Personal Protection is Expensive

PistolAs many of you know, I recently became a gun owner.  I’m by no means an enthusiast.  I don’t plan to own a bunch of guns and go shooting every weekend.  Though, I have no issues with people owning or using guns for self protection and hunting.  So long as safety is always observed.  I have for a very long time wanted to buy a handgun.  It’s just never been within my top ten things to get next for my life.  That is, not until very recently.

While I would like to think of Northern Lower Michigan as a safe and family friendly corner of the world.  Crime is everywhere.  That and what I have chosen to do for a living has made me a target to be robbed while at work in the evening.  So among some changes I’ve made at work to help cut down on the risk of not only being robbed, but if so; I won’t be held responsible for lost income.

Every major chain I’ve ever worked for has a drop-box system.  After every delivery, the driver is to drop any large bills and credit card slips into a locked box so they are not carrying large amounts of money during their shift.  A drop-box is simply a wall mounted locked box that only the manager can access with a slot to insert bills and slips quickly between delivery runs.  The chain I work for now, has no such device.  That is until today.  I ordered one and will have it installed.  However, that doesn’t help me while I’m still on the road before coming back to the store.

This is where the handgun has become one of the items on top of my list lately.  Sadly these things are not cheap.  Even a budget priced gun has set me back several hundred dollars.  While I would love to have a Glock or other high end brand gun.  I have to start where I can afford.  So after much research and conversations with the folks at Jay’s Sporting Goods, I’ve settled on a Glock-like conceal carry gun.  A Taurus 709 9mm.  It’s not top of the line, but it’s got good reviews for the most part.

Costs so far:

  • Gun – $280
  • Ammo for Sighting and Practice – $14
  • Ammo for CPL Class – $28
  • Ammo for Critical Defense – $19
  • CPL Class – $120
  • CPL License – $105
  • Cleaning Supplies – $26
  • Gun Case (Rug) – $9
  • Safety Glasses and Hearing Protection for Practice – $25
  • Holster – $15

So all in all, I’ve spent $641 dollars.  That’s a lot of money for me.  That’s $31 more than my rent per month.  So yeah, I’m not taking this lightly by any means.  I haven’t even fired it yet.  I need a place to go and get it sighted in before I take the class later this month.  At some point, I’m sure I’ll have to tack on a membership to a shooting range.  Unless I make a friend who also owns guns and lives in the great outdoors.  It’s a shame I don’t live near Amber anymore.  I know she’d want to go shooting with me.

This will not only help protect me while working, but at home as well.  My home has been robbed in the past.  While I was home no less.  Then I had a .22 rifle my step-dad gave me and couldn’t get to it.  A handgun will be much easier to put that kind of nonsense to rest.  Down the road I’ll want to get a nicer conceal carry gun.  Maybe next year.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c3

Trying Legion

WoW Logo LegionIt’s not like anyone couldn’t see the pattern I use.  A new expansion for World of Warcraft comes out.  I hate the changes, go play something else for 4-6 months.  Then when I’m discontent with where I chose to go…  I end up right back at playing on Blizzards servers once again.  Although this time I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it.

Sadly Blizzard has gone silent on their thoughts on actually bringing legacy servers to their players of old.  Private servers only hold so much charm when they are laden with bugs and script errors.  Quests you can’t complete and Dungeons you simply can’t finish unless you find a way to exploit past whatever is causing the issue.

I still can’t grasp the concept of these Artifact Weapons.  So with legendary weapons, will they be useless in the next expansion?  Also, will the next expansion be something to do with the Lich King again?  (it looks like Blizzard is rehashing old story lines now thanks to the time travel element)  I mean they left it open when Bolvar Fordragon took the helm.  Oh hey, let’s relocate Dalaran again.  Or perhaps have it crash and add to the story.

In any case, I restarted my account on Christmas day.  Sort of a gift to myself I suppose.  Though I understand for us Altoholics, life will be challenging.  Who knows.  Maybe this will push me back to single player games finally.  It’s not like anyone I gamed with 5 years ago is around anymore.  I did just pick up Mad Max on sale from Steam.  Although, the invitation is open to come play with me 🙂

Yes… it’s weird I play on a game with other people and yet play alone.

