Thank the Greeks it’s Friday

A Historical Friday Haiku

The Greeks named today

“Hemera Aphrodites”

Aphrodite’s day.

Monday’s Solar Eclipse

Let me get the Public Service Warnings out of the way:

  • Do not stare at the sun or eclipse with the naked eye. Damage to your vision could result.
  • Do not look at the sun or eclipse through your camera’s viewfinder withiut an approved solar filter on the lens. Damage to your vision could result.
  • Do not take pictures of the sun/eclipse with your camera or smartphone without an approved solar shield. Damage to the electronics could result.

Be aware there are unscrupulous people selling “protective” solar eclipse eyeware that doesn’t protect you from shit. Amazon has been policing the sutuation, but many have already been sold.

That said, I’m really ticked at my ADHD procrastination. I saw solar eclipse glasses for sale at American Science and Surplus back in March when we were buying fun items for our kids’ Easter baskets.

I regret not buying them then because now they’re impossible to find. But then, if I had bought them, I wouldn’t remember where I put them these five months later.

Yesterday, I saw a sheet solar eclipse film for $27 that you could cut to your specifications. I figured I could cut them up so we could wear them on our faces, as well as buy an SLR 58mm empty filter to glue the film to and screw over the SLR camera’s lens.

But when I hit Add to Cart, I kept getting errors. Later, when I finally seaeched again, the price had jumped to $67! I hate the law of supply and demand.

So, I guess we have to go to the old school, tried and true method of putting a pinhole in a cereal box and watching the eclipse’s reflection through that.

Or, I could just go on FB and view the millions of FB Go Live events everyone will be posting.

Well, there’s another total solar eclipse expected on September 14, 2099. Maybe I should buy them Tuesday and out them away.

Fahrvergnügen

You remember the old Volkswagen ads, right? Fahrvergnügen! Which means, “driving pleasure.”

Tomorrow, we (specifically my wife) get to once again enjoy Fahrvergnügen!

We will be picking up our new 2017 VW Jetta SE. I don’t expect much sleeping tonight as we wait in restless anticipation like it’s the night before Christmas.

Our first car as a couple was a Jetta. Great car that we drove into the ground because neither of us are mechanics.

Weird thing was, it had no lap belts. It did have a shoulder belt. The salesman at Ernie Von Schledorn (“Who do you know want’s a car?”) told us that a lap belt was unnecessary because the dash was heavily padded to protect our knees in a crash.

And we believed the asshole.

Anyway, it was still a great car and we were fortunate never to have tested the padded dash.

But we wondered as we test drove and finally decided to welcome this new Jetta into our family, why it took almost 25 years to look at another VW?

My son and I were thinking of naming the Jetta, Jarvis, because that’s a good German name. My wife is leaning toward Jean-Luc, because … Piccard. And really, Star Trek and Patrick Stewart trump a Marvel AI anyday. Sorry, didn’t mean to trigger anyone by saying trump. Dang. Did it again.

And no, I’m not unhappy with my Fiat 500 already. In fact, here’s a

Gina Update

My Fiat 500 is still the most fun car to drive I’ve ever owned or even test drove. I have no idea where all the bad reviews come from. I haven’t experienced any issues at all and still find it an extremely enjoyable ride. In fact, no one shoukd be allowed to enjoy driving this much.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Well, maybe for a 500 Abarth, that little scorpion badge is pretty cool. Or maybe a 124 Spider. But that’s several years away.

I am thinking of adding a throaty performamce exhaust at some point though. I think Gina would sound good with a growl.

Weigh-In Friday

Yeah. Sorry. I forgot to weigh myself again. Don’t worry. Wednesday I see my doctor for a regularly scheduled annual checkup and I’m sure his scale will tell me I’m still a fat slug. It always does. No matter what my home scale says, I can always count on his scale to add several pounds. That scale hates me.

Update on Zagg

Last week i ranted about Zagg making hard screen protectors for the Samsung Galaxy S8 that are for shit. They only have glue along the two curved sides, which causes several problems.

One is they create an airgap between the screen and protector which inhibits touch sensitivity, forcing the user to press harder.

The second is they just fall off because there isn’t enough adhesive holding the protector to the glass.

