as the cars from that company, blah blah…’ No need for hairsplitting – it’s true, there is no clearly drawn line saying that one car was 100% made by one country, and another car was 100% made by another country.)

I don’t care if my appliances are made by the Klingons, I just want them to work.

I guess I’ll start the list. As I said above, some of this stuff is a real malfunction, and other stuff is just design differences that I’m slowly getting used to, which might be better or worse in some ways than the old design, which have their pros and cons but are not an obvious equipment failure or malfunction. All of these things are happening at the same time, which is overwhelming and extremely stressful to everyone and has greatly reduced our quality of worklife, and meanwhile, we don’t have enough employees either. So you see some disaster that desperately needs to be dealt with, and you have to run past it and do something more urgent instead. This list is in no particular order and mixes together all the serious problems, trivial nuisances, and design changes as I remember them. I’ll be gradually remembering more things to add to this list.

*************************************

1. The store is bigger, longer (design change). We used to have an L-shaped table where we made the food. This was bad – nobody liked the L-shaped table. We had a weird store and had to use our space differently, and we had a basement. Nobody liked having a basement and having to move stuff up and down the stairs. We have no basement now, which is nice. We have a big storage room which is on the same floor as everything else.

However, you have to run a long distance in some places where there used to be a short distance. The cash window and the food pickup window in drive thru are now farther apart than they used to be, so that three cars can be lined up there, when it used to only be two cars long. You’d have one car at the pickup window, and one at the cash window, and that was all. Now, it’s so long that you can have one car at the pickup window, one car in between them at a blank wall with no windows (that’s a problem!), and one car at the cash window.

We used to be able to run from the cash window (where I often work, taking orders on headset and taking cash) all the way up to the fry station to push buttons to make the beeping stop. The new fry vat beeps more often than the old one. It beeps ALL THE TIME. You simply cannot satisfy that thing. No matter how often you walk past it and push the buttons, it will be beeping again thirty seconds from now. We must hire a new person who specializes in fry vat operation who gets paid to stand in front of the !#$!@$ fry vat staring at it for eight hours constantly pushing its buttons to make the beeping stop. This is annoying, but it’s another design change (and ought to be listed separately), not a malfunction.

Anyway, we used to run from the back window to the front, to help with french fries, to help bagging stuff, making drinks, etc. Not really an option now. The person at the back window is trapped there, because they have to run so far in any direction to get to any other station that they cannot possibly help anybody else with anything, and they exist in their own private little universe.

2. Fry vat design change. I said I ought to list this item
separately. It beeps a lot more now. It filters itself repeatedly throughout the day, which is both nice, and annoying. We had to learn how to use it, but we’re getting used to it. This is actually not that bad. But it does beep too much, and we don’t have enough people to push the buttons all day long. People are always busy doing something else, so we have constant meaningless background beepings.

3. The in-between car trapped in drive thru without a window on a blank wall. We have people ALL THE TIME who just drive past the cash window – especially if nobody is there at the window because we’ve run off somewhere trying to help someone who desperately needs help, since we’re so understaffed, rather than just standing there twiddling our thumbs at the cash window doing nothing while other people frantically run around doing useful things. They see there’s no one at the window and so they just go on by the window. Normally, we could catch them at the next window and tell them to pay. But right now, someone else is at the pickup window. The unpaid person is trapped against a blank wall. So we have two cars in line – one getting their food at the pickup window, and one who is in between the windows.

(*Design Requirement: make a store that can be operated by an extremely small skeleton crew. Having a person who ‘specializes’ in doing nothing but twiddling their thumbs back at the drive thru window requires us to keep larger numbers of people on the clock at all times so that somebody somewhere can actually do some kind of useful work. We DON’T HAVE all those extra people we need, so our store is not functioning properly. The machine has all these essential pieces missing.*)

Meanwhile, a third person pulls up to the cash window and wants to pay. What do you do? Do you pay out their order? If you pay out their order while the person in front of them is unpaid, it changes the order of the orders on the screens up front. People will start making the order that’s been paid for, and they will expect to hand out this order to the next car in line – the wrong order, to the wrong person, the person who’s trapped there at the blank wall in between with no windows. So you have to run up to the front and tell everybody ‘DON’T HAND OUT THAT ORDER! IT’S OUT OF ORDER! IT HASN’T BEEN PAID!’

The computer screen turns an order green if something gets moved. So you can look at it and see right away that something got out of order. But usually, this is meaningless and unimportant and has already been sorted out, so we are learning to ignore it when it turns green! Usually, it happens when people order at our parallel-lane drive thru at the same time, and the wrong person gets in line first. The cash person will pay for the right order, by looking at the photograph of the car on the order to see which car it belongs to (there should be a much more foolproof method than this – that’s the key word: FOOLPROOF – because this method often fails – cars sometimes look a lot alike, and I sometimes pay out the wrong car if two white SUVs are in line next to each other, etc). The order up at the front screen turns green to say it was out of order, but no worries – somebody just pulled ahead in line first, so we don’t need to take any action. Just make sure you hand out the right order to the right person. It’s easy to see that you have to make a particular order first. That’s not a problem and the system works fairly well.

That’s not the same as what happens if somebody drives past the window without paying, then you pay out the person behind them. You have to go up front and explain to everybody involved that this is NOT the usual situation of somebody pulling ahead in line at the place where two parallel lanes are beside each other and they merge. The only thing you can do to prevent confusion is to just refuse to take the money from the person at your window, too. But I don’t like to do that. And sometimes it happens by accident without your knowledge of it. You see this isn’t the same car as the one in the photo, so you click the next order, thinking to yourself that they just switched places when they merged, and then you find out a moment later that there’s an unpaid car in between the two windows, and you just took the next person’s money without knowing that had happened.

I joked about this last night with the store manager. I said there should be some kind of stop sign that tells people not to drive past the cash window without paying. I said it ought to be just like one of those stop signs that comes out the side of a yellow school bus, and he said that was exactly what he was imagining. (He’s an ILI by the way. We’ve known each other and been friendly with each other for many years – he started working at the Nittany Mall McD right around the same time I got hired there in 2004 or 2005 or whenever it was.)

You could just use the headset to tell people up front that the next car hasn’t been paid out yet, and tell them not to let them leave, but…. there are problems with the headsets, and so your message might not get through. You’re better off just running full speed up to the front of the store on foot and telling them in person.

4. The headsets. Oh my god, the fucking headsets. Design changes.

I hated some things about the old headsets. There are no nice words to describe the old ones we had. ‘Pieces of shit’ might be the nicest thing I could say, and those pieces of shit cost hundreds of dollars each. You couldn’t hear anything on the old ones and had to constantly ask people to repeat themselves. The beep was so loud, it probably caused permanent hearing loss. But the voices were so quiet, in contrast with the beep, so you had to keep the volume turned up loud anyway: it needed a SEPARATE VOLUME CONTROL FOR THE BEEP VOLUME AND THE VOICE VOLUME! but did not have that. It only had one volume control for everything. So if you turned up the volume to hear the voices, you’d also turn up the deafeningly loud beep and the deafeningly loud crackling static, which also shouldn’t have been there. I hated the painfully loud beeps on those old headsets. But, you could hear it…. (hint, hint).

I always want to take the headset off my ear and just leave it on my head but not covering my ears. I have some minor hearing
difficulties. If one ear is covered up, I can’t hear anything people are saying to me in the real world (the real world, as opposed to voices over the headset). So I move the headset off my ear just a few inches and I can hear everyone again. With the old loud-beep headsets, this was fine. I’d hear the beep if that thing was ten feet away from me, so I could still hear it when the headset wasn’t directly on my ear.

You could see that the old ones were badly assembled. There was one piece of plastic inserted into another piece of plastic, and sometimes, the piece of plastic would be inserted into the right place, and other times, the pieces would just be jammed together with the ends not clicking together. It was an ‘insert tab A into slot B’ kind of thing, and tab A would be jammed into slot B in such a way that part of the tab just stuck outside and didn’t form a proper joint. This varied between headsets, so that some of them were assembled properly and others weren’t. I suspected this might make a difference in the reception, so that the ones you couldn’t hear very well on might be the ones that were improperly assembled, but I never really documented this for sure.

You could also see that the old ones were made with different types of parts. Some of them had a yellow on/off button, and we all liked the yellow button headsets. We prized them and sought them out, because those were the only ones you could hear anything on. On the yellow button headsets, usually all the buttons worked.

There were headsets with a red on/off button, and you couldn’t hear anything at all on those, so we had dozens of red button headsets that always just hung on the hooks and never got used (despite our having spent all that money on them), while people would take off their own ‘good’ headset and give it to the next person at the shift change, rather than taking it off and setting it aside or hanging it up. We actually stuck stickers on all the headsets saying ‘good’ and ‘bad’ so that people could easily grab one without taking five minutes to test it and see if it worked or not. When you came in and started working drive-thru, you had to ask who had the headset with the yellow button, and ask them if they were willing to surrender that headset so you could use it. Sometimes you just had to give up and take a bad headset because somebody else was already using the good one.

Some of the red buttons stuck out, like, half an inch (okay, exaggerating). There were a rare few red ones that were embedded into the headset the way they should be. The buttons stuck out ON THE INSIDE facing you, pressing against your head, so that if you jiggled the headset out of place at all, it would push the off button and shut itself off, usually while you were in the middle of taking an order and the customer was talking and you had just pushed a button so you could speak to them. In my opinion, it looked as though the factory worker had put the piece in upside down. It looked like the part that was supposed to be on the outside had somehow been turned backwards and put to the inside. But the yellow buttons were always properly embedded into the headset and did not stick out enough to bump into your head and shut themselves off. Again, these were the old headsets, and we all passionately hated them.