Short URL: http://gden.net/c2

Been Places, Done Things

Sailor DennyI’m getting ever so close to being 50 years old.  My life isn’t by any means glamorous or financially stable.  It never has been and probably never will be.  I’d likely be a lot better off financially if I would’ve avoided all the horrible relationships I’ve been in over the years.  I’m a working stiff and have rarely been without work.  Many times, such as currently; I’ve worked two jobs to do what I have to do to get by.  The other night at my second job, the new Assistant Manager teased me about how I simply sit and drive to make money.  And that he works twice as hard and as much as I do.

At 20, I went from simple delivery driver to store manager in a month by proving that, “I can run this store better than you.  And I’ve only worked here 2 weeks.”.  I should’ve been fired for being so bold.  Instead I was given and opportunity and was rewarded for my effort.  That lasted a little over a year before I was given a better opportunity.

I was given my own Little Caesars to run in East Jordan.  I mucked that opportunity up, but I bounced back.

I spent two years working in a machine shop.  But coming home covered in Cast Iron dust wasn’t my thing.

I served my country in the US Navy for 4 years.  I got the opportunity to go around the world and see so many places.  Countries I have visited: St. Martin, Spain, Greece, France, Italy, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Pompeii as well as Jerusalem and Bethlehem in Israel.

Most of the time I was a “pencil pusher”.  Dealing with the ships budget and filing requisition forms.  Super boring for the most part.  Though I will say this, and have been dying to say it for several months.  All this crap people talk about the military paying too much for things is a bunch of bologna.  I watched the money come and go and all the receipts.  Never once did I see a $200 hammer.  I think the most we ever paid was $20 and it was a damn big hammer.  Though one of our biggest costs was toilet paper for 3000+ crew members who were fed low grade and outdated food.  We’d save costs on buying dry food that was past the “best if used by” date.

During my time in the Navy I volunteered for a few exciting and dangerous jobs:

Firefighting

I now know how to fight a fire.  At sea or at home.  I think it’s something everyone should learn as sometimes the Fire Department can arrive too late.  I’ve never had to fight a big fire at sea, but let’s face it.  IF you fight a big fire at sea, you had better win.  Otherwise the alternative is death.  You won’t be energetic enough to swim for very long if your ship goes down in flames because you lost a long hard battle.

Shoring Team

Shoring was to temporarily repair breaches in the hull or piping if the ship takes damage.  It’s not fun and is full of very stressful happenings when things start to flood.

Basic Medial Triage

I never got to use my medical triage training.  Though I have seen a few dead bodies over the years.  Sadly I’ve forgotten most of my training from lack of use.

Mooring Team

This was a team that let loose or helped tie the ship to the docks.  I’ve been on this team the whole time I was assigned to the USS Enterprise.  Everywhere we went, rain, cold or shine I was there.  If you don’t do it right you can lose a limb or even die.

Naval Training Video showing the dangers of Mooring

Underway Replenishment

I was volunteered for Ship to Ship Replenishment detail twice.  If you want an adrenaline rush, try being a lineman on one of these during heavy seas.  You DO NOT want to be this guy if the supplies end up in the ocean.

Warning: Video is boring and does not show heavy sea swells like we dealt with.

Other achievements included a letter of Commendation from President Clinton for his visit aboard our ship.  I was responsible for his floor while he dinned in our officers mess.  Apparently he could see his reflection and was impressed.  ?

Making pay and rank increase without having to test for it by doing a job that is normally reserved for a First Class Petty Officer as an E-3 Airman.  Acing inspection in our department without any help.

The Navy is also where I began learning about computers.  This led to my job at Gateway as a Tech Support Specialist.  For 2 years I made serious bank and benefits.  Sadly it came to an end with all major computer companies outsourcing tech support to India and such.

Case BadgeAfter that I owned by own business for two years.  CR Computers+  I built custom computers and did in-home computer repair and upgrades.  I still keep a list of free software to this day and offer help to friends and such.  I still have one Computer Case Badge I keep around for nostalgia’s sake.

From there I got a job at a small ISP where I still work today.  It celebrated 13 years with them last September.  Personally I don’t know anyone who has put in 13 years in one job.  I’m sure there are plenty who have and have done more.  I just don’t know any.  So I feel it’s a decent achievement to have so much time in one job.