My wife’s just fell off. My son’s didn’t fall off when he dropped it but the Invisible Shield itself cracked.

I invoked their warranty, which is a free replacement whenever you damage it. They send you a replacement screen protector and a prepaid envelope in which to send the damaged shield back. I suppose that prevents people from submitting endless claims, getting a free reolacement, and selling them to others.

The other day I received an email from Zagg. “We received your damaged shield. Thank you. And we charged your credit card on file for $10.99 for shipping and handling.”

That isn’t free! I call that being charged. Bastards.

The Alt-Right

Fuck them. Fuck all of them. Fuck the Nazis. Fuck the neo-Nazis. Fuck Nazi sympathizers. Fuck Nazi apologists. Fuck the KKK. Fuck white nationalists. Fuck white supremacists. Fuck fascists. Fuck racists. Fuck misogynists. Fuck bigots. Fuck homophobes. Fuck Islamiphobes. Fuck anti-semites. Fuck TheRump. Fuck Bannon. Fuck all the fascists in the GOP. Fuck anyone who rationalizes hate, prejudice, or who blames “both sides.”

Because there is no middle ground here. Both sides aren’t to blame nor are the radicals on the right and left cut from the same mold. The responsibility lies solely with the alt-right. They don’t plan “peaceful” protests or rallies. They come armed to intimidate and provoke fear. They come to spread their loathsome message of hate in an attempt to win over new converts who get a hard-on for these primitive chest-pounding threat displays. These are nothing more than recruitment rallies and the more media attention they get, the more successful they are. That’s how bullies work.

And the only way to stop a bully is by standing up to them, refusing to back down, refusing to be intimidated. And by answering with force if need be.

If anyone tries to spread the blame to both sides, if they try to make claims that the alt-left is just as guilty as the alt-right, explain to them there is no alt-left.

There is no alternative to denoucing hate, prejudice, and racist beliefs. In the end it comes down to this: you either support hateful, fascist slime or you stand with the rest of the human race. There is no middle ground.

An Alt-Right Haiku

Ignorant beliefs

Hate, prejudice, racism

We stand against you.

And how about some classic Anti-Nazi songs?

anti-Nazi Songs

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Back to thinking mornings suck

As you might remember if you regularly follow my blog, I started running in the morning back in June. I actually was getting up earlier than my normal waking time, by about 45 minutes, so up at 5am, to go for a run.

And considering I have never been a morning person, I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing that.

Well, guess what? That experiment has failed. “How?” you ask? “By the sun,” I reply.

Yes, the sun. In the longer days of June and July, I’d get up and there was enough predawn light in the bedroom that I could dress without turning on the light and waking my wife. Also, the predawn light acted as a motivator. “Oh, look, Sol is up already. The least I can do is get up as well.”

In other words, dawn was mere minutes away. The sky was turning pretty shades of red, orange, and purple. It was often beautiful.

I did not, however, get up when it was raining.

Why? Because it was dark and gloomy out. I believe I’ve mentioned I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Most people only suffer SAD during the long, overcast days of winter, when there isn’t enough sun.

For me, however, even just one cloudy day can set off my SAD. I’m very sensitive to a lack of sunlight, moreso than most.

Which will explain why as the days grow shorter and the sun rises later, I’ve been struggling the last few weeks to get up.

My alarm goes off, I get up to turn it off, and the darkness beckons me to reset the alarm for 45 minutes later and I get back I to bed. I don’t hit snooze, I actually change the time the alarm goes off.

As it’s gotten darker these last few days in the morning, I’ve just left my alarm set for 5:45 am.

And it will only become an insurmountable obstacle once November 5th gets here and we have to set our clocks back an hour.

Getting up at 4:45 am every morning during the winter will be difficult enough. No way could I set the time for 4 am to get up to run.

I loathe going back to Standard Time.

So, I’m sorry to disappoint all the morning runners, but I’ve returned to evening runs. It was fun while it lasted.

Ok, that’s a lie. Morning running was never fun. I was like an automaton set to autopilot. I ran at one slow, steady speed. Every part of me exceot my legs were still asleep.

I never increased my pace, except for a half-hearted sprint for the last block (60 to 100 yards?). And Inwas only able to increase my distance feom the 1 mile a day in June to about 1.75 miles.

