BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West


An Update About My Mom

My mom is pretty sick right now.  It's very serious.  She was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago for her eyes having a problem (which is still a problem as well) but in the last week she got an infection and it's been downhill this week so far.  I got a call Monday morning about her condition that she needed to be moved to ICU and put on a ventilator.

She's basically getting lots of care and treatment.  It's an infection that is targeting, for the most part her lungs.  I'm simplifying things.  But... basically it's really serious.  Like... she may not survive this.  Actually, the doctors have confirmed that I need to be prepared that she most likely won't.  So as I speak, I've spent nearly the last two days in addition to every single night after work here at the hospital.  Lots of tears.  LOTS of tears.  The whole week has basically been just me crying on and off.  It comes in waves.  But I fight the tears back.

She has been admitted so many times, but usually it's something that she can manage to beat and the treatment isn't a big deal.  This is really something like she's never had before.

So, here I am.  Possibly about to lose my best friend in the whole world.  The one person that's just been there for me no matter what, and I've been there for her.  It's just heartbreaking.  I feel lost and alone.  All I can do is just sit with her and hope that she's comfortable and pain free... and I don't know.  Maybe she'll turn around.  There are so many issues going on though.

It's rough.  Right now she's sedated which means she can't speak, since she has a breathing tube in she needs to remain sedated.  This means it's just me talking to her without any response.  The last time I spoke with her was on Sunday on the phone.  I was supposed to come down on Tuesday and bring her clean clothes and maybe something to eat as a break from the hospital food.  But Monday morning she had to be moved to ICU and put on ventilation.  I want to speak to her right now so bad, you have no idea.  Just a conversation.  Just to talk about ANYTHING.  It's the worst feeling imaginable.

I'm trying to be strong though.  I'm managing the house and all the stuff there (which I've actually been doing for a while) and I just scheduled one of her cats for a vet check up in addition to giving them their meds.  I've got her phone and I'm calling back all her friends to update them all.  Kind of just holding things down.  Trying to have conversations with the doctors on her behalf and be her voice.

Just doing everything I can for her.  Trying to be realistic.  Trying to be hopeful.  Trying to balance the two.  It's scary stuff, but I know she's probably even more scared.  So I'm just here for her.  Just taking it one day, or one hour at a time.

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Engagement Photographers Up The Wazoo

Today I went to Longwood Gardens to write for a little bit.  Hello wedding photographers... Or engagement photographers rather.  There were at least half a dozen couples with photographers roaming the grounds snapping shots of them.  They were posing in front of every single little orange and red leaf they could find.

I sat and watched one couple and photographer do their thing.  It looked like the couple was definitely super in love.  I can't imagine what that must be like.  That must be an amazing feeling.  I was just kind of sitting there writing as they took photos by the lake/pond place.  It must be a feeling like no other.  To know that you've found that one person that you can't wait to spend the rest of your life with.

At the moment as I type this... I've still got nothing.  Part of me feels like there has to be a way to make yourself fall for someone, like maybe the people out there that ARE in love just basically made a choice to fall in love with the other person.  I've kind of tried this... I think about all the single girls that I know right now.  And I try to think of them in that romantic way... but I just feel nothing... There isn't anyone that we mutually have any interest in one another.  I have lots of friends and that's great.  I enjoy hanging out with my friends... single or not.  But there isn't any girl that I feel that little jump in my chest for.  You know... when you see someone even just for a second time and you get excited to see them again... Or you even think about them.  Or you get a text or email or message from them and you just feel that little rush of joy.

I read an article a while back about how all you have to do is stare into someone's eyes for 4 minutes.  And you'll fall in love with that person... I feel like that article is kind of full of crap because I think about all the staring contests I had with people when I was a young kid... I'm certainly not in love with any of those people and I never did end up falling head over heels for them.

Sometimes my mom's cats stare longingly at me because they want food or to be pet.  I'm certainly not in love with them either.

Sometimes people at work sit there and talk to me about their issue with their computer and they stare at me in the eyes while they speak... and I can't like look away because then I would feel rude... but it's definitely awkward... but I just sit there while they stare at me and tell me all about the issue so I can resolve it...

I'm not in love with them either.  Soo, I'm pretty convinced that article is... full o' crap.

I just don't think you can choose who you fall in love with.  You just have to be minding your own business and then.... there they are.  Out of nowhere.  All of a sudden.  Just like a pothole in the road.

So nope.  I don't have that with anyone that is currently sending texts or emails or messages that makes my heart jump when I check my phone and see it's them.  I've only ever felt that a handful of times in my life though.  And those girls were few and far between.  I guess that rare occurrence of excitement for someone is what makes it so special.  If we could all fall in love with everyone we met... Well that wouldn't be something to go out and take photos for.  That wouldn't be something to celebrate and congratulation someone on.  It wouldn't be special because it would just be a dime a dozen kind of thing...

But to find it when you least expect it in someone that you almost would have never met if just ONE thing had gone differently... That's why it's so great when two people finally meet.

I figure my line of events leading me to the girl that I'm supposed to end up with just hasn't finished that line yet.  Maybe I'm only 50 percent of the way there... and in another few years I'll find myself in some completely new place in life and then without warning there she'll be.  And it will happen so fast I won't even know what hit me.  Just like it must have happened for the couples out there today getting photos taken.

So yeah, like how I hit a pothole tonight that made a loud bang and now I'm paranoid my car is going to crap out on me.  I kept driving on and everything seemed fine... But it was definitely a pretty big pothole.  Hopefully there's nothing wrong.  If there is... I get a rental and the dealer fixes it... No big deal.  But I kind of feel like that's how love works...