But they had a few good things. Sometimes, once in a while, if you got a headset that was properly assembled and working right, it would have a lock button that would let you just keep talking into the microphone and letting the customer hear you, and you wouldn’t have to stand there holding the button down to talk to them. Often, this lock button didn’t work. It varied between headsets, like everything else, as they were apparently all randomly assembled in different factories by different people who were trained differently and using different parts. But when it worked, it was great.

I’ve worked at TB, and used their headsets, and this is a design difference. TB’s has a lock button which makes it so that you are always on, no matter what the circumstances. We had foul-mouthed people who’d walk around saying vulgar things that would be projected out onto the speaker where a customer could drive up and hear what they were saying. People at McD always used to joke about this. There was one particular person that would talk about sex and other stuff over the speaker because their headset was locked on and they either didn’t know or didn’t care. We could hear them talking all the way across the street at McD in the nighttime. We’d walk outside, for instance if someone was out taking a cigarette break late at night, and they’d be like, ‘Where is that voice coming from? Oh, it’s just someone on the headset at TB again.’

But, duh, it doesn’t HAVE to be designed to be ALWAYS ON NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Our OLD headsets at McD had a ‘context-sensitive’ lock button. You’d press the lock button. You’d walk around talking trash and nobody would hear you. It WOULD NOT get sent out to the speaker outside – until and unless a car pulled up and triggered the beep detector thingy, which I guess is either a magnetic thing down in the pavement or maybe a weight detector. I don’t know how it works. If a car pulled up and triggered the beep, your headset would then be on, but that would be okay, because you would easily hear the beep and you would know that, from now on, anything you say can and will be used against you, so you’ll stop talking. You could easily hear a feedback in your ear of your own voice coming through the speaker, so you can tell when your own voice is, or isn’t, being sent out to the speaker at the ordering screen. On the TB headsets, when they’re locked on, you can’t hear anything telling you that it’s on and that your voice is being sent outside where everyone can hear you talking about your sex life. Maybe you might hear feedback on TB’s, I don’t remember, but you certainly won’t if you’ve pulled the headset slightly off your ear.

Our new headsets at McD have been changed so that now, they are almost exactly like the ones at TB, with a few differences. It’s the exact same physical design – they look the same. They seem to be programmed a little differently. It’s still bad though.

The new ones are nice because you can hear on them. They seem to be good quality. They seem to be reliable and consistent – you don’t see particular headsets assembled differently from the other ones and made by factory workers who don’t agree about how you’re supposed to assemble these things. You can always hear very well.

If it’s possible for us to customize how these things are programmed, then we might be able to fix some of the problems, but we don’t have as much control as I would like – there still isn’t a separate volume control for the beep and the voices. The beep is SO QUIET that, thankfully, it no longer causes permanent hearing loss. But I am telling you, if you move that earmuff thing even a MILLIMETER off the hole in the middle of your ear, you can no longer hear the beep at all and it’s completely hopeless. You have no chance of hearing the beep if it’s moved even a millimeter out of place. That beep is as quiet as an ant saying hi. (I don’t know why an ant says hi…) So that means you absolutely have to keep the earmuff directly over your ear at all times without removing it even for A SECOND. If I’m having a conversation with someone, and yes, it could be a very important conversation with a manager that I really need to hear, and I lift the earmuff off my ear for A COUPLE OF SECONDS so that I can fully hear what that manager is saying to me, I’ll always get a beep at that moment. They’ll be beeping, but I’m holding the earpiece an inch away from my ear and listening to the manager or whoever talking to me. Meanwhile, other people with headsets on are freaking out and getting annoyed with me because I’m getting a beep and I’m rudely ignoring it and letting everybody else do my work for me because I’m lazy, and someone else will rush over to the computer and start taking the order while a line of cars is building up behind them and everyone is mad at me.

The beeper does not need to point directly into your ear the way the voices need to. You don’t need to distinguish any subtle nuances of the beep. You don’t need to hear the consonants and formants and melodies and all that stuff that you need in order to understand speech. All you need is a brute force beep. It does not need to be pointed directly into your ear, and should not be. The beep should come from a separate beeper which is not connected to the voice speaker. It can be the most primitive beeper available and it doesn’t matter. As long as it does not point into your ear, it will be fine. It can be loud. It should be loud, just not going directly into your ear. So, for instance, the beeper could come from the top of your head and you’ll still hear it. It should have a separate volume control. It would be helpful if everyone around you could also hear the beep when they’re standing next to you. On our old headsets, everyone around you could hear the beep, so that if for some reason you didn’t hear it, someone next to you would say, ‘You’re beeping!’ and you would go take the order.

Okay, back to the new design/programming. You have no lock button at all. One guy who briefly worked here – he was autistic/Asperger’s and was very annoying to everyone and I’ve been told he’s no longer working with us – he told me he worked at a different store before ours, and he said there was a button combination where you push the on/off button along with two other buttons (I think), and it will put the headset into locked-on mode (somebody else once told me something similar but didn’t tell me how to do it), but he said we weren’t allowed to use that mode because then you can hear what everybody is saying outside on the speaker. I didn’t get any details from him, but that gives me the impression that we probably have it set up to be a context-insensitive, always-on lock mode that doesn’t care whether cars are at the speaker or not.

Again, our *old* headsets were context-sensitive: they never projected your voice out onto the speaker until and unless a car drove up and triggered the beep. You’d just push the lock button once, forget about it, have conversations, not worrying about a thing, and nobody outside would ever hear you talking until a car triggered the beep – and you’d hear the beep and start talking to the customer instead. Hands-free. You could use both hands to type in an order on the computer, take cash, do anything you wanted while simultaneously taking an order at high speed…

(…that’s assuming you have a decent computer system that’s fast and works properly and is written in assembly language on a green-screen computer… but that’s a whole other story in itself… that Asperger’s guy – his name was Mark, I think??? – asked me if I noticed how much faster and better our new computers were now, at this new store, compared to our old computers, and I grumbled and said no, not really – although, actually, I reluctantly admit they are a tiny bit faster BUT THEY SHOULDN’T REQUIRE A HUNDRED MILLION
MEGAJIGAGOOGLEWATTS OF PROCESSING SPEED to perform calculations of adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing that can be done by a hand-held battery-powered CALCULATOR sold for a couple bucks at Wal-Mart!!! We SHOULDN’T NEED brand new high-speed more expensive computers with the latest Windows operating system to do ******SIMPLE ARITHMETIC FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!********* Yes, they are a tiny microhaircrumb faster now, but they’re still a piece of shit! And the whole order taking system is horribly designed, and our old
green-screen assembly language system was FAR SUPERIOR in almost every way with just a couple of trivial exceptions, which could have been fixed with just a few simple program changes! I want to scream and cry over this issue and just shake some common sense into these insane people!)

The TB headsets, which are physically the same as our new McD ones but programmed slightly differently, have an always-on lock that just constantly puts your voice out there regardless of whether any cars are at the speaker or not. So there’s smart-lock and stupid-lock, and we only have stupid-lock available to us now, while the old, junky, low-tech, primitive headsets had this awesome smart-lock advanced high tech feature that we’ve forgotten how to make nowadays. If they reinvent the context-sensitive smart-lock, it will be promoted as some grand new invention that some genius just recently made, rather than the rediscovery of a common-sense thing that all the old headsets used to take for granted as a normal part of their functioning. And we’ll all appreciate how great it is now that we’ve lived without it for a couple years. New invention! New idea! These brand new high tech smart headsets detect whether a car is at the speaker or not, when the lock button is on, and they’ll only project your voice onto the speaker if a car is there! A stroke of genius! Yet another example of old things working much better than new things and taking commonsense features for granted, which then have to be rediscovered and reinvented and advertised as an amazing new development and stroke of genius, rather than a ‘whoops, we accidentally got rid of this really great feature because we thought it didn’t matter and we didn’t understand how it worked or why it was a good thing, and now we’ve come crawling back in humiliation and admitted that this feature actually was great after all. Ha ha!’ I think old people and primitive people were actually smarter than we are, due to our Weston Price deformed skulls and deformed faces, our bad foods, our toxic chemicals surrounding us all the time, our prescription psychiatric drugs dumbing us down, and the radio waves bombarding our brains constantly and preventing us from focusing and using our brains… which is another reason why the stuff we make nowadays is crap compared to the stuff they made decades and centuries ago – in addition to the banking system giving everyone an incentive to produce garbage – but… another story. Suffice it to say that they truly, really, objectively, for real don’t make ’em like they used to, and it’s really true, and there are reasons why.

The new headsets beep at the slightest provocation. I think these are called ‘notification beeps’ or something. Congratulations! You pushed a button! When I buy a new phone, this is the first thing that I disable. I don’t want my phone to beep loudly every single time I press any button at all. I don’t want it to beep every time I change screens or go to the next menu or the next menu item or make a selection. I want it to be silent almost all the time unless something really important happens.

Not so with these headsets! They beep at EVERY little thing. They beep if you look at them the wrong way. They beep if you lust after them in your thoughts. They beep in response to the telekinetic signals from someone meditating in India. You press the button to start speaking to the customer, and it beeps loudly to let you know that a successful button-push action has just occurred, as though you wouldn’t notice that the customer is successfully communicating back and forth with you as a result of your having pushed the speaker button. You don’t need a beep to tell you that you’ve successfully pushed the speaker button. The beep is so loud, it beeps over top of the customer who is now talking to you, and you miss the first couple words they are saying.