I do not have any gumption in the morning. My brain is asleep, which means my motivation center is as well. I do not have the will needed to say, “Go faster!” even if it’s just to the next tree or to say “Keep going!” once I’ve reached my usual end point.

However, I can do that in the evening. I can force myself to go faster, to run farther.

So my experiment in morning running is over. It was a fail. I never improved as a runner and just barely maintained where I was.

In other words, mornings still suck and I’m glad to be rid of them.

Update rant on US Cellular

We’re still waiting for our rebate for having switched from Verizon to US Cellular. I had to go back to the brick and mortar store to air my displeasure. The rep was understanding, looked everything up, and said he could take care of it, that the previous rep had indeed screwed up. With luck, something I’m lacking, everything is straightened out.

Now we just have to continue to wait even longer for our promised debate and while we waited, I was holding off paying my bill hoping the rebate would come in.

It was due 8 days ago.

This morning, US Cellular cut off our service for lack of payment.

Let me say that again.

I was 8 days late and they cut off my service!

Before someone says, “You didn’t pay your bill and they shut you off and you’re surorised?” consider Verizon never cut off our service. Ever. And there were times where I was several weeks late. In fact, Verizon would accept a “promise to pay” future-dated payment, which sometimes put our lateness as far out as almost a month.

Still, they never shut us off.

In fact, no cellphone company we’ve been with has cut us off after only one week. Not Sprint. Not Cingular. Not AT&T (I think AT&T’s threshold was 15 days).

So I made a payment, with money I don’t have yet, hoping it takes until Friday to reach my bank so I don’t get an insufficient funds penalty.

To add insult to injury, US Cellular added a $25 per line activation fee to turn our service back on, which will appear on our next bill! (I thought their commercials claim they don’t have activation fees?)

I sure hope our rebate comes in before then.

I’m really regretting having made this switch to US Cellular. I’ll give them a few more months bedore I start shopping again.

Cellphone companies suck!

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Friday Rants

This Friday, I’m all ranty, and it all has to do with buyer’s remorse. But first:

A Friday Haiku

I cannot help it

Another weekend is here

That makes me happy

Rant 1 – Cellphone Buyouts

I’ve come to the conclusion that the biggest scam you could fall for is the “we’ll pay you up to $650 per line to leave your current cellphone company!”

We fell for it when we switched from Verizon to US Cellular.

The first problem you encounter is, you have to pay off your previous carrier first. In our case, that meant having to come up with over $1,200, which we didn’t really have.

Second, you need to prove you paid off the previous carrier, which means an itemized bill showing paid in full. It took me over six weeks before I finally could get our final Verizon bill. After several phone frustrating ohone calls, I eventually had to go to a corporate store to get it because I was locked out of my Verizon account almost immmediately.

Third, our new carrier has a waiting period, which no one mentioned. What are they waiting for? Who knows? But because we’re out that $1,200, we haven’t paid our US Cellular bill yet either.

Fourth, you have to turn in your old phones! No one told us that. We sold our phones so we’d have some spending money (for silly things, like food) while we waited for our rebate, because againz we’re in the hole $1,200. So now we’ve learned that because we didn’t turn in our phones, our possible rebate will be halved.

Fifth, we trusted the store reps to know what they were doing, but they didn’t. They didn’t tell us about turning in our phones, which we would have done on the spot if told, but additionally, the rep didn’t submit our claim properly. Only one phone, mine, was submitted and it looks like US Cellular, once that unspecified waiting period is over, is planning on giving me back a measly $40.

When all is said and done, the entire process cost us just under $2,000 and they think they’re going to call it square by giving me $40? Fuck you.

Rant 2 – Zagg screen protectors

The US Cellular rep talked us into buying Zagg Invisible Shield screen protectors for all our phones. (Well, mine is some other company, but same difference.) Each cost $50.

These aren’t the soft, flexible plastic screen protectors, these are some stiff product made from a hard glass-like substance.

My son managed to crack his the next day. My wife dropped her phone and the shield just popped off. Let me say that again: it just popped off! And mine has a crack in it as well.