Not the rental and dealer fixing it part.  The other part.

You just keep minding your own business and driving down the roads you drive each day... Like tonight where I've taken that same road hundreds of times and never had a problem... and then bam.  You do the same stuff you do in life... Perhaps hundreds of times... and then one day, love just hits you out of nowhere.

Lately I've kind of just been slowing down on dating more and more.  I still remain hopeful... But I think instead of going on dates... like from dating sites, or however they happen, I just want to hang out with friends.  Just go places.  Just do whatever.  Not try to "find" love.  I've noticed that some of my other friends have mentioned that the way they met their significant other was that they were introduced by hanging out with friends and then being introduced to a friend of a friend on some random Friday night out.

It's like six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  You know someone that knows someone that knows someone that's single.  You hang out with enough people... and eventually that one person that is right for you gets invited out as well on a Friday night.  Then you both get introduced and you get to chat as strangers with a group of people that you all know.  Then... you become friends.  Then perhaps from a friendship after knowing and trusting the person...  Maybe sparks fly.  It beats the whole going on first dates and maybe second or third dates and trying to make something happen.  I know now that you definitely can't make something happen.  Just like you can't drive around looking for potholes.  Because chances are even if you try to drive over one you'll miss it anyway and the tire will drive right beside it.  But when you try to avoid that sucker... you still hit it.

So yeah.  Instead... I guess maybe I'm more interested in that one day I'll just be hanging out with someone I know and all of a sudden bam... I'll end up with everything aligning correctly and there she'll be.

And then me and her will be just like those couples... Running around with a photographer pointing at us to stand in front of this tree and that tree and put our arms around one another and look longingly into one another's eyes.

And if not.  Then I guess I make some new friends of friends of friends of friends.  And for now, I just keep going about my day.  And going about my life.  Until that one day that love blindsides me out of nowhere on some random Wednesday evening.

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The Martian

Friday night I went to see the movie The Martian with my friend Melody.  I came home after work, fed my mom's cats and then went to meet her for a quick last minute unplanned bite to eat and a drink before the movie at Bahama Breeze.

Thursday night I got a text from Melody asking me if I wanted to go see The Martian with her because her usual movie buddy couldn't make it.  I replied, "Sure why not!  Sounds like fun."  I love going to the movies.  I know, it's expensive and I could just watch something at home and save some money, but there's still something about going with a friend or a group or on a date or even alone that has this little magic feeling to it.  The whole experience from buying a ticket from the person at the box office, to getting some fresh popped popcorn... handing in your ticket stub to the ticket collector... then finally finding your seat and settling in.

I just enjoy it.  I always have, always will.  Expensive or not... I think it's a fun experience.

So we went to Bahama Breeze first, I got the coconut shrimp tacos.  I highly recommend them.  They are crispy and delicious.  They come with a dipping sauce that rocked my world.  For the side I got the fruit, pineapples and grapes with a little tiny bit of sorbet, or it might have been sherbet...  Honestly, does anyone ACTUALLY know the difference between those two?  Seriously, they taste the same to me.

Along with my crispy coconut shrimp tacos I got a Bahamarita...


I didn't actually take that photo, that's a Google image search photo.  But that's pretty much what it looked like.  And it was yummy!  It was very light on the alcohol though... So I didn't really feel it at all.  But that's ok, I was super tired from work this week so if I'd had any more alcohol than what was in that drink I would have fallen asleep during the movie.

After Bahama Breeze we walked over to the theaters.  I love the KOP Bahama Breeze and movie theater there because you can just park anywhere in that lot and after having a drink or two and some dinner you can just walk over to the theaters.  It's just super convenient.  There should be island themed restaurants next to all movie theaters.  The world would be such a wonderful place.

When we got there we found out that the movie was in this RPX theater.  RPX means the seats are premium and the video and sound quality is super extra digitally enhanced.  That also meant the tickets were a little extra.  Personally, I feel like it was kind of worth it.  You get to pick your seats too when you buy the ticket.  So it's more like going to see live theater than just a plain vanilla movie theater experience.  I definitely feel like the sound system was amped up a little more, and the picture quality was VERY crispy.  Almost as crispy as my coconut shrimp tacos... but not quite, almost though.

Melody and I settled in to watch the movie.  About twenty minutes in there was some sort of medical emergency with one of the movie goers.  None of us really knew something had happened until the movie stopped suddenly.  I think someone tripped or fell coming up the ramp into the theater.  It was weird because it just paused out of nowhere.  At first I thought that they stream the movies, just like Netflix, and that it was buffering.  Then I thought maybe the system crashed.  Then the house lights came on and an usher announced that the movie would resume after the ambulance arrived...

We sat for about ten minutes until an ambulance arrived and took the person away.  I hope the person is ok and it wasn't anything major!  Like I said I don't exactly know the nature of the injury since they were in the one hallway and not in the theater itself.  I just know the usher guy had a roll of paper towels in his hand when he made an announcement to us.  Lots of people used the time to use the rest room, including myself.  Personally, I feel like they should pause all movies halfway through for bathroom breaks for five minutes.  It's a fantastic idea!  During the pause as well we started chatting about what had happened so far and what we thought was going to happen next and about some of the other aspects of the movie.

It reminded me of a couple times in college how my friend Ron and I used to watch documentary movies and kind of discuss them along the way.  I actually think it would be a fun to start a movie club where we pick a movie and meet as a group, and then we pause the movie perhaps two or three times during the movie to discuss and share our thoughts or feelings.  I love that kind of stuff.  Call me nerdy or academic, but I just really love things like that.