If you DARE to let go of the non-locked speaker button to go use one of your hands (not hands-free!!!) and, say, type something in on the ordering screen, or take cash from the next person in line while simultaneously listening to a customer ordering at the speaker, you’re screwed – you’ve got to push the speaker button again (*BEEP!*) whilst the customer is still talking, which causes you to not hear a couple words they’re saying (*opportunity to screw up the customer’s order and thereby cause customer dissatisfaction, despoiling the reputation of McDonald’s!*).

You can sit there holding the button down with your hand next to your ear. That’ll prevent it from beeping! This is really great for an arthritic old lady with sore shoulders who got hurt in a skiing accident in college decades ago and went down the intermediate hill when she wasn’t ready and flipped head over heels and walked away with a sore hip and sore shoulder for the rest of her life. That’s me. I don’t like standing there with my arm raised up beside my head holding a button down all day long. It hurts. I have to use my right ear because that one hears better than the left one, which was slightly damaged years ago when my window was not working on my car, and I had the open window covered up with plastic, which was flapping loudly in the wind as I drove, and the flapping was as loud as a gun going off right beside my left ear, and afterwards, my hearing was permanently damaged. (That ear had a slightly different hearing range anyway, since I was squashed inside the womb and I didn’t develop properly and I have a slightly crooked face and everything on the left side is a little different. Not sure why that happened. Crooked-face squashing might not be the same as the usual Weston Price deformities and might not be as preventable.) It’s those odd little random things that do it to you. I’m 39 years old, and I’ve had lots of time for weird little random accidents to damage my hearing and damage my shoulder and give me arthritis and what not. Not to mention, I’m also five-foot-two, but that’s a story for later (bad design changes in the store! not ergonomic! not accessible to short people!). But even an undamaged non-arthritic young person will still get sick and tired of standing there with their arm raised up pushing a button and holding the button down.

So, because the headset is not hands-free, you can’t do a bunch of things at once… which slows down order taking.

If you’re taking orders on lane one, you’ll still hear the beeps for lane two – loudly, while you’re in the middle of trying to listen to a customer. If the beeper was only positioned on top of your head – but no, it points directly into your ear and interferes with the voices. You have to ask them to repeat what they just said. Or, if you’re too lazy or in too much of a hurry to ask them to repeat themselves, you’ll just get their order wrong! Who cares what they said!

With the old headsets, I don’t remember hearing the double beep interfering with my order. Now that I think about it, it was channel-sensitive. Your headset would single-beep, and only single-beep just for you, if you had it on channel 1. If you had it set on channel 2, it would double-beep for you. You would never hear the beeps for the other channel. But now, everyone hears both channel’s beeps all the time regardless of what you’re doing, and it makes it hard to hear your customer. Also, the speakers on the parallel lanes are close enough together, physically, outside in the lanes, that you can hear the other channel taking someone else’s order while you’re trying to take yours, and it makes it hard to hear your own order. Sometimes customers start speaking if the *other* speaker says ‘can I help you?’ (although that happened with our ‘serial’ two speakers at the old store too, the ones in the same lane).

If you press the round button to speak to other employees, you’ll interrupt somebody who is taking an order on the other channel. You’re on lane 1. You only hear things that are happening on lane 1. You’re oblivious to what people are doing on lane 2. You weren’t paying attention and you didn’t know that somebody was in the middle of taking an order on lane 2. So, you push the round button and start chatting with other employees on the headsets about something, whether it be something important or unimportant. Maybe you’re asking an important question about something you need to know, or maybe you’re just joking about something or saying something that isn’t really important. Whatever. The person on lane 2 hears you, and it goes right over what their customer is saying.

Our old headsets had the round button too, but it would talk only to lane 1, or only to lane 2, depending on the most recently pushed button you had used. It somehow remembered that you had recently used that lane. (We didn’t have lanes, but we had two different speakers.) It didn’t talk to everybody, it only talked to whoever was using the same speaker you were. This was both bad, and good. You had to be aware that someone on the other speaker might not hear you, if you wanted them to hear you. But that’s less bad than what we have now. You could still just push the other speaker, then push the round button, to switch to their channel and talk to them. We talk to everyone now and have no control over it. If you use the round button at all, you’re talking to everybody regardless of whether they might be in the middle of an order or not. The ‘primitive’ old headsets allowed you to switch channels and talk to only some of the people without interrupting orders on the other channel. So, the old headsets let you switch channels before pressing the round button to talk to coworkers, whereas the new speakers don’t let you choose which channel you’re talking to, you talk to EVERYONE but yet you don’t know if somebody’s in the middle of talking to a customer or not, so you carelessly start talking over the round button while people are ordering.

This is especially important if you have an urgent message that has to get through. Oh no! Somebody drove past the cash window without paying! And I accidentally paid out the next car! Those orders are out of order! Don’t hand out the wrong bag! Don’t let those people go without paying! I’ll say it over the round button, but nobody hears me… because the only person with a headset on happens to be in the midst of taking an order on lane 2. And maybe a few other people have headsets on, but nobody realizes how urgent this message is, or they weren’t really listening closely because they’re not taking orders, and nobody realizes that the person who absolutely must hear the message didn’t hear it, and they’re all busy doing their own stuff anyway, so nobody says out loud, ‘Hey! Did you hear about that car? Don’t let them go!’ Oops! Message was never heard. So I have to manually and physically run (a longer distance than in our old store) to get up to the front window and tell them not to let the person go.

That’s everything I can think of about the headsets.

5. The credit card swiper rejects everything. Slows down cash taking in the drive thru. This is supposed to be a brand new store. But we have this credit card reader in drive-thru which rejects almost every card. I have cleaned that thing over and over and over using the cleaner designed for it. I cleaned it dozens of times from every direction, but no use – it still rejects everything. It might reject a tiny fraction of a percent fewer cards than it did before it was cleaned. There’s just SOMETHING WRONG WITH IT. In a brand new store!

People will pile up behind each other in the line while I take five minutes struggling to swipe somebody’s credit card. And GUESS WHAT! In our infinite wisdom, we provided ourselves with NO ALTERNATIVE METHOD of typing in a credit card number. We just CANNOT type it in if the card fails to swipe. Sure, we could just fail to pay for their order, and let them leave – but they’re STUCK IN LINE because our drive thru lane is SO NARROW THAT CARS CANNOT GET OUT regardless of what their emergency is. I wrote about THAT in a previous blog. So if someone can’t pay for their order, they must sit there taking up space and blocking people who CAN pay. But because of our failing credit card slider, NOBODY can pay.

Fortunately, somebody once showed me that you can print out a piece of blank paper from the receipt printer, and fold it over the card. I have to do this with EVERY CARD EVERY TIME. There might be one card out of twenty that swipes by itself without a piece of paper folded over it, in fewer than ten tries on the card. You can sit there swiping repeatedly for five minutes and not get through. I’ve told them about this, and nothing was done. We still have that same goddamn swiper, holding up our line and making it take two or three extra minutes for each person in line. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. This is adding a very large number of minutes to our drive thru waiting times. I told them about it, and nothing was done. I was provided with the cleaning kit, which now sits next to the thing, but it’s no use, it still does it after being cleaned repeatedly.

6. No access for short people. In the grill area, for some reason they’ve put all the spatulas and stuff up on top of the grill. It’s their official location, and I know it is because there is a piece of metal with notches cut into it, which is permanently in that position, or at least, it’s part of a big metal frame thing that might be removable, but which is meant to be there and nowhere else. The notches are cut into it and it’s set up to have the spatula holder there and only there and nowhere else. You have to reach up really high to get them or put them back. If you were seven feet tall, this would be at the perfect level for you, and as we know, everyone who works in the grill area is seven feet tall, especially teenagers and females and little old people and short people and fat people.

As a result, people started just laying the grease-covered spatulas and other tools directly into a shelf where they weren’t meant to go, on a slightly lower level metal panel thing above the grill. I mean, this is excessively high. Even GUYS can’t reach this, and I know because it was a guy who started doing the thing of just laying the tools into the lower part of the shelf, which caused the whole shelf to be covered with an inch of grease that had to be cleaned out later, which caused another SLI in the grill area to write an angry note on a big piece of cardboard saying ‘DO NOT PUT SPATULAS HERE’ or something.

Yesterday I investigated this. I looked up there, and could barely reach it, but I discovered that the grill tool holder is sitting in a little metal pan, just like one of the bacon trays. I took this whole thing out, and I put it down somewhere else entirely, on the side, like where it would have been before, on our old grill. I put it into a little low shelf above the sliding freezer door where the burgers are. So when I was cooking yesterday, I did not keep having to stand on tiptoes and stretch my arm to its fullest extent to reach the spatulas every single time I needed them. It worked well.

But it angers me that this should even happen at all. And it’s not ‘supposed’ to be there, which means that I will have to set this up every single time I use the grill, and someone after me will put it back where it’s ‘supposed’ to go. Although, at McD, we have enough people there who tolerate jury-rigging, at least at this particular store, and so maybe some of them will understand, and will continue to keep the grill tools where I put them. At other stores, though, people will be anal-retentive rule-followers who don’t care at all about how painful and inconvenient it is to reach up to a six foot high grill tool holder, and they’ll rigidly put it there forever and ever because ‘that’s where it’s supposed to be.’

7. Everyone hates the loud high-pitched screaming air dryers in the bathroom. They scare little kids. Nobody uses them. I’d rather walk out of there wiping my wet hands on my pants than use those goddam ear-piercing dryers. There are no paper towels in the bathroom. Everybody hates bathrooms that don’t have paper towels in them at all. Customers are displeased with their overall experience in the restaurant because of irritating little things like those goddamn dryers. I have actually *heard* customers complaining about how they didn’t want to use the dryers because it was scaring their little children. So I’m not just making this up, it’s something people are really saying in the bathrooms. They refuse to use the dryers.