They do come with free replacement warranties, but now I’m reading a ton of complaints about these Zagg shields.

So now I’m wondering if I should just take the $200 hit and chalk it up to experience because having to replace a poorly designed product every few weeks seems like an exercise in futility.

Don’t buy these hard glass protective shields. Find yourself the cheaper, flexible ones or go without one. Aren’t these new smartphones supposed to be made of near-indestructable Gorilla glass anyway?

Rant 3 – Fire and fury

The latest news is about a mentally unstable bully threatening to throw nukes around and a North Korean dictator who seems to know exactly which buttons to push.

TheRump has escalated tensions between the USA and North Korea by announcing we would respond to any missile attack with a fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen. (Either he’s never heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki or he’s trying to outdo those events. Considering how ignorant he is about everything, I’d go with the former.)

When the entire world balked at his words, that he was not helping things and his rhetoric was inflamatory, TheRump replied, his fire and fury comments weren’t tough enough! That our military is “locked and loaded” and if North Korea “does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before, what will happen to North Korea.”

In other words, TheRump can’t fucking wait to push The Button. He thinks this is a game. We’re all stuck in the middle of a standoff between two small-minded schoolyard bullies trying to see who has the bigger dick.

Nobody wins a nuclear battle. Russia and China, South Korea, Japan, they’ll all suffer from radiation fallout. And who isn’t concerned that dropping nukes on North Korea won’t cause a chain reaction? Russia will retaliate. China will retaliate. Missiles will fall like rain and the world will burn because we elected a moron.

You know, I warned you this would happen if the orange turd was elected. I wrote this the day before the election, and it looks like it could come true.

I’d ask if the trumpettes were having buyer’s remorse yet, but I get the feeling ya’ll are pumping your fists and whooping it up, believing you finally got a manly president who won’t take shit from all them pesky feriners.

Funny thing is, our Founding Fathers envisioned the Electoral College would protect us from electing an egomaniacal psychopath. Won’t they be surprised when we all turn up in Heaven with radiation burns.

“Well? How’s our great experiment in democracy doing?” Benjamin Franklin will ask.

“Sit down, Ben, have we got a story to tell you.”

Weekend

Didn’t want to leave you all depressed about our future, so here are The Dictators singing “Weekend.”

Have a good one.

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Friday is like Yeah!

A Friday Haiku

Friday is like Yeah!

A mix of Boo-yah & Boom!

Ready to explode!

Look to the skies

August is just hopping with big astronomical events.

On August 12th, we can expect the annual visit of the Perseid meteor shower. But this one is different! Astronomers say it will be the brightest shower in recorded history. Some might even be visible in the daytime.

If you miss it, you’ll be crying 96 years because the next one won’t come around for another 96 years.

The second event will be the coast-to-coast solar eclipse. Get your protective glasses now before they sell out.

It will sweep across the United States on August 21st. This is the first time the mainland has seen a total eclipse like this since 1979.

However, most of us will only see a partial eclipse. The lucky ones live along a narrow diagonal track that cuts from Columbia, SC up to Portland, OR.

So enjoy. Unless, of course, you don’t believe in science and think these are omens sent by the gods to warn of mankind’s impending doom. In which case, have fun with that.

Writing is like a drug

My current work in progress (WIP) is finally nearing its completion. For the most part, I’ve been very enthusiastic about writing it. When the ideas are flowing freely and I’m in the zone, writing becomes like a drug. A drug that fills me with happiness and excitement. The whole world seems a better place.

Too bad all those wonderful feels end when the editing starts.

Weigh-In Friday

No change. I didn’t lose weight, but then I didn’t gain either. For the kast few weeks, I’ve reached an unchanging plateau.

I’m beginning to think balony sandwiches aren’t the best lunch when trying to lose weight.

Nah! That’s silly talk.

Sad!

The approval ratings for the orange turd right now range from as low as 33% up to around 41%. If we go by the higher number, that means if you meet 10 people today, there’s a good chance 4 of them are idiots.

Currently Reading

Murder in Manhattan by Steve Allan.

Yes, that Steve Allan of TV comedy fame. I had no idea he had written a series of mysteries starring himself and his wife Jayne Meadows. I’ve always admired him. He seemed like a true Renaissance man.