They resumed the movie and rewound it a few minutes so that we could catch up where we left off.  I really liked the movie.  I thought it was very, edge of your seat, suspenseful kind of deal.  Matt Damon is a great actor in my book and I thought he played the part well.  The humor in the movie was well placed, and the cast was excellent.  Some of the people in the movie threw me because I didn't expect those types of actors to play more serious roles as the ones they did.  Kristen Wiig and Donald Glover are normally comedy types... So it was different to see them play more serious roles.

One of the parts of the movie that I really loved was how they made the decisions they did.  I found it to be something that we all could consider in our own lives, or our jobs.  It's this theme of constraints and making decisions based on budgets, and calculations... but mixed with that is the human aspect.  In the movie, without giving too much away, they have to decide to rescue a stranded astronaut stuck on mars (that's all in the preview)... which is obviously outrageously expensive... by risking the lives of others.  This was actually a question posed in one of the iTunes U courses that I listened to a long time ago... the scenario was, if you would risk one person's life to save many... would you?  How much is one human life worth?

It's a tough decision to make.  Do you spare the lives of five or six people and let one life go?  Or do you risk the lives of all those people to attempt to save one?  As well, how much money do you spend save a life?  Unlimited amounts of money?  What if there is only so much money and if you spend money on one life... you won't have enough to save another?  How do you decide... Yes, obviously the best outcome is... save everyone... but what if it cost a million dollars to save a life... and you have five people to save, but you only have four million dollars... How do you reconcile that problem?

This happens in our everyday lives in a less extreme manner... if a company only has enough money for ten employees and they currently have eleven... How do you decide who to let go?  Or on a personal level if you have to buy food and pay bills and spend money on your car... but you only have enough for two of the three...

One solution is to borrow the money... but eventually that has to be paid back.  This is something that governments deal with all the time.  Borrowing money is one solution but then how do you pay it back?  If you still have less money than what is needed to keep those eleven employees... You can't borrow every year to keep paying them...

So yeah, there were lots of things to think about from this movie.

They had to deal with things like how much food and supplies he had left... and work against those limits to problem solve in order to keep him alive.  It was pretty intense to say the least.

Intenseness aside, I thought the movie was great.  It was action packed and entertaining, with a few bits of humor thrown in.  But it also made me think as well.  Of course it also made me nearly cry in some parts as well.  So, it kind of had it all.

I recommend checking it out if you decide to go see a movie in the theaters any time soon.  When we were leaving the theater they handed out readmission tickets good for another movie.  It was an apology for stopping the film.  That didn't bother me too much really.  It was only ten minutes.  It was no different than pausing Netflix and then resuming it.  So now I have one free ticket to use for another movie!  I'll definitely have to get myself a margarita and see another movie in the near future.

Oh, so here's the trailer for the movie.   But, yeah, definitely catch this one if you can.


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So my mom said that she can now read some letters on paper.  That's a step in the right direction.  She still has significant vision loss though.  Not sure if it will ever recover to the level it was prior.  I guess only time will tell.

As long as she can see enough to get around the house, that seems to be all that really matters to her.  And to be able to watch her Golden Girls DVDs.  She's obsessed with that show.  If you don't know what the Golden Girls is... and I have no idea HOW you could NOT know that show... it's 4 older ladies living in a house in Miami.  They are full of wisdom and sass.  And they are all like in their 70s, 80s or 90s.  I'm not certain on the age exactly.  But it's something along those lines.  Well anyways... you can probably find some episodes on Netflix I'm sure.  Or just head to your local Walmart.  That's where my mom got the entire series of Golden Girls on DVD.

I only know all about the show because I used to watch it in college... one of my friends in the dorms was obsessed with it too.  So I'd hang out with her and do homework and she'd do homework and she'd just have that on in the background.  It's funny.  And personally... I think those ladies are fabulous.

It's funny the memories though that are tied to things.  Like, I was thinking today about the memories of my grandparents, since I posted the blog yesterday about them.  I have specific albums for example that whenever I hear a song from that album I think of my grandmom.  Why?  Because when I was a kid at camp, she used to send me a couple of CDs each summer to add to my super crazy CD collection that I was completely obsessed with.  Nowadays I have all the music in iTunes and don't use CDs anymore, but at the time, I had cases and cases of CDs.  So she would let me pick one or two CDs and then she would mail them to me with a big long letter and a gift box with candy and such.  At the time the most important thing to me was the CD.  I can't for the life of me tell you what happened to the letter.  It pains me to think that I tossed it in the trash.

At this very moment, I can say that I WISH I would have kept the letters.  I could care less about the CD and the candy... but to be able to read her writing again?  I wish I still had those letters.

What's important changes in life as we age.  When we're younger we just have different wants and needs and things that we consider are important than when we get older.  Now that I work having savings of my own and investments of my own?  I could go buy an album and not even think twice about it.  But 15 bucks back when I was a young teen to buy a CD?  That was a LOT of money to me.  That was important.  And the letter was just something that came with the CD.  But all I really want now are those letters.

It's true what they say.  You don't really appreciate what you have until it's gone.  My mom was super happy just to be able to see a few letters on a page... Or just to be able to see the screen, even if very poorly, on the DVD player.  Something she had her whole life and didn't even think twice about.