8. Automatic sinks in the bathroom. Automatic toilets. I don’t care. I don’t care what you’re thinking. I don’t care about your reasons. I just do not care. I have heard enough. No. We just DO NOT DO THAT. We do not, under any circumstances, ever, for any reason, ever, ever, ever build bathrooms with automatic toilets, automatic faucets, and automatic hand dryers without any paper towels. I do not care about your reasons why. I don’t even want to talk about it. I don’t want to get into this. I just don’t. Just, DON’T GO THERE. DON’T DO IT. DON’T. This is something that I hate SO MUCH and SO PASSIONATELY about modern high-tech public places. I *strongly prefer*
old-fashioned, trashy, junky buildings from back in the days when they didn’t have all this automated stuff.

If you insist that you must not use paper towels, I understand. I’d rather not use something disposable either. But we could use those fabric towels on a roller, which we used to have at my elementary school bathroom in West Virginia. The towel was extremely long and on a huge roll. You yank on it, and a little more towel comes out, and you wipe your hands on that. And the end goes back into another roller, and eventually the whole thing gets taken out and washed in the laundry. Problem solved! No paper towels, no pollution, no tree-chopping, and no goddamn evil horrific ear-piercing child-scaring blow dryers screaming and echoing in the bathroom.

As we know, cell phones are deliberately designed to be perfectly smooth and slippery, so that they slide easily out of your pockets to shatter on the floor, thereby needing to be replaced and making more money for the cell phone manufacturers. Of course, they do not provide any kind of string or holder or clasp of any kind with the phone, and if you want one, you must either go out and purchase a fancy-schmancy cell phone cover, which may or may not have some kind of chain or string for you to hang it on (and actually, I’ve never seen anybody with any kind of chain or string attached to their cell phone cover, so…), or else you can do what I did, and just duct-tape a fucking piece of cotton string to your fucking phone because it has nothing at all to tie it or clip it or hang it on anything, and the manufacturers DELIBERATELY INTENDED for your phones to fall out of your pocket and break every couple weeks, which happens to everybody. Don’t you believe me? I’m telling you, they WANT your phone to slide out of your pocket and shatter on the floor AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. That’s how we do business nowadays!

So, I’m sure it’s happened. Your phone slides out of your back pocket, because you’re a retard who puts your phone loosely into your back pocket and forgets that it’s there. You start to sit down on the toilet as you’re pulling your pants down, and the phone goes into the toilet. Surely it’s happened. I bet you can google search for this. This must be a daily event.

Guess what happens after you hear the ‘plunk’ and you stand back up again to rescue your phone? Oh wait, the toilets detect that a shadow has sat down and then moved out of the way, so they flush. Can a toilet flush a phone down into them? Well, I don’t know. I haven’t tried it. It probably would not go down easily. But do you really want to find out? What else might you drop, if not a phone? Your wallet? A piece of jewelry? A piece of clothing? Anything at all? If you drop something into the toilet, and then you’re standing in front of it trying to get it out of the toilet, if you move at all, if you make shadows in front of the light detector, it will keep flushing over and over again. It does that several times even while you’re using the toilet normally, if you happen to move or lean the wrong way.

*Malfunction*: This was not a mere design change, but a malfunction. When our store first opened, the automatic faucets in the bathroom were putting out water so hot it was burning people, because they, of course, HAD NO HOT OR COLD FAUCETS, but instead just one single automatic faucet with no settings that you could adjust. *Result*: Somebody ‘fixed’ the problem by greatly reducing the temperature on our HOT WATER HEATER in the BACK, so that there is NO HOT WATER ANYWHERE IN THE STORE, just mildly lukewarm water. This is a health code violation, because, guess what: no hot water for washing dishes either! What, you mean there’s NO WAY TO ADJUST how hot the water is in that automatic sink in the bathroom? You mean, your ONLY RECOURSE is to lower the temperature on the hot water heater? So, now we’re washing all our dishes with this low-pressure, luke-cold water…. which causes us to waste hours and hours of paid employee time…. AND THEY PROMISED US THAT WE WERE GETTING A *NEW STORE*!!! Problems with our dishwashing sink were CONSTANT at the old store. We all fantasized that when we finally got a new store, all the plumbing problems would FINALLY BE OVER! BUT NO! The frauds who come here and ‘fix’ our plumbing and break something else in the process will be COMING BACK AGAIN and GETTING PAID and breaking another thing which will require us to CALL THEM BACK AGAIN and PAY THEM TO FIX IT, and NOBODY DOES ANYTHING ABOUT THIS SITUATION! Nobody says, ‘Hey, duh! We need to hire a completely different company to fix our plumbing!’ Nope! We need to hire HONEST, DECENT, NON-FRAUDULENT, NON-CRIMINAL, SANE HUMAN BEINGS to fix our plumbing.

So, back to the thing about not having paper towels in the bathroom. What happens when you really need a paper towel for something besides just drying your hands? What about when you need to clean something? What if you want to just wipe off a spill, like some soap or something, on the sink? What if you need to just wipe a stain off your clothes? What if you just want a towel to dab some clean water onto your face? Ha ha, it sucks to be you! You have to use TOILET PAPER for that! Let’s see what happens when wadded up wet toilet paper gets rolled and rubbed against a stain on your clothing and crumbles into teeny little pieces, or dabbed on your face and leaving little broken clumps of toilet paper pasted to your skin!

Oh, what, you think people are flushing paper towels down the toilet, thereby causing us to have plumbing expenses? That almost never happened at our particular store – but who cares, we don’t bother to actually FIND OUT what sorts of recurring problems tend to happen at THIS PARTICULAR store, we’ll just shove some universal procedures on everybody everywhere and make everything completely uniform regardless of circumstances! A solution we don’t need to a problem we don’t have. This is a low-crime area. State College has been listed as one of the lowest crime, or at least lower crime, regions in the whole country. We don’t have tons and tons of assholes shoving paper towels down our toilets, and we don’t have huge numbers of drunk people at this store either. We have polite little old people from all the nearby retirement communities.

9. Extremely squeaky hinges on bathroom stall doors. Bathroom doors are made of some extremely heavy wood, like lead-reinforced solid mahogany or something, I dunno, these super-heavy hard-to-push doors that weigh a ton, instead of being lightweight and easy to push. Again, a painfully loud goosebump-raising chalkboard-fingernails noise that scares little kids and also old people with a weird hearing range that’s extremely sensitive for some sounds, but unable to hear ordinary speech, like me. If you’re in a hurry and having a bathroom emergency, you don’t want to be slowed down by a two-hundred-pound stall door on a squeaky slow friction-filled hinge where you have to pull it open with all of your weight to overcome the inertia.

A male coworker (SLI) complains that, in the men’s room, the (single) stall door is always shut when no one’s in it, so it’s hard to see if anyone’s in there unless you pull on the door to try open it and see if it’s locked. He doesn’t like to rudely pull on the door when it’s locked – that’s embarrassing. He liked the old door, which hung open when nobody was in the stall. It was a light metal door, just a junky old generic bathroom stall door, old-fashioned and cheap, nothing special. (I always take this moment to complain about how unfair it is that the men’s room only has one single stall and a urinal, rather than two private stalls at least.)

Now we have FANCY WOOD doors that LOOK NICE and are weighted so they always close themselves. You go in there and the place has this nice, ‘closed’ look and a ‘wholeness’ about it because the wooden doors are continuous with the door frames and everything is all neat and tidy and closed and hidden, rather than having that ‘messy,’ discontinuous look of a door hanging open and everything inside is visible. Oh, I’m sure I know what these designers were getting at. I know what they were aiming for. I just don’t *value* what they were aiming for. I don’t care if it has ‘wholeness.’ I like being able to just glance at the door, see that it’s hanging open, and know that nobody is in there. It’s a bathroom. I don’t *mind* walking into a bathroom and being able to see the toilets, which are visible, right away. This room has a purpose, and I am not offended by walking into a bathroom and seeing the toilets and the inside of the stalls and other things that are the purpose of this place. I don’t go into the bathroom yearning for the sight of beautiful artistic wholeness and aesthetic continuity of line and color.

(Side note. The color scheme is one of the few things that I like about this building. I do actually love the earth tones, the oranges and browns and wooden colors. I would not mind bathroom doors being made of fancy wood, if only they were not so heavy that it takes a lot of effort to pull them open, and if they weren’t screaming on their un-oiled hinges with a chalkboard screech that scares little autistic kids.)

10. Backless seats in the lobby and outside. WTF. Fat people can fit in them without squashing, but that’s about all that’s good about those backless seats. Horrible! Everyone hates the backless chairs. Unpleasant customer experiences and unpleasant overall impression due to the cumulative little things like this. Oh, but it’s a ‘DESIGN’! It’s a ‘modern style’ with a ‘neat and tidy’ look about it! None of that visual clutter of chairs with backs! Because people come to our store seeking to avoid visual clutter and seeking an aesthetic experience above all else, including comfort! Who cares about comfort, it LOOKS STYLISH! (Socionics: I’m still trying to decide which information element this is. I thought at first it was +Si/-Se, but now I’m thinking it might be +Fe. We want to make them say ‘Wow!’ I’m not sure though. I just want to know which information element is doing this – they sacrifice something about the comfort and the function, to make it ‘look stylish’ or ‘look good’ as an object. That could actually be Se, not Si. I’m starting to think this might possibly be coming from Gamma SFs, not sure… Or maybe Beta STs… I keep changing my mind… Beta NFs? If only I could meet the people who designed it, I’d figure it out.)