Over the years I have spent time working in Pizza.  Sometimes a manager, most of the time a driver.  Let’s face it, that’s where the easy money is and I’ve proved it time and again.  Little Caesars (x2), Domino’s (x2), Papa Johns (x3), Chanello’s, BC Pizza and Mancino’s.  I’ve put in more time at Pizza places than my current general manager and the assistant manager combined.  I simply don’t want the stress of being a manager of a fast food chain any more.

There were also little crappy jobs I didn’t keep long in there as well.  Being a clothing store pick-up boy wasn’t for me.  Nor was being a dishwasher.  Or a gas station clerk.  Anything 3rd shift got me fired.  I just am not a night owl.

So yes, perhaps this person does work more than I do and works harder.  He’s still quite young and has yet to do a quarter of what I have done in my life.  I’ve done more by the time I was his age than he’s done ever.  I’ve paid my dues.  I’ve served my time and my country.  It’s time I get to sit back and take it easier.  Looking back, I am proud of what I’ve done.

 

Short URL: http://gden.net/c0

Mr. Plow

Plow TruckI’m so over this snow shit already.  It seems lately all I do between job one and job two is shovel and blow snow.  Then by the time I get to the night job I’m exhausted and frozen.  Just to run about cleaning off my car 15 times a night to trudge through other peoples driveways that aren’t plowed and porches covered in snow.  I’m tired of freezing my ass off and being physically spent every night.

Not to mention, yesterday during early morning whiteout conditions, Darla’s car wouldn’t start.  So being I had to have my car for the night job, I tried to drive her to work in Grayling.  I think we topped speeds of 30 miles an hour.  Though mostly under 20 until we got to Waters.  I said, fuck this and turned around for home.  No job is worth having a heart attack over while stressing out in bad winter weather.

My next two goals are thus: 1) Get a house.  Hopefully by next winter.  2) Trade my car in for a truck with a plow.

I’ve grown up here and have never needed four-wheel-drive.  I have a fond memory of my friend Jeff using his 4×4 to pull out a car in the snow and he got stuck too.  I used my two-wheel-drive truck to pull them both out 😉  Granted, I was on the road while they were both in the snow.  Still felt good to know how to deal with it.  I digress.

Frankly winters up here are harsh and I’m over freezing my nuts off and getting my Carhartt clothing soaked nearly every day to keep my drive and walkways clean.  I want to sit inside a nice warm truck and be able to push the snow around.  Then do minor shoveling and snow blowing and be done with it.  Besides, I’ve been dying for a truck for years.  I’m going to make it happen one way or another.  It’s long past time to work on my dreams.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bZ

Aspen Village

ScruffyIt’s been 10 months since I took over the lease of this place.  In two more months I have to decide to renew it or move.  Darla will be moving back to Bay City in February.  I know the rent will go up here, I just don’t know how much for sure yet.  Lots of ifs around here.  I’d like to think the management will want me to renew my lease.  I keep the place spotless, I pay my rent on time (early usually) and I am never the cause of complaints from other people in the neighborhood.  As far as I know that is.  I’m sure about the first two things as the maintenance guy has told me on the two occasions he’s been here how happy they are about these facts.  I keep the grass cut, the snow cleared and the driveway swept up when it’s not raining.  I mean I pay thousands of dollars to live here, I want it to be a nice place to come home to and take care of it.

Like any decently run rental, when I took over the lease; there is two weeks I have to fill out a form about what I find wrong and submit it to be fixed.  Having lived here a year and some months prior to taking over the lease, I already had a list prepared.

Here’s the list I submitted for work requests:

  • Large soft spot in floor by vent in secondary bedroom
  • Huge soft spot in floor left of stove counter
  • Large soft spot left of the front door
  • Bow in big window in living room, bigger in summer (lets in bugs, let’s out heat or cooling) – He put some foam in the space.  Not actually a fix.
  • 2x broken mirrors on closet doors main – More or less a report of it so I don’t get charged for the damage.
  • Exhaust vent over stove, the fan has fallen and now just grinds on the guard when turned on
  • Big soft spot in floor by vent in master bedroom
  • Large soft spot in floor by window in master bedroom
  • Sliding glass door leaks. Left edge – Same foam he used on the window.  Not really a fix.
  • Soft spot in floor, in front of washer