I think if anyone reads this blog and gets anything out of it, be grateful for everything you have.  Be thankful and think about it all.  Know that any day, at any moment, anything could be taken from you.  So just cherish it all.  And keep letters.  Keep any letter that someone sends you.  You may just read it and delete it or throw it in the trash now, not thinking much about it, but I can tell you 10 years from now, or 20 years from now... You'll wish you had it to read again.

It kind of reminds me of this viral video I saw recently... the one where they are writing things on gum wrappers and it's a cute little love story.  The gum only lasts a moment, but the writing on the wrappers will last a whole lifetime.  In the initial moment it's the gum that seems more important, but it doesn't last, what lasts is the story on the wrapper... the very thing that's supposed to be discarded in the trash...


I find in life that a lot of times it works out like that... the things we never gave much thought to... end up becoming some of the most important things in our lives.  The letters, or the wrappers with writings on them.  And the same goes for people I think.  When you meet someone that may become VERY influential in your life, usually at first you don't give them much thought.  But then years later they were one of the most important and influential people you had ever met.  Completely changed you as a person or changed the direction of your life.  But then the things we thought were the most important things in the world at the time... become kind of silly and unimportant when we look back.

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Back To The Future Day!

Today is Back To The Future Day.  Or so I've been told by numerous people throughout my day.

Fun.  I'm fairly sure everyone has seen all three movies.  If you haven't.  I mean... How have you not?  But I suppose it's possible.  Well in the second movie when he goes into the future, he goes to today: October 21st 2015.  So, this is 'the future'.  Well anyways... A quick little true story.

So, when my grandparents were alive they lived up in Montecito, California.  They had a house on East Mountain Drive.  When I went to visit them when I was 14 we went to the beach one day and then driving back we got behind Doc (Christopher Lloyd).  So there we were driving behind him.  Since my grandparents were basically neighbors of his they did a quick wave at one another.  I'll never forget that.

He actually didn't live on the exact same street.  He was a street off of East Mountain Drive called Coyote Road.  They shared backyards.  By backyards I mean backmoutainsides.  Basically my grandparents and his house didn't actually have a backyard.  They have like a ravine behind the house that goes down and then comes back up to the next house.  That's California for ya.  Lots of mountains. So anyways yeah you could see the back of his house from my grandparents house.

I think there was like a famous author that lived there too but I forget which one.  He was like famous but not.  Like supermarket check out books famous.

Well the house has since been sold and belongs to someone new now.  They lived there for a long while and before that, when the original Back To The Future came out, they lived in the Pacific Palisades on Surfview Drive right off the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), all the way at the very top of the street.  Last house on the street as a matter of fact.  We used to swim in their pool just about every Sunday as little kids.  Both houses had views that were absolutely astonishing.  Just mountainside southern California looking out to the Pacific Ocean.  My grandmom was all about art and sculptures and paintings.  SO she had TONS of paintings and sculptures.  I can still picture both houses in my mind and the artwork in every area and every part of the house as well as the outside house.

I think it would be fun to kind of "go back in time" and maybe one day drive to both of those houses just to see what they look like now.  I wouldn't like knock on the door, that would be weird.  But I'd probably kind of maybe just drive up and have a looksee from the road.  Maybe just admire the view of the ocean and relive the memories I have of my grandparents.  I miss them a lot... So yeah.  I don't know... that could be kind of tough.  But, good memories so not all that tough.

I often wonder what it would be like to go back in time, just chat with people from our past.  Family members.  Or friends.  Maybe make some changes.  I guess there's no way of knowing how a change in the past would change the present or the future.  Plus, if I change something from my past that involves another person, it would alter their present now.  And lets say they were super happy with how things in their life were now.  By me changing something and changing their path in life I'd alter their life as it is right now.  Seems kind of selfish of me to change the past.  They say everything happens for a reason.  Most of the time I can't make much sense of that reason... But I just go with it.  I figure eventually one day, it will somehow all make sense.  For now I just live in the moment of today.  Yesterday gives us memories and tomorrow gives us hope, or something like that.


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I’ve Never Laughed So Hard In My Life

This video popped up as sponsored content on my Facebook timeline/newsfeed today.  File this one under I've never laughed so hard in my life.  I was at work, I almost fell out of my chair.  The facial expressions on the unicorn just had me dying of laughter.  Oh my gosh.... It's the funniest ad I've ever seen in my life... Also, I'm not going to lie, I'm intrigued to try one of these now.  But aren't we all?  I think so.  Seriously though this video... is... too much.  I've never laughed so hard in my life... Ok maybe I've laughed harder at one or two other things... but this is pretty up there on my list of funniest things.


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Not In Love

Some people on this planet are in love.  I am not one of them.  I wish I were.  But I'm not.  I've tried for most of my life to find someone...

I think the closest I've ever come was 2010.  That girl will forever be on my mind.  She really made my heart feel something I've never felt.  Definitely different from any other girl I've met on this planet so far.  That's for sure.  But the last I heard she was riding of into the sunset with some new dude.  Lucky guy whoever he is.

So here I am still dating.  Going on first dates.  Some second and third dates.  Most of the girl I think to myself... Hmmm I wonder if she might be the one... but then they reject me.  Most girls, like 99 percent just flat out aren't interested.  Then there's a handful that are... kind of... somewhat... some days... other days not... wishy washy.  Maybe.  Then they disappear.  Every now and then there's a girl that is willing to give it multiple dates... but then it's just like... eventually...

Me: "So..."

Her: "Soooo..."

Me: "Yep..."

Her: "Mmmm hmmmm..."

*insert crickets chirping*

Fizzling out is probably the best term to describe it.  Either one of us.... or both of us just feel nothing.