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Writing and wediting Wednesday

Elmer Fudd would say he was “whiting my manuscwipt,” but would he say he was “wediting it,” too? Probably not, there isn’t an R in editing, but he would say he was editing with his “wed pencil.”

Sorry. I’m being silly, but I’m also whiting, er, writing and editing my manuscript.

Yes, the one I said was going to be done a few weeks (months?) ago.

Well, two things are going on. The ending is a little harder to write than I first thought it would be. I’m trying to fill it with action and suspense as well as a good pay off. I’m also having an internal debate if I should kill off one or more characters (and which ones).

The other issue I’m having is suddenly other scenes are popping into my head. Scenes that fit in throughout the story which add drama to the narrative and increase the tension.

They just came from nowhere, unbidden, and I started writing them down in a notebook hoping they’d just go away, but the more I wrote, the more detailed they became until I realized I needed to insert them.

And they’re fitting in perfectly. Unlike when I deliberately write scenes as filler because a story isn’t long enough or because it needs backstory or something to explain a later scene.

No. These belong here and fit in seamlessly.

So that’s why I’m not finished with this story. It wasn’t finished with me.

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Friday Roundup

Bad Friday Haiku

Friday makes me glad

It means the weekend is here

And I can sleep in

Obamacare Haiku

They tried to kill us

But Obamacare still lives

Fuck you, GOP

More rain, less run

This was a bad week for running. It rained Tuesday and Thursday so I didn’t run (yes, I know I have a treadmill) and today I just felt blah, which seems to becoming a usual feeling.

I just seem to be lacking in energy. Maybe I need to take some vitamins and minerals. I know I should take more Vitamin D to compensate for all the rainy cloudy weather and to counteract my S.A.D. And I just read that potassium, calcium, and magnesium deficiencies (brought about by exercise, thyroid problems, and taking a diuretic for HPB) can cause cramps, which I’ve been getting in the soles of my feet lately.

Usually I do take a multivitamin, but I ran out a while back and they’re so damned expensive.

My favorite multivitamin was by OneSource for Men 50+. They had a whopping 4,000 IUs of vitamin D3 (take that, S.A.D.!). And they were inexpensive, about $5 for 60. But for some inexplicable reason, Walmart discontinued them.

One-A-Day, Centrum, and Nature Made can’t hold a candle to OneSource. So I need to find a substitute.

Any suggestions?

Weigh-In Friday

I went up 0.4 pounds. I blame the lack of energy and the gloomy weather, which makes me eat more. (Did I ever mention how much I love Cheetos?)

If only I had a powerful megavitamin to take. Damn you, Walmart!

Beginning a new hobby

If you read yesterday’s blog post (and if you didn’t, go read it now. We’ll wait. Hmm hmm hmm hmm *hums theme from Jeopardy* Oh, you’re back? Good.) I mentioned I was interested in, or reinterested in, learning how to draw.

Here is my first attempt at a chair:

I did it all freehand (no rulers or straight edges) with a mechanical pencil. It’s basically a visual copy (meaning I didn’t trace it) of an exercise in the drawing book I checked out from the library.

As you can tell, I need a lot of work on understanding three-dimensionality, particularly perspective and shading.

“What about your attempt at an apple?” some reader shouted. Yeah…. No. That really shows how poorly I translate three-dimensinal objects into two-dimensional renderings.

*looks at his readers faces*

Fine. Here. I told you it was atrocious.

Who laughed? I distinctly heard someone say, “What the hell is that on top? A window?”

This I did from memory, as I didn’t have an actual apple to look at. I have always had trouble interpreting circular objects, such as balls, cones, and cylinders, in three dimensions. That’s my attempt to show that side of the apple is shiny (and curved). I think I saw that effect used in cartoons.

Oh, well, back to the drawing board.

Scout Jamboree

As a former Scout Leader, to say I’m appalled by the speech TheRump gave to a group of Scouts is an understatement.

This man-child simply cannot talk without it being about how great he thinks he is or how terribly he thinks he’s being treated by the Free Press and other political opponents.

Every speech he gives is filled with lies, half-truths, hatred and paranoid vitriole; such content might almost be considered appropriate for his normal audience of supporters, which is usually brain-dead, deplorable racists and mysoginists, but these were CHILDREN!