11. A blue screen of death incident on the screens up front. I don’t know why. I thought I heard a manager say that the guy who fixed it said he had to install a Windows update or something. Our new store’s computers apparently got hacked or glitched due to ‘lack of an important update,’ and so we went for an hour or so without being able to see anything on the screens up front and having to print out receipts so we could give people their correct orders.

12. OMGWTF, electronic menus powered by Windows. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Multiple incidents of menus not being turned on. Or menus are on, but they flash and change while you’re reading them, so you lose track of whatever you were looking at. *EVERYONE HATES THIS*! Every customer complains that they can’t find things on the menu because it was there a second ago and now it’s gone. Fancy pictures and advertisements appearing and disappearing instead of just a normal menu that stays still. Ads appearing in the same location where the actual menu was a second ago, instead of appearing in a totally separate location. OH MY GOD! DON’T DO IT! Get rid of this and give us back our normal, non-electronic, non-computer menus made of paper, for the love of God! PLEASE! BE SANE! YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN! THIS IS THE REAL WORLD!

13. Soda machines start spewing and spraying out the soda in all directions, instead of in a straight line down into the cup. This happens randomly throughout the day for several days. It hasn’t happened in a couple days and I hope it has been fixed.

14. Coke machine in the back room, the machine that mixes the Coke syrup with water, had a hose disconnect and start pouring unmixed Coke syrup directly onto the floor, covering a large area in the back room. Yay! That was fun to mop up!

15. Grease drain won’t work. Our old store had a primitive, old-fashioned dumpster out back where we would take buckets and pour all the greases and oils from the grills and fryers. Somebody would come every once in a while and empty the dumpster and recycle the grease. Now, we have a couple of big giant tanks. It’s a complicated piece of machinery that fails often. It’s failing over and over again, and now, we have nowhere to dump the grease, and NO RECOURSE but to dump it into buckets and trash cans. Oh sure, if you could call someone on the phone and have them out there at your store in fifteen minutes to fix it at 3:00 in the morning, it would be fine. But no. We go DAYS without being able to dump grease anywhere. DAYS. This is WORSE than having to dump it into an old-fashioned dumpster behind the building. I really didn’t mind that all that much.

16. New fryer has this thing where you must refill a jug underneath the fryer, but it takes FOREVER to refill, and so you have to sit there holding a button down (WTF!!!) while you can see it slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly filling up this jug with fresh oil, a millimeter at a time, as though you have nothing better to do than that all day long. This is called a ‘low oil volume fryer.’ I like it, overall. I like the concept. I like it that it automatically fills with oil to keep it at exactly the right level all the time. But you have to occasionally sit there and push this button to refill this white plastic jug underneath the fryer, and for some reason, it fills extremely slowly with extremely low pressure, maybe so you don’t accidentally overflow it. But why should you have to sit there manually holding a button down to refill this plastic jug? Why can’t it automatically detect how deep the oil in the jug is, and fill it itself? Duh!

17. One of our carts got lost or wasn’t ordered. A minor nuisance. But now, every time you work in back booth taking cash, you can’t wipe trays. We usually give them trays to wipe so that they’re not sitting there doing nothing. They would also make happy meal boxes on that cart. The cart is nowhere to be found. I’m told that it’s been back-ordered or something, so we’re expecting it eventually, but it’s still not here. So, you can set the trays on the lower shelf of the other cart that the cash register is on, and then crouch down and set them there and put a tray liner on them while crouching down, which is what one girl has been doing, or you can do what I do and pile up a bunch of cardboard boxes and use them as a table. I usually get the happy meal toy boxes for that. If you get in a really bad mood, you just say screw the trays and you don’t bother wiping any or putting new liners on them, which is what I did one day, until we had this huge stack of dirty trays about as tall as I am. We have too many trays, and nowhere to put them. We’ve been putting them on a little wheeled cart under one of the tables up front, but that only has room for a tiny fraction of all the trays in the store. So we’re keeping huge stacks of clean trays and dirty trays in the back booth. It’s okay to keep them there, but you have to deliver them to front counter, and you don’t know whether they need them or not, and you don’t know how many they are able to fit, so you don’t know how many to bring, and there’s only ONE wheeled cart to put them on, and that wheeled cart is holding a stack of trays under the counter UP FRONT so that they’re not piled directly on the floor, so you can’t USE the little wheeled cart to carry trays from back booth up to front counter. WTF, very annoying.

18. The cash register slides back under the table every time you open and close the drawer. This got so annoying that finally, I wadded and stuffed a big piece of cardboard behind it to prevent it from sliding backwards. It goes back so far that you have to reach in really deep under this shelf to pull out the drawer. I think, at our old store, the same thing must have been happening, because if I recall, somebody had jury-rigged some kind of metal chain or something holding the cash drawer in place. I had always kind of wondered why that was there. I thought maybe just to keep people from stealing it. But no, it might have been just to keep the goddamn thing from sliding away where you can’t reach it. Someday, I know that eventually, somebody will find my piece of cardboard and pull it out and throw it in the garbage, because it’s ‘unofficial’ and it’s ‘not supposed to be there.’ It isn’t an official tool, it’s a piece of cardboard, which is ‘garbage’ and ‘must be removed’ so that we can ‘stay tidy’ rather than function properly. People keep doing this every time I jury-rig things that aren’t working properly. They don’t like unofficial jury-rigging and they take it down. We must have official authorized hardware for everything even if it works badly and the unofficial jury-rigging works better. If they throw away my wadded up piece of cardboard, I swear I will bring in some fucking duct tape and tape it into place.

19. The sliding window sticks at back booth. You slide it open, and it stays open, come hell or high water, that window will stay open. This is great on a windy day when you’re trying to stuff some dollar bills down into the drawer and the wind keeps blowing them away out of the drawer. And it’s even more awesome when that damn heater/cooler thing up in the ceiling suddenly turns on unexpectedly and starts blowing directly on you and your cash and blows it out of your hand and it could go out the window which is always stuck open no matter what. (That blower requires a stepladder for you to turn it off or adjust it… but at least we are able to adjust it ourselves.) To shut the window, you have to unstick it from the end where it’s gotten stuck, which requires you to plant your feet firmly on the floor so you don’t slip, then lean with all your weight and all your strength to shove the window back so it’s closed again. It helps if you are a bodybuilder on steroids. A great deal of force is required. You have to do this EVERY TIME SOMEONE COMES TO THE WINDOW and you’ve opened it. If you don’t push the window open all the way, because you want to avoid pushing it to the place where it sticks, you can still sort of squeeze through the partly opened window at a weird angle that causes you to twist your knees (causing a repetitive knee-twisting injury), if you’re really skinny. Once again, I’ve been jury-rigging it with a wadded up piece of cardboard, which has to be replaced every time I work there, because people don’t like unofficial, unauthorized pieces of cardboard blocking the window from going into the place where it jams.

Surely customers can see the agonized look on my face as I struggle with all my might to close and open the window. And, oh yeah, it locks shut totally tight if you close it all the way, too, so it jams in both directions. You’re jammed if you do and jammed if you don’t, so to speak. If you should, heaven forbid, close the window all the way till it locks, you will regret it the next time a customer comes to the window and you have to open it again to talk to them and take their cash, because you will sit there yanking the thing and it won’t come open, and you have to fiddle with it and push it to the right in the direction of the latch, to unlatch it, and even that doesn’t always work, so you have to manually unlatch it by fiddling with it and tinkering with it and getting it into just the right position to unlatch, otherwise that window is permanently closed forever and ever, if it isn’t already permanently *open* forever and ever. Just try, as hard as you can, NOT to EVER open the window all the way, and not to ever close it all the way, either. Just keep it in the middle and don’t let it go either direction.

This is not just the normal way windows work. It wasn’t like that with our old window at our old store. Our old window was lighter weight and easier to push in either direction, and it did not stick on the left or the right, it did not stick open or closed, it moved smoothly and painlessly. This new window is, once again, extremely heavy and dense, like the bathroom stall doors, like it’s made to withstand a nuclear bomb. It just weighs so much it’s hard to push it at all, even if it isn’t sticking. Even if it never stuck on the ends at all, it still requires a lot of effort to make it move because of all the inertia. It’s made of extremely heavy material, which isn’t necessary. It needs to be durable and should be manufactured with quality so that it doesn’t break or bend or get out of place, but this heaviness is overkill and inappropriate for the situation. Better design and good materials would be sufficient, not this bombproof thing.

Not to mention, this window frame seems to be made out of some kind of toxic, allergenic metal that causes you to get a skin rash, especially if you touch it while it’s rainy and wet outside. The old window actually had some kind of toxic metal too on the flat part that you had to lean over to reach out the window, and I would frequently get a rash from that – probably nickel. One girl had a rash all over her belly because her belly was pressed against that thing (at the old store) while it was raining outside and rain was coming in the window onto the flat metal place. At least we have a roof over that area now, so rain won’t really come in, at least not as badly, but I think it still gets wet, and sometimes, people’s windshield wipers are still wiping and spraying water on you and into the window.

20. The credit card slider is up wayyyy too high. Again, stiff arthritic old ladies who are five foot two with sore shoulders do not enjoy repeatedly raising their arm way up high at an awkward angle over a shelf to slide a card through the credit card reader. Fortunately, the credit card reader was not properly assembled (ha ha), so it’s only loosely sitting on its base, and I am capable of taking it off and setting it on a lower shelf, propped up by a little holder which is meant for salad dressing bags or something, if I’m having a bad day and my arms are hurting and I get sick of reaching up all the way to the higher position.