And then you have that moment where you TRY to make yourself want the person.  I do that with my friends that are girls.  I'll be maybe on my second beer and I'll just be like what if?

But then I'm like... Sigh... We're just friends.  It's that whole Harry met Sally deal, where girls and guys can't be friends.  They can.  I've been friends for years with lots of girls.  Some of them we even tried hooking up... and nothing.  Both  of us are like... Yep, THAT was a bad idea.  Back to the friend thing.

I'm not in love.  Even one iota.  I don't even have anyone that I have a secret crush on.  I just have nothing.  Nothing at all.

And I see all these married people.  I work with all these married people.  I know all these married people.  I just think... How?  How did you get that far?  Without it just turning to awkward nothing ness.  Or without the other person deciding they wanted someone else.  Or without you just having to break it off because you just don't feel anything for that person.

Maybe I just haven't met the right person.  That's what everyone says.  They keep telling me... No no, when you meet the right person, you two will be inseparable.  You'll hear each other's thoughts inside each other's heads.  You'll go to text that person and they will already have texted back.  You'll just feel like a giant rope is wrapped around both your hearts and you won't be able to stop it from pulling you both in together tighter and tighter.  Until you're just two hearts beating as one.

I guess.  I guess I just haven't met the right person then.  Because so far the closest I had to feeling someone else soul tethered to mine... was a girl that read my twitter and blog on the regular.  I guess even that is over now.  I don't know... who knows.  Like I said, the last I heard she was all sparks and lovey dovey with some "keeper" and I stopped keeping up with her stuff myself.

I think the worst feeling in the world... is wanting someone that wants someone else.  There is no worse feeling, as far as I've experienced on this planet.... than liking someone that likes someone else.

That's when you are just like, I don't want to know.  I'd rather just not know.  Blah.

Hmmm... so here I am with nothing.  No one to be roped to.  Just my heart with a rope swinging around with no one on the other side.

I go on all these dates.  I feel nothing.  I go out places, bars... events.... I hang out with friends, get introduced to their friends...

Still nothing.

I go to yoga, the gym... I go to coffee shops.  I do it all.  Everywhere and anywhere I could possible just cross paths with any other single girl.


33... Single...

I've got nothing.

I'm not in love, and it sucks.  Everyone else is happily married, and they are just like... Oh you just have to (insert piece of dating advice here) that's how I met my (insert husband/wife's name here).

None of it works.

So I don't know.  Maybe love just isn't in the cards for me.  I've often thought about that.  Or maybe... the person you end up with isn't someone that you actually have feelings for .  You just  find someone and go with it.

Maybe after just spending time with someone for a while you start to feel something...

But I'm not convinced about that.  That doesn't explain people that break up after many years of dating, or divorce.  If all it took was spending time with someone to fall in love... What happened there?  If you spend TOO much time do you then fall out of love?

Spend time... but not too much time.

I seriously have heard and tried a million different ways... none of it has worked.

So I don't know.  Here I am waiting... for a girl.  I don't know her name... I don't know anything about her... I don't even know if she actually exists.  I sure hope she does.  But... it's starting to feel like I'm sitting at the station waiting for a train that doesn't seem to be coming.

And each minute that goes by... Just starts to seem like... I've been stood up by the love train.  Wrong set of tracks maybe.  Maybe it passed me by?  I don't know.  I keep saying, I give up.  But I don't really... I want love dammit!  It just seems so unfair that everyone else has it.

I feel like I should be able to be with someone that I have genuine feelings for and wants to be with me. I shouldn't have to settle for something that might be love, but we're both not sure if it is or not.

"Do you feel something?"

"Yeah I...  I think so?  How about you?"

"Yeah?  I'm not sure.... I think?  How long does it take until we know?"

"Hmmm... I don't know?  Maybe we just have to keep kissing or something.  And then we'll start to feel something."

"Ok... do you want to kiss?"



"I think so?  Wait there... no... sorry, that was indigestion."

"Damn.  This isn't working is it?"


I'm not in love.  Not even a little bit.  Not even a crush on anyone.  Just nothing.  Sigh.  Nothing.

I feel like it's my fault.  Like I'm the one that can't make myself feel anything.  But everyone just keeps saying... no no, it's because you just haven't met the right one yet.

Love.  Who knows.  Maybe some day I'll get to experience it too.  I sure hope so.  I'm just so envious and jealous of those people that do have it.  Those people that made it.  That found one another.  I don't know how you did it.  If you made it happen by some special technique of how to fall in love... or if you got lucky and just ran into the "right" person.  Whatever the secret... I don't know how you did it.  But I wish I could just hurry up and find that too.


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Lost Blog

So I just typed up this whole big long blog and then I hit the "Publish" Button and it somehow returned gibberish and then everything was lost.  Blank.  Gone.

Noooooooooo!  So, this is a short post in honor of my big long post that I just spent an hour typing.  I'm sorry little blog post, I don't have the energy/motivation to re-type you.  You will forever be lost and gone forever.

Losing stuff is the worst feeling.  Especially things you worked hard on.  But it happens.

So here's a little post going out to all the things and people that used to be in my life... that are no longer/are lost and gone forever from my life.  Just like the blog post I just wrote.

Maybe I'll just post about the shirts I bought at Old Navy today.  I bought a couple of their basic tees.  I got a few different colors.  One of the shirts was pink.  I've never owned a pink shirt... I figure hey why not?  Who am I trying to impress?  I'll rock a pink tee shirt.  Why not?  Also it was super cheap.