These weren’t potential voters (not for several years) and they certainly weren’t there to attend a partisan political rally. They were there to have fun. Learn various outdoor skills, like camping and woodcraft. To exercise their bodies and minds.

Not to listen to the incoherent, rambling ravings of an orange turd cursing, attacking his rivals, and insulting a former President of the United States.

Now can we start impeachment proceedings?

Obamacare Repeal

The Republicans have been trying to repeal Obamacare since day one. During Obama’s presidency they voted over 50 times to do so. And failed every time.

Last night was their latest attempt. It failed as well.

These failures must really gall these old white men. Deep down in their white-hooded souls they’re seething with racist rage because all their attempts to sponge away the legacy of this uppity black man, to whitewash the shameful memory of a black man ever having occupied their White House, have been twarted.

And to all their failures, the best response is:

Fuck you, GOP.

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Adventures in ADHD – Impulsivity

One characteristic people suffering with ADHD have is impulsivity. We are impulsive! We do things first, then think about it. We don’t consider the consequences of our actions beforehand. In other words, we leap before we look.

We don’t need no stinking beer. We have ADHD!

Long before the phrase, “Dude, hold my beer” came into the vernacular, those of us with ADHD said, “Watch this.” We don’t need alcohol to deaden our self-preservation center. We were born this way.

My childhood was rife with examples of impulsivity, of “Watch this.”

Friend: Bet you can’t jump off the garage roof.

Me: Watch this. *screams*

Friend: Dude! I’ve never seen anyone do a lawn belly flop before.

Friend: Bet you can’t climb to the top of that tree.

Me: Watch this. *screams*

Friend: Dude! Good thing that big branch stopped you.

Friend: Look at this minibike I made. Wanna try it?

Me: Watch this. *screams*

Friend: Dude! I forgot to mention it has a high center of gravity and you can’t turn at high speeds.

Friend: Go kick that cat off of our baseball field.

Me: Watch this. *screams*

Friend: Dude! I’ve never seen a cat that mad, clinging to a person’s leg before. That’s a lot of blood.

Friend: Our dogs are fighting! We’ve got to stop them. Go grab yours.

Me: Watch this. *screams*

Friend: Dude! That’s a pretty deep hole in your wrist.

Anyway, I could go on.

And on.

And on.

But you get the point, impulsivity sucks.

It is also expensive. I become suddenly interested in something, a hobby, or what have you. I read everything there is about it. Join tons of forums so I can talk about my interest with others. And I spend money.

Then I lose interest. And again, impulsivity kicks in and I purge my life of that interest because, of course, “I’ll never be interested in this again.”

My most famous and regretable “I’ll never” was when I threw out all my Silver and Bronze Age comic books when we were moving. I had Captain America #100 through 150. I had Conan the Barbarian #1 through 35. And others. All in the trash. “I’m in my 40s. I don’t need these. I’m not interested in comics any more.”

Me: *screams*

Yeah. You guessed it. Over the last decade or so I’ve been buying them back on eBay.

A more recent example, but not nearly as costly, was an interest in drawing. I went out and bought some drawing books and several types of drawing pencils. I worked for several months learning how to draw. I could draw a realistic human eye like nobody’s business. I’d like to show some samples, but I purged all my drawings from that period. (Somewhere I have a blog post featuring drawings from high school, if you care to look. Found it.)

Then I lost interest (or found a shiney new interest). After a few years of not drawing, I finally got rid of the books several months ago. I mean, it had been years, right? “I’ll never want to learn how to draw again.”

Me: *screams*

Yeah… Who’d have guessed? I mean, really? I went searching my bookshelves for the drawing books, then realized, oh, yeah. I got rid of them.

Today, I wisely went to the library to check out a couple beginner books on drawing. At least I’m not spending money.

Yes, impulsivity is the reason I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. I learn as much as I can, as quickly as I can, about an interest, but I lose in it before I can master it.

By the way, if you play guitar, I’m thinking of selling my 2008 Gretsch Duo Jet in silver flake. I mean, I haven’t touched it in two years, right? “I’ll never play guitar again.”

Future Me: *screams*

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