21. The chicken grill beeps too quietly, then stops beeping, so you forget about it and burn the chicken and never know that your chicken was done cooking. You can reset this, but nobody has the manual for the grill.

I’m going to quit this list for now. I don’t know if I expanded upon everything yet – let me see – yeah, I’ve written enough. I should go eat. I won’t even have enough time to reread this whole thing, so it may have some typos. Several times I caught myself saying the opposite of what I meant, such as ‘not X’ when I meant to say ‘X is true.’ I fixed them when I caught them, but I might not have caught them all. So if you are confused, it might be a typo.

My compost pile greatly enriched the bare dry soil.

July 16, 2014

9:14 PM 7/16/2014

I removed the little compost pile that I was slowly building just outside my back door. I started that when I started using the vegetable juicer. I wasn’t eating the fiber extracted by the juicer, so I dumped it on the ground outside. I love compost. I hate throwing food into the garbage. If you have to waste food, the least you can do is let it biodegrade somewhere.

Some people have this ‘rule’ that you’re not allowed to throw meat into the compost pile. That’s because it will smell strongly and attract flies, which will lay eggs that grow into maggots. I’m not afraid of flies or maggots. We don’t have dangerous disease-carrying flies around here. I might be more afraid of flies if this was Africa and the flies were carrying the sleeping sickness or malaria. But these are harmless flies. I saw a seething pile of maggots in the meat, and it was fascinating, not disgusting.

When I die, I would prefer to be left above ground so that my body will be eaten by insects and will decay slowly in a visible location. When animals die, their loved ones continue to visit the decaying body, and they can see it and understand that it’s gone. Some people are horrified by the idea that their body, or a loved one’s body, will be eaten by insects. But maybe that’s kind of nice. It means you are feeding something else, which will gain life through your death, and the flies and worms will live on. Someone could put a grave stone with my name on it near my body if they wanted to. I just wouldn’t want to be filled with preservatives and then put inside a box and buried deeply underground. I’m not dying of the plague or smallpox. Nobody needs to be protected against the germs that will escape from my dead body.

I am not meaning to be morbidly obsessed with death, it was just a comment about the maggots in the compost pile.

The landscapers were actually very nice about the compost pile all these months. I was afraid at first. I knew I was breaking an unwritten rule. Surely there was a ‘no compost piles’ rule somewhere, but nobody had ever bothered to break that rule, so it wasn’t written yet. The rule would exist because I broke it. But nothing happened. The lawnmower men ignored the compost pile, and they trimmed the grass around it without running the mowers over it and strewing it everywhere. There were some hard objects in there, so it wouldn’t have been good to run a mower over it. There were some mussel shells (which can be made into primitive spoons), and there were some fruit pits, avocado pits, mango pits, and other things that would have been like stones under the mower.

But tonight, since I’m moving out soon, I moved my compost pile to another location. I found a place under some nearby pine trees where it’s never mowed. It’s out of the way and not as visible, although people might still see it if they walk by. They’ll see a pile of eggshells and some weird stuff and they’ll figure out that it’s trash, but all of it is biodegradable trash, and if they really, really want to get upset about a pile of biodegradable natural food trash, well, that’s their problem. It’s all food. I didn’t mix pieces of paper and plastic in it. I’m so anal about this that if I peel a fruit, if it has one of those stickers on it from the grocery store, I cut off the sticker and throw it into the garbage before I put the fruit peels into the compost pile – even though the sticker is made of paper and is kind of biodegradable. I just don’t know what’s in the paper.

When I scraped up all the compost pile (with gloves on) and put it into the bag, I saw the soil underneath it. Near the wall there is a patch of empty soil with no grass growing on it. My compost pile was partly over top of that area, but not completely. So you can see sort of a ‘before and after’ image. The bare dry dead brown soil on one side, and the rich dark moldy moist mulch full of life on the other side. There were lots of insects crawling around in the dark wet mulch under the compost pile, but nothing on the dead dry bare soil next to it. There was mold growing in the mulch, but nothing on the bare soil. Mold is a good thing in soil. It’s part of the soil ecosystem.

It is very satisfying to see how much I enriched that patch of soil just by piling some rotting food on it for a couple of months! I like to see progress and change. I like to see things healed and brought back to life. I hate the way they treat our soil. Mowing a lawn, putting fertilizers and weed killers and who knows what on it, raking up all the mowed grass and taking the grass clippings far away, raking up all the fallen leaves from the trees or blowing them away with a leaf blower, so that nothing, nothing at all, no rotting plant materials, will ever land on this soil and stay there long enough to rot – if there is no rotting plant material on top of the soil, the soil just dies and dies and dies over time. It starves to death.

If you have to have a mowed lawn, the least you can do is let the grass clippings stay on the lawn to rot, and don’t blow or rake all the fallen leaves from the trees. That’s better than nothing. People don’t like that kind of messy lawn. But there aren’t any barefoot children running around on the lawns getting their feet poked by sharp sticks or anything. Nobody goes on the lawn. Nobody plays out there. There’s no reason at all to remove any fallen sticks or anything, or pine needles, or whatever. If you don’t have barefoot children running all over your lawn stepping on sharp sticks, then you should just ignore the fallen sticks and leaves and grass clippings and what not and let them enrich the lawn.

I wish I could collect all the rotten food from everywhere, especially from grocery stores and restaurants and fast food places. Food stores and restaurants have *enormous* food waste. It is unthinkable and horrible. I know because I’ve worked in grocery stores and
restaurants and fast food. You WOULD NOT BELIEVE how much food goes into the garbage. It could all be an enormous compost pile fifty feet high. At least that would create some rich soil.

But oh well. I’m cleaning up and slowly getting ready to relocate. I don’t have a place yet. Somebody will wave a magic wand at the last possible second to rescue me, apparently. I’m in denial once again. I had thought I might live with Jesse, but I probably won’t do that quite yet. I’d be delighted to, but I don’t think Jesse is ready to let me move in yet. So, I’ll find something.

After having been voluntarily homeless for 2 1/2 years, I’m not afraid of being homeless anymore. I’m not afraid of this deadline. I’m not screaming in a panic about how I’m going to be kicked out of my house because of an error involving the lease when I assumed I’d be able to just sign the lease and live here again, then suddenly discovered that I could not. Whoops, no biggie, I’ll just camp again if I have to. But in the past, I would have been panicking. This is a great benefit of having been camping so long, the lack of fear. I’m not afraid that I’ll freeze to death if we lose the electricity in the middle of winter, as long as I have a bunch of sleeping bags that I can put inside each other.

I couldn’t really look at the mulchy soil because it was twilight when I was scooping up the compost pile, but I’ll look at it tomorrow. I really wish I could convince everybody everywhere to just throw their biodegradable food waste out onto the lawn somewhere. It pleases me to imagine this. Oh well.

the tent is now gone and the campsite is clean

July 15, 2014

8:53 PM 7/15/2014

I finished taking the tent down. It’s in the dumpster now. It had several huge spiders on it, and I started killing them instead of chasing them away – they were just too much for me to stand. They had like a two inch diameter and were fast-moving wolf spiders.

Jesse quit the job he was working at, and I’m afraid he might stop talking to me because he’ll be depressed about having quit his job. I don’t know for sure though. He’s been easier to reach in the past month or so.

The tent is completely down. Nothing is left up there. Now I have several contaminated items: my shoes, and my bike pedals. This floor is contaminated. I’m barefoot now. I never go barefoot around the house anymore. I took off my socks because I stepped on something wet in the bathroom, and only several minutes after putting my wet bare foot down on the floor, I felt a heart palpitation signaling a reaction. I tried to lie down and sleep, but I had the feeling of insomnia – I wasn’t there long enough to prove it, and my roommates were all downstairs talking and cooking, and I’ve had a lot of caffeine, but in spite of all that, I recognize that my body feels different now – I am poisoned, merely from stepping barefoot on the floor. I will never sleep again until and unless I wash my feet and put socks on.

So the tent is down, but my decon is not over. It seems to be never over. The soul murderers probably wanted me to fail. Or they wanted it to take forever. I’m thinking of Jesse and wondering how badly contaminated *his* shoes must be, after having walked in my apartment, after having let me ride in his car and put my feet on the floor of the car. I won’t be able to demonstrate to him the existence of drug residue contamination.

I have this hopeless and miserable feeling. Right now Jesse is the only thing in my life that I enjoy, and since he quit his job, I’m afraid he won’t speak to me again.

I’ve ordered a pizza. I’m waiting for it now. I don’t have a lot of money left. I haven’t quite gotten my schedule settled with regard to how much I need to work, in order to pay my bills.

I am overwhelmed and frustrated and miserable, and also I feel like my period is starting soon, which adds to the feeling of depression and hopelessness. I am not able to be happy about the fact that the tent has finally been completely taken down, so that there is not a single thing remaining up there belonging to me – I’m not happy about it, and wasn’t expecting to be. My decon isn’t over. I still have this nightmare of ephedra-covered floors. I don’t have a lot of belongings left, so it’s not as bad to do a decon as it used to be, but yet, I have a boyfriend now who has walked in this house. Anytime anyone else gets involved, they undermine my decons. It wouldn’t be so bad if everybody everywhere just instantly believed every word I say and instantly did everything I commanded them to do, such as move out of their house and leave behind all their possessions, including the clothes on their back.

I’ll eat the pizza and read my book for a while. I’m going to work tomorrow. Nothing is done. The tent is down, but this is not progress. I have so much more to do, it’s impossible. And I cannot control the actions of other people.