I also got another hoodie because it's Fall and the chilly autumn air is upon us.  I'm happy with my purchases.  So there you have it.  There's my blog post in place of my other blog post that seems to have been taken by the blog gremlins.

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Stocking Up

Money.  It's a pain in the butt mostly.  Everyone is always like... "I wish I were rich!"

Yes, it's nice to have lots of money... but see...

It's not as simple as just "Being rich".  With money, comes responsibilities.  Tax issues.  Accounting issues.  Lawyers.  Setting things up so that you preserve the wealth.  Wealth management.  Setting things up so that people don't misuse your money, or try to take it.  Trusting people.  Are people only trying to be your friend because of the money?  Or are they genuine?

I'm not talking about just having a checking and saving account.  I'm talking about when you go beyond those limits.  When you have to start putting the money elsewhere because they only FDIC insure accounts up to a certain amount.  And then you have to worry about your dollars being eroded due to inflation... Or fees charged by financial professionals.

Seriously though.  Money is work!  Really it is.  A lot of people don't understand that.  And if you aren't doing the work... Someone else is and they are taking their fee or cut for it.

Either way when you have lots of money someone has to do the work involved.  Even if your money just sits in a bunch of dividend producing stocks... and you never buy or sell any additional shares, you'll have to file income on the dividends that you get on a quarterly basis coming in from those shares that you own.  And then when you eventually sell those shares you'll need to worry about capital gains, or losses.  Let's say something happens to you... Do you have a proper will setup?  Do you have a trust created and someone to manage it?  Lawyers, accountants, tax professionals, financial managers.

It's a lot to think about.

I mean, I've been really into stocks for a while now... I started trading in 2006.  So, I know more than most people.  I've done a TON of reading, hours and hours and hours in coffee shops.  I've just been funding my account with my work paychecks.  I'm actually pretty proud of the portfolio that I'm building/manage.  It's my baby.  I tend to it every day.  If I'm not actually making trades, I'm doing research for future trades.

Up until now I've been fine to just use a basic discount tax service.  But things are going to start getting complicated soon... I'm probably going to start having the need to have professional accountant services and tax services.

Right now I'm full on in about 40 different stocks.  I'd really like to get that up to 50 or so, or maybe 100 stocks.  I generally trade or rebalance about once or twice a week on average.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  I also have a good amount of dividends coming in that I can then use to trade with those as well as they accumulate in my account.  Or I can just use them to buy fancy things.  I might use some of them to buy a new iPhone.  I'm thinking of going big and just going for the 128gb one.  I'm sick of having to choose which songs to put on my phone in my music library.  Might as well just buy the big one so I can just put them all on.

But yeah, I'm all about stocks.  I stay up on tons of news.  I track earnings reports.  I know a lot of the different tax rates/considerations for the various investments.  Dividends are taxed differently than capital gains, and you have long term and short term.  You also have qualified and non qualified divs, along with something called return of capital.  Then you have things like mergers or buy outs to deal with.

The IRS wants to know ALL about that stuff.  And you better be prepared to tell them.

But that kind of stuff can hurt returns.  So can too much trading.  I have super rigid rules for my trading.  I only buy specific types of assets.  I scour financials.  I want to know what that business does and exactly how they make money.  I want to know if their business model is sustainable and has growth in their future.

A lot of stocks are "valuations".  That means they are priced for a future event or return.  Biotech stocks are like this.  Miracle drugs are great, but... A lot of them are in clinical testing.  Not my bag.  That's a roll of the dice in my opinion.

I'm more interested in a company that has strong current and historical cashflows.  I'm more interested in something like a healthcare REIT (real estate investment trust) that owns property that healthcare offices pay money to every single month.  Or that shopping center down the street from you that you go to your local CVS to buy your prescriptions.  Or even CVS!  I'm actually most likely picking up some more CVS shares tomorrow.  It goes Ex-Dividend on Tuesday.  Really I should have picked some up on September 29th when it bottomed out, but oh well.

I only trade dividend stocks.  Netflix has had a great run, but it doesn't pay a dividend.  I'm also into share buybacks.  I like companies that buy back shares...  Not a big fan of debt unless it's being used to grow aggressively.  Although growth too fast can be bad too because it can cause scaling issues.

Everyone wants to make a million dollars overnight.  I'm just not concerned with that.  I'm more interested in runs batted in... not home runs.  I'm not a big fan of sports, but I love sports analogies.  I'd take a consistent hitter that gets on base and makes it all the way around the bases even if it's one base at a time, than the guy that hits a home run every once in a while.

Money that comes fast, goes fast.

As well it's hard to really predict what stock is going to be that one big home run.  Hindsight?  Easy.  But if you were to go back to the early 2000s and predict that Netflix would dominate the video streaming market?  I remember in 2005 I was a counselor and one of the guys was like... Hey let's sign up for Netflix and we'll split the fee and we can get DVDs mailed to watch on our nights off all summer.

Everyone was NOT all about it at all.  They didn't have something to really grab people.

Enter original programming.  Whoever sat around that office meeting boardroom table and pitched that idea?  I think that's when things really took off for them.  Orange is the New Black, House of Cards... Many other shows.  But my thing about Netflix is that it's still a highly competitive market... and someone could come up with the "next big thing" and sweep fast through everyones hearts to steal market share.

Plus Netflix is still trading at a HUGE P/E ratio... which means that the company is expected to grow a lot.  It's over 200 right now.  That's just WAY too high for what I prefer.

With CVS?  You kind of have to build physical stores.  Which, is not to say that someone else couldn't come along.  That's always a risk.  But I think in the real world, verses the digital world, change happens a bit slower.  Like a big giant ship being steered.