Which means in over two years of being here, these issues still exist.  What annoys me is if they want me to renew, why has the maintenance man only been here twice to work on anything?  Only two of the list items have been “fixed”.  It’s not like I’m the tenant on South Lucy drive that has a pathway in his living room through mountains of garbage, food and cat piss that could cause you to gag while standing on his front porch.  (I have to go there once a week due to my night job.)  Some of the places in the back of the park are beyond gross.  I could see why they don’t do a lot of maintenance back there.  Though I’m surprised they don’t evict many of these people as they abuse the places they live in.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bY

So my cardiologist said…

DoctorSo I saw my cardiologist last week about the discomforts I’ve been feeling.  In the past two years I’ve had two angina attacks.  One per year.  On October 21st, I woke to having some rather radical heart palpitations.  Not to mention, my upper left shoulder has been numb for two weeks.

Thankfully a couple of visits to my chiropractor my shoulder is feeling better.  Still, I’ve been worried I may have more serious problems.  Of course waiting for a doctor appointment you think of all sorts of things.  Everything from medication adjustments, to having surgery to add a new stent, to open heart surgery or ending up unable to work.  None of which sound real good.

I spent a weekend wearing an ECG monitor.  They found nothing serious.  The heart palpitations were not any indication of a heart attack.  So I’m pretty much still just as I was.  So the doctor thinks.  We discussed my medications for Coronary Artery Disease.  My heart seems to be doing alright.  Still a bit enlarged.  So the doctor simply added a low cost cholesterol medication.  Even though I’ve been able to keep my cholesterol in check, he says the medication will help relax my arteries so that it may prevent palpitations.  He also switched me off Effient to Plavix to save me some money.  Thanks to Obama Care, the $250 Effient was only covered to an $80 copay.  Plavix should be a lot cheaper.  Though I haven’t tried it yet.  Still have 2 months of Effient.  Now if I could to something about the Ranexa I take.  It’s also $250/$80 copay.

While it’s not clear yet if I’ll need anything more, or if these new medications will help me as expected.  I’m assured some day I’ll need a new stent or two.  If I can avoid a more serious surgery, I’ll be happy.  I can say that the new cholesterol medication has made me feel sluggish so far.  I am told the effects can fade and I should feel more like I have the past 4 plus years.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bX

Working from Home

Working from HomeI’ve been doing this for longer than I had expected.  This isn’t a bad thing.  I just find it surprising.  I keep waiting for the end to come in one form or another.  None of the outcomes are pleasant, but I’m sure it’s inevitable given enough time.  I originally got the chance to work from home when my health suddenly became an issue and was told without concern for my feelings that I would likely “live another two years”.  Sure it was followed up with, “if you work very hard, you might be able to live longer”.  That’s no fun thing to hear.  Thankfully with God’s grace, that was nearly 5 years ago.  I have been doing walks and such, just need to do more when I can.

When that all happened, I made a deal with my employer to be able to move back to Michigan and work from home.  That was just over four years ago.  Since then my hours have been reduced to only 20-25 hours a week.  Making me take on a supplemental part-time job.  As demeaning as it may be, it does make fairly decent money.  Just a bit rough on my car.  The second job gives me 18-20 hours a week plus tips.  Though I only work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights right now.  Unless I’m called in to cover someone.

What frustrates me is that after almost 2 years of doing the evening job, it’s like my day job no longer exists to certain people.  I’ve been told by a few different people that I only work 3 days a week.  So my working 5-6 days a week during the morning hours means nothing to them.  Even though it pulls a paycheck, gets me Dental insurance and money specifically for covering my Health Insurance plan.  That doesn’t qualify it as a real job.  Is there some requirement that I must leave the house in order for it to be taken seriously?  Trust me, telecommuting is only cool for about six months.  Then you get real tired of looking at your house day in and day out.  Well maybe lazy unemployed types might like doing that.  Me, I like to get out of the house daily.  I digress.

My health is having further issues.  Of course I’m frightened of what may happen.  I don’t know if I’ll need another stent put in one of my arteries.  Or if it’s something far more serious.  I won’t know until I have some doctor visits and what I’m sure will be endless expensive tests.  Which makes me worry that I won’t be able to work my second job anymore.  I really don’t relish the thought of being unable to work a physical job or some day having to be on disability.  That scares the hell out of me.  I pray it will only be a need to change or adjust dosages of my medicine.  Besides I don’t want to be locked in my house forever.  I’d like to find a full time job that fits me physically, mentally and