I need to go take down the tent – the last thing I have to do up there

July 15, 2014

9:38 AM 7/15/2014

I need to go take the tent down. It would be best if I could finish this before I move to another apartment. That way I would not be always walking on contaminated soil and bringing the footprints into a new apartment. I could finish taking the tent down in one trip. It’s all ripped up, so I’m throwing it away, but would have thrown it away anyhow because of the soil decon. That’s all that’s left for me to do up there.

I wouldn’t be completely done with my decon, of course, even after taking the tent down, but it would be better than nothing. I was expecting to stay in this apartment for a few more months, and suddenly I have to leave. I had been planning to do just a few more things for the soil decon before attempting to live in a new apartment.

I will go back to work tomorrow, so I need to get this done today. I don’t have a lot of energy. I will probably drink Coke the way I usually do when I absolutely have to do something but don’t have the energy. If Coke wasn’t made of coca leaves, it probably wouldn’t work for me. It really does come from coca leaf extract, even nowadays, but it’s been ‘decocainized,’ but there will always be a tiny bit left.

immigration – a brief thought… shared resources

July 12, 2014

I’m not living near the Mexican border, so I don’t know what’s going on, but I have seen several people writing about the flood of illegal immigrants. I don’t have much knowledge or many opinions about this. In my mind, it’s just another vague problem that has to do with taxes and welfare and public services, and I don’t believe the government should provide those things in the first place. I don’t have much of a concept of the specifics of what’s going on and what it means and what should be done and why it’s happening. I haven’t been reading the news much and don’t know what happened to suddenly trigger a larger-than-usual number of Mexican immigrants to come in.

However, I can understand a very simplistic and concrete scenario. I like picking wild raspberries in the summer. I’ve been seeing them around lately. I also was picking mulberries from the mulberry trees. I didn’t get enough free time to do this, as always, but as always, I wish I could spend more time being a hunter-gatherer and picking berries and eating wild plants and so on.

What if a flood of a million people poured out of Philadelphia or somewhere, and decided to live right here in my neighborhood, and they decided that the wild raspberries just belonged to anyone and everyone who could take them? A million other people would have picked them first. Most modern people ignore the wild raspberries, so I can usually find a bush somewhere that hasn’t been picked yet. New raspberries ripen every day, so if you go back to the bush again, it will have more tomorrow. What if such a flood of people were wandering over the countryside that every single raspberry was always picked off every bush every day no matter how often I went there? Every once in a while I find a bush in an easily visible location, where the raspberries have all been picked, and all that’s left are the unripe ones. The bushes would look like that everywhere, every day.

These wild growing plants are shared resources, unclaimed resources, that anyone can take if they happen to wander past them and notice them. Nobody is claiming them, but yet some people know about them and appreciate them. What if everyone did? What if there was a great demand for them, everyone knew about them, and everyone aggressively sought them out? What if nobody bothered planting any new raspberry bushes?

It’s even easier for me to imagine what if people started hunting all the animals without restraint. If everyone in this town suddenly decided all at once that they absolutely must survive by hunting, then we would have nothing left, because most of the animals have already been killed, and there is only a tiny fraction of them remaining. We’ve paved over all their land, and the deer often get killed by cars, and are then left to rot rather than eaten. We’ve plowed all the land and put corn plants there instead. The corn is used to feed a bunch of cows that are kept inside a tiny barn before they are slaughtered. Honestly, when I think about it, I can’t imagine how we are producing enough food to feed billions of people, but we are.

I dunno, it was just a thought about the raspberry bushes, about how annoyed I would be if gangs of people were walking down all the paths and taking the new raspberries early in the morning before I could get out bed, every day. That would be very rude and inconsiderate of them. I’m depending on everyone else to be ignorant and indifferent about the raspberries. Most people ignore them, don’t go looking for them, don’t care about them, and don’t have time to go out walking and picking raspberries. (I myself don’t either.) If everyone started knowing and caring, then suddenly they would be all gone.

It would be like trying to guess the stock market sooner than the automated algorithms of the computer hackers, which get between you and the price, so that they see the price first, they bet on it, then they send along the information about the price to the outside world so that other people can bet on it after they themselves already have.

This is universal and ubiquitous – it is already being done everywhere at all times, and it is unavoidable. Every computer trading system that can possibly be hacked is already hacked and controlled by unknown people. If you bet that the price will go up, it will invariably go down, taking all your money from you every time. If you bet that it will go down, it will invariably go up, taking all your money from you again. I know this because I briefly traded Forex online many years ago, and I watched it happen, inevitably,
invariably, every time, as though a conscious person was sitting on the other end of the computer deliberately tormenting me. You have to sit there helplessly watching as the price moves through a little zone, the ‘bid-ask spread,’ a little region that you must get beyond before you can start making a profit. It will always go just….. barely… to the edge of the bid-ask spread, getting your hopes up that maybe, just maybe, just once, it will go up into a profit zone. But no. It never will. It will always start to plummet in the opposite direction at that exact moment, no matter whether you bet up or down. It will *never* get beyond the edge of the bid-ask spread into the profit zone. Never. It will torment you for a couple minutes and get your hopes up, but that’s all it will ever do. Even if you see that the price has been going in a particular direction ALL DAY LONG, it will do exactly the opposite at the moment when you try to jump on the bandwagon. I remember seeing big obvious trends, like the yen carry trade, where one of the currencies was just obviously going straight down all day long, but if you tried to get into it, suddenly it would fluctuate upwards for just a couple minutes to ‘throw you off.’ You get thrown off the bandwagon, and then the price continues on its downwards trend without you. I am telling you, this happens EVERY TIME. Someone is out there deliberately and
systematically hacking these computer systems so that they win every time, and you lose every time.

Wow, that was a tangent. Raspberry bushes. Someday, I swear, I will hunt and gather again.

Right now, I’m looking for apartments.

I’m out of my denial now, and taking action

July 12, 2014

This morning I woke up and was ready to start taking action. I am now looking for new apartments and writing down a to-do list of things I need to do to prepare for this move. It is not going to be that hard, but I do have to take action soon instead of procrastinating. I found one listed right nearby for around $400, which is the amount that I have typically paid for a one bedroom apartment – that’s usually about the lowest I can find around here. It’s right next door, and I want to stay in this area, because it’s a nice place, it’s close to where I work, it’s close to Jesse, I’m surrounded by exotic people from foreign countries, I have a bus route, etc, etc, like I said before. So I am no longer in denial, and have moved into the phase of taking action. It will get done and it won’t be that bad. I’m probably going to have to ask my parents for help, which is cheating, and billions of other people on earth have poorer parents than mine, so they’re not able to just ask their parents for help every time something goes wrong in their lives, and I am aware of this – I am extremely lucky.

I have to move out of this apartment; you won’t see any changes in my hair, but I combed it today

July 11, 2014

2:38 PM 7/11/2014

I’ll be going to work in a few hours. I combed my hair a little bit this afternoon and broke into the dreadlock mat a little bit more than I had before, so I feel like I made some progress.

I was talking to my roommate a few days ago and found out that the lease ends on July 26th. I had been thinking that it would end sometime around the end of August. I just hadn’t thought about it. I imagined that I would just sign the lease again and stay here for a few more months. I was planning to leave anyway because I had gotten a little bit of ephedra in this apartment – trivial to anyone else but me, since I am very aware of it and trying desperately to get rid of it. But I didn’t think I’d be leaving July 26th. I thought I had at least a few more months.

It didn’t occur to me, but the advertising for this apartment was many months ago. A coworker at TB (the IEI – aware of time, aware of when things happen – awareness of time is a strong point for intuitives) was talking to me, and he said that the advertising for this apartment was probably way back in February. I realized this was true – I had been looking at apartment ads many months ago and saw ads for student apartments back then. But I didn’t put the pieces together – it didn’t occur to me that when I subletted (sublet? subleased? subrented?) this apartment, it had probably already been assigned to somebody else after this lease was up.

So, in just a couple short weeks, I will suddenly be moving to a new location, and I don’t know where. After being voluntarily homeless for two years, I know I have nothing to fear, it’s just an
inconvenience, especially happening so suddenly when I have no plans in mind. I have hardly any belongings at all, so I won’t have to carry out tons of heavy furniture. I never did buy much heavy furniture even before the drug residue contamination happened. I had these folding card tables and folding chairs from Wal-Mart. I never bought a bed, but at one point I had a mattress on the floor, and I also had a futon later on. I did have lots of medium sized objects, like lamps, and a desktop PC, all of which had to be moved. But I threw away most of that stuff during the decontamination. My PC is at my parents’ house. Anyway I just never felt like I wanted or needed big, heavy, fancy furniture like heavy wooden couches and heavy tables and big beds. I knew it would all have to be carried up and down flights of stairs at some point in time, which made it not worth having!

I’m just going to go to work later today, do my job, and come home. Right now, I’m just using the magic of denial. Denial makes everything go away! All the bad things vanish if I only refuse to think about them. Ha ha. There are actually plenty of options for where I can live and how, it’s just that I’m going to have to use a lot of mental and physical energy to rush myself out of here and find a new place to go, while still working at my jobs. ‘Denial’ and ‘faith’ are kind of similar, because I also have faith that it’s going to be okay. This is actually good because I wanted to move away from the miniscule traces of ephedra residue that I got in this place anyway.

Why do I love this place? I love living with Chinese students and watching them cook so I can learn indirectly. I’ve gotten so used to Asian eyelids that actually, Asian eyelids are starting to look normal, and European or African eyelids look weird. Considering the fact that there are about 3.3 BILLION Chinese people, if I recall correctly, and there are, what, six billion people on earth? Over half of all the people on earth are Asian, right? I need to look at those numbers. Oops! Seven billion, not six. Oh, just a billion people. Let me read this and I’ll fix it.