Since I could be wrong, I diversify.  Thus my 40 stocks... well actually 41 stocks.  I have had some stocks go south... but my gains have more than balanced those out.  The way I trade is mostly that I reinvest my capital gains after covering my losses to acquire more shares in more stocks and build my portfolio up.  Then I use my dividends to cash out and buy stuff.  I think of my dividends as a base salary.

Simply holding those shares gives me 4 paychecks a year per stock.  Today I had 4 different stocks pay all on one day.  It was only about 40 bucks, but that's 40 bucks I could use to buy groceries with or put gas in my tank!

I could talk forever about stocks and businesses and financial stuff.  But yeah I'm all about it more and more.  I know most people think it's super boring.  I try to talk to friends and family about it and they are like "What's an Ex-Dividend date?"

Ex-Dividend dates are when you hold the stock to get the dividend.  It will then be paid to you at a later date, usually a few weeks later.  Generally when I purchase stocks, I buy them a day before/a few days before that date.  If I'm right about my trade and it goes up a few days/weeks/months later, I sell.  I get a nice little capital gain, and I get a dividend.  Then I take that money and put it right back into a new trade.  If I'm wrong... I hold.  And then I just keep collecting quarterly dividend payments for being wrong.  My short term or swing-ish/dividend scoop trade just becomes a long term investment.  I call it "I meant to do that" trading.

One of my friends once said to me "Oh yeah?  How's that working out for you?"

It's working out pretty well actually.  Because even if I'm wrong, I still get to use my dividends to fix my "mistake" trade.  And I tend to trade stocks that increase their dividends every year.  Like ITW, or Illinois Tool Works that just increased their divided recently.  They just increased their dividend from 48 cents a share to 55.  And they have been increasing their dividends for 51 years now.  Since 1964!

That's like getting a raise at work every year for 51 years.  All you have to do it hold on to those shares.

If you trade by rules, you take out emotion.  You make decisions based on data and not gut.  Anyone that trades by gut is in for a terrible time and will ultimately lose money in the long run.  Trading should never be emotional.  It should be based on decisions and screens and financial information and analytical decisions.

Right now since I have my current strategy all set after about a couple years of really getting into it... I need to start accumulating data on my actual returns.  The idea is that you should beat the market.  The major indices and such.  But you need several years of data to really tell if you are doing super well.  And then you just modify the trading strategy if it's not working that well.

And regardless of the returns, it gives me something to check on a regular basis and things to read up about.  When you are invested in 40 some stocks, but follow hundreds on your watch list for potential new trades, you always have lots to read up about!

I really enjoy it.  I think it would be fun to have that as my full time job, then make music and write books on the side.

Some of my other rules include I won't put more than a fixed cap in any specific stock.  I have a number that I won't go higher than when placing a trade.  I also have a fixed number of stocks that I'll get into.  Right now it's 40 even though I'm actually in 41.  What I do is I trade one more than the stock cap.  As my cash starts to increase I'll then either increase the cap slightly or increase the number of stocks.  I think I really want 50 stocks... but like I said I might one day want 100.  Then once I reach that max cap, I'll start increasing how much I put in each stock slowly.

Sorry that was just kind of a big long ramble blog.  It probably doesn't make sense to most people...

But yeah.  Money isn't just something you can HAVE.  You have to work for it.  Literally... you do.  Even if you're not just working a job for a paycheck... and you HAVE money in the bank... You have to then do work for that money to keep it earning and growing and paying taxes on those earnings and making sure you don't lose it to inflation... or to people trying to dupe you out of money by selling you overpriced fake rolex watches.

That being said right now I'm small potatoes.  But I plan to work at it to build it up so that I can make it big potatoes one day.  I plan to keep funding my trading with my paychecks and use the dividends coming in to buy music recording gear.  Or other things that I really need to use on a daily basis to keep improving my life.  I just think it's all really neat stuff!


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Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride

Last night I went to the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride attraction near me.  It was REALLY fun!  I was super tired after work, but thanks to my newest thing of having a little bit of iced coffee before and after work in addition to my tea that I usually drink, it gave me the gusto to push onward into the night.


So, the plan was to meet my coworker there just before dark, beat the crowds and lines...  Well, the plan worked for the most part.  Both of us were late due to tons of traffic on the way there.  My coworker had no work yesterday but apparently he had a lot of other stuff to do and by other stuff I mean he was busy watching Netflix.  No seriously.  That's what he said.  So, I left work at 5.  Then I stopped home, did a few things here.  I fed the cats and such and changed a stinky litter box.  Then after a quick stop at the pet store for more pet related chores and a stop at Wawa to grab a sandwich I was off.

To my surprise they bought back the Hot Turkey Gobbler.  I was ecstatic.  I ordered one and a little side of mac and cheese.  Now, eating a Hot Turkey Gobbler can be tricky.  They are a bit messy.  I've found the key is to eat your mac and cheese first.  Then use the cup/bowl along with the fork to place the Hot Turkey Gobbler shorti in.  You have to first pick at all the parts that fall out.  Then once you've gotten all the loose bits you can pick it up and more will fall out, but into the bowl.  Then eat as you please.  Make sure to remember to grab 10 napkins, because you'll need them all.  After you finish, you can just eat the rest of the bits that fell into the bowl with the fork.  Or, I guess you could just order the hot turkey bowl.  But I would argue it's just not the same.