Okay. Han Chinese are about 18% of all the people on earth; however, they’re not the only Asian ethnic group that has Asian eyelids. It’s still possible that a lot of other ethnic groups with that kind of eyelid would add up to a larger percentage. Han Chinese is the largest ethnic group. Racial mixing makes ethnic groups not a clear cut thing, so you can only estimate.

Oh my god, this has to be a joke. As of right now (it could be edited at any moment…) wikipedia’s page about China says: “Analysis reveals the main staple of China to be rice.” No kidding! “Analysis
reveals?” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Chinese

Yeahhhh… this is going to turn into a huge project that I don’t have time for. I have to go to work this evening and I want to eat something first. It’s going to turn out to be really complicated trying to find the estimated numbers of all the races on the planet and then figure out which ones have Asian eyelids.

That all came from a tangent about why I love this apartment. It’s also in a very quiet place, full of students who don’t party, and the buses run right by me, a busy bus that comes very often (“often” for this town, that is). It’s not too urbanized, and there are lots of trees and grass and lawns around here, so even though it’s not as wild and full of fresh air as Mt. Nittany, it’s still pretty clean and healthy, without too much concrete and asphalt. It could be worse. I’m very close to where I work, and there’s a bike path all the way (although the other night, I ran through a spider web on my bike, and I’m pretty sure that the big itchy welt on the underside of my left arm resulted from the spider biting me – I wasn’t aware of it when it happened, I only found it afterwards – so I’m a little paranoid about riding on the bike path at night now and I’ve been getting onto the edge of the road instead… there’s still a lane for bikes along the edge of the road, in addition to the separate bike path. Thank god I live in a region where most of the spiders are ‘non-poisonous,’ that is, only mildly poisonous to humans. It made the lymph node under my left armpit swell up though.)

I’m uploading some photos. From your point of view, my hair looks exactly the same as it did the last time I took photos; however, I can feel a few spots where I have made a breakthrough into the mat. I would have kept combing, but my roommate came home, and I feel weird sitting there in my room silently combing my hair as quietly as possible, without making any little repetitive picking noises with the comb, while she moves around downstairs. I feel like I’m hiding and being secretive. It’s embarrassing to spend hours combing my hair, because most people would not understand why on earth I would spend so much time doing this. It’s as time consuming as, say, knitting a sweater by hand – hours and hours of microscopically small detailed work requiring fine hand coordination and enormous patience. Yes – I just looked at the photos, and nobody but me would be able to see any difference. I can’t see it in the pictures, I can only feel with my hands that several sections have changed. I’m doing this all by feel. I can’t see what I’m doing when I comb the mat. I can feel that several areas have loosened up and opened up and allowed access differently than before. It will be productive next time I work on it. Anyway I stopped because I always imagine my roommates will be thinking, ‘What on earth is she doing in there?’ if they could hear me sitting silently in there with the tiny little ‘clink, clink, clink’ noises from my comb. What’s going on behind that curtain?

Why do I do it? Because I have loved long hair practically since I was born, for as long as I can remember, long hair on both sexes, long hair of all types and textures and colors. It took a decade to grow my hair long. I will take the time to comb it out, and I won’t cut it. It’s worth it to me. I also enjoy proving that the myth is wrong: they always say that if you get dreadlocks, you have absolutely no choice but to chop them completely off and shave your head if you want to get rid of them. I like to prove that something isn’t true. It can be done, if you want to do it badly enough. You just have to have enormous amounts of free time and no distractions or emergencies. If a group of helpers were to work on it at the same time, it would get done very quickly compared to how I’m doing it. They would have to be trained to comb the hair properly and carefully to avoid yanking and ripping and damaging it. They would have to share my values and attitudes about hair, that hair is extremely precious and should not be damaged or removed.

There is one wonderful thing: in the past few weeks, since McD reopened, Jesse has been talking to me. We still don’t get to be together very often, but he is continuing to talk to me almost every day, or every few days, or at least texting me or calling sometimes. Right now he’s working at a very difficult and exhausting job, making wooden trusses, the triangular wooden frames that go under a roof. He’s so exhausted. I’m glad that he’s working, but I don’t want him to burn himself out or fall asleep at the wheel while driving. I guess we will see how it goes.

I read something interesting in my ‘Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal’ book by Peter Breggin. He summed up something in just a short sentence, which perfectly describes something that I have written thousands of pages about, but could not find the essence of. He said: stimulant drugs greatly decrease all spontaneous behavior, and replace it with obsessive-compulsive behavior. Well said!!! I’ve been struggling to say that exact thing for years! Peter Breggin is an EII. I’ve seen his videos on youtube. He says that children stop ‘acting up’ at school, but then they will, for example, obsessively copy every word the teacher says, without understanding any of it, if you put them on stimulant drugs. With me, I’ll do stuff like look at pictures on the internet all day long while drinking coffee, or writing an enormous blog post all day long after caffeine.

I have noticed that when I quit caffeine, after a few days – not the first day, not the second day, but maybe starting around the third or fourth day – I start to recover my ability to summon up the willpower to spontaneously do a task or activity, without much effort. I don’t have to make a huge official DECISION TO DO IT. I just spontaneously start to do it without even really planning to. It might be like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna clean the house today. I just feel like it. Now I’m cleaning the house, la la la!’ That kind of thing. Nowadays, while I’m on caffeine, I have no willpower, and so ‘cleaning the house’ would be ‘a huge production requiring enormous preparation and total commitment to doing so…’ I would have to DECIDE to clean the house. But when you quit caffeine, you JUST DO IT. It’s an impulse.

It’s funny how sometimes people are inspired by you, and they totally go beyond all that you have done and totally kick your butt and achieve much more than you ever did. One of my coworkers, the manager at TB who always makes me laugh, decided to quit caffeine cold turkey. He just did it, and now it’s done. Caffeine gone! He had horrible headaches, but now he’s adjusting to it. Meanwhile, at the same time, I had been talking to people there about how I was drinking lots of milk so that I could stop drinking so much coffee. I really am drinking less coffee while I’m at work, because of this cream. It helps greatly. However, I didn’t quit coffee cold turkey, and I still drink it at home, sometimes a lot. I drink it to get up in the morning. I fully intend to quit it in the future, though, and I know I can and I will, because I have before. However, I didn’t quit it yet. The TB manager who quit drinking soda totally kicked my butt and won the race to quit caffeine. I’m comparing this in my mind to how I was inspired by Rick to start camping, because he wrote about hiking and camping on his web pages, and I actually went beyond anything that he had done, by living in the woods in a tent for a couple of years and not living in an apartment at all (although I started going to a hotel frequently during storms). I might have actually influenced some of the TB people to cut back on caffeine, but they did a much better job of it than I did! I’m still drinking it, and now THEY are all way ahead of me! This is kind of awesome in a way. And then, Jesse got an extremely hard job and is working a huge number of hours, totally exhausting himself, and making a lot of money; I was ‘the first person’ to do that, quote unquote, and yet he’s gone far beyond anything that I ever did. I never did hard physical labor like hammering pieces of wood together all day long.

I’ll go ahead and post this… I might order pizza or something tonight. I wanted to go to the arts fests, too, but I’ll probably miss it this year, and actually, I guess that’s okay – I always go to them and then complain about how everything sucks and how I could do a much better job than this if I were an artisan. But I still wanted to go – I’m just too tired because I’m working too much! Maybe I’ll get a chance to go.

Rick D., I’m sorry for letting you down.

July 7, 2014

(I changed the name to an initial. An attack prompted the writing of this blog post, and another attack prompted me to remove the name.)

11:16 PM 7/7/2014

I wish that you could have talked to me all this time. You decided that being silent was the best thing for you to do. I’m not sure how you see things from your point of view.

All this time, I have continued to struggle and fail, by myself, very slowly, over months and years. Am I angry that you didn’t talk to me? Yes, I am – I think you could have motivated me. I could have done many things differently all this time. I could have moved much faster. You could have made a difference.

Then I met Jesse in December of 2013, and I was taken in a different direction which might not lead me to you. I don’t know where it’s leading. I don’t know if this relationship will be stable.

I tried to tell him about you, about what I’ve been doing, about how I’ve continued emailing you, although not as much as I did in the past. I didn’t get the chance to explain it all in detail, but was able to give him the general idea. He’s also loved someone else besides me and had his heart broken, and it still hurts him now.

I can push myself to work a lot harder and faster on my projects if I have a reason to care, but I didn’t have a reason to care all this time. Now I’m being slightly motivated again, not as much as I need to be, but some. I can’t motivate myself to move towards you. I was thinking that way, in the past, thinking I would buy a plane ticket and try to find you. Now I am thinking about Jesse instead, although I don’t know if our relationship will last a lifetime – he’s twenty years younger than I am. It has been a very difficult, challenging relationship, but yet, he and I are still talking to each other, seeing each other, and bonding more over time – we haven’t separated yet.

I didn’t do this to you on purpose. I really intended to go find you, and then Jesse appeared (or was ‘given’ to me). This seems wrong because I was telling you all this time that I was going to try to go meet you, but now I am not putting any energy into that goal, and I am going other directions instead. I did not do any of these things to be cruel to you or to disrupt your life. I didn’t want to disrupt your life or your marriage, I just could not control what I was doing at the time when that happened.

If you ever did hope to meet me, if any part of you ever wished for that or looked forward to that, I’m sorry for taking so long, and I’m sorry for falling in love with someone else so that I ended up going in a different direction away from you.

I don’t know what will happen now, except that I will keep bonding with Jesse.