I arrived just as I'd finished eating.  I met up with my friends and we made our way to the entrance.  We all had coupons for 10 bucks off, because we're super savvy deal hunters like that.  The 10 bucks off was only if you did all three of the different attractions.  But we wanted to do all three anyways.  So, it was a mutual win.

First up?  The haunted hayride.  It was awesome to say the least.  There was no line.  Basically, there weren't any lines for any of the three things because it was a Monday night.  We heard though, that the Friday and Saturday night prior the wait was upwards of 2 hours for the hayride.  2 hours!!!

2 hours is just too long of a time to stand in line.  I'm soooo glad we decided to go on a Monday when it was chill and there weren't a lot of people.  It was perfect really.

Well, so, my coworker and I along with his sister and her friend sat in the way back.  Word to the wise, if you decide to hayride... don't sit in the back.  That's where the people jumping out of spooky hiding spots and all the different parts of the ride seem to gravitate to.  Sure they will head up front and around to the other sides, but they MOSTLY go to the back.

We caught on quick to their game though.  So what happens is they work in teams.  One of them will just kind of walk beside you and be semi spooky.  But they won't do anything.  You'll start looking at them and pointing at them and get your friends to all look.  Then?  The second person will do some kind of big scare from the other side!  And everyone jumps.  Then they do their best evil laugh and retreat into the darkness.

The hayride was longer than expected.  I enjoyed it though.  Normally I'm not a huge horror things fan... but this was good fun because I was with lots of people.  Watching a horror movie alone though?  I probably would never do that.  It's just not normally my thing.  I used to be into watching horror movies in college in someone's dorm room.  But that's just because there would be like a dozen of us all piled in a little dorm and we would order pizzas and stuff.  Making popcorn in the little microwave.  Good times.  Also we'd make fun of the movie, so it wasn't all that scary really.  Which is kind of what our group did last night at the hayride thing.

Ok, so after that ride was over we decided to check out the corn maze.  It wasn't really maze, so much as just a really long pathway.  We meandered our way along.  The one thing that we noticed was that a lot of the scenes/sets in this attraction seemed to be "Southern" themed.  Or maybe it was "Hill Billy".  Lots of the scary people spoke in mock southern accents.  I'm not sure where that came from.  I'm going to guess it's inspired by that one chainsaw massacre movie which I believe took place in like Mississippi?  I could Google fact check, but it's late and I'm trying to get to sleep.  So I'm just going to keep typing.

I felt like every other set/scene was like, "Y'all come back now... So we can CHAIN SAW YOU APART!"

And feed you to the gators.  The corn maze people were big on gator feeding.

Oh so, there's no blade on the chainsaw though.  It's just a prop.  But it gets me every time still.  And the gator was a robotic gator.  That's an old gag.  The guy dressed as a butcher starts up a chainsaw.  Because logically butchers use chainsaws all the time to cut things up.  Maybe they do?  I'm not a butcher...

Or maybe it's a southern thing?  Ah yep, I reckon we cut everything up with a chainsaw down here in these parts...  Hey!  Y'all want that Hot Turkey Gobbler Shorti cut in half?  Hold on... Let me get the chainsaw!

I'll have to ask one of my summer camp friends that lives in the deep south if it's anything like that.  My guess is... Probably not so much.

Maybe people in the north just find southern people scary and southern people find northern people scary?

Eh, you'se guys... They're from the south!  RUN!!!

Y'all... They're from the north!  RUN!!!

So maybe since this corn maze was in the north... everyone was southern.  I guess if you go to a hayride down south, all of the scary scenes are like New Yorkers hanging out the windows of cars chewing gum honking their horns.

"Eh!  Would ya move it already??? C'mon!!!!"

Scary stuff.

Ok so after the deep south corn maze was over.  We decided to sit and enjoy some hot cocoa.  The same three songs were on loop near the concession stand.  By the time we left we were doing lip-syc routines to Thriller since we'd heard it soo many times.  And the Ghost Buster's Theme.  It was basically those two songs on repeat.  And then this random Rob Zombie song from the 90s.  That Dragula song from like 1998.

The haunted house was up next.  Now this was pretty good.  It was very twisty turny.  The props were cool.  Lots of robotic and animatronic things.  It was also very short though.  I would say that the hayride was the longest, followed by the deep south hill billy corn maze thing, then the haunted house.  The vamp house.  It seemed like there were lots of vampires from what I recall.  Not very many zombies.  Actually there didn't seem to be all that many zombies at all.  I think there were more walking scarecrow esk people than there were zombies.  Could have used more zombies for sure.  If I filled out a feedback card, I'd say...

Could you add just a tad more zombies please?  I'd suggest a couple more of those.

Anyways yes, the haunted house was short and sweet.  There was one point though that I actually REALLY hated.  They kind of trap you between two of the actors and won't let you leave this one room for a good fifteen seconds.  It seems like it will last forever.

When you finally leave though... it's like oh my gosh... I'm SOOOO glad that's over.  And then you feel only fine.  Relieved.  You feel good almost.

I guess that's the idea of all these horror things though right?  It's almost like in real life...  When things are "scary" or bad, and that does suck... eventually when the scary part is over, eventually things go back to being not so scary... it's like, ahhhh, breath of fresh air.  Things are finally ok again.

All in all I had a pretty good time with some friends.  I'm not really a horror person like I said.  So this will probably be the extent of my October scary things.  Maybe next up will be pumpkin picking.  Or something like that.  Or perhaps I'll have to grab another pumpkin margarita before that ends!  Those pumpkin margaritas are scary... scary good.

So there you have it!  That was my Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride experience.  Oh and then at the very end we just fooled around and took silly photos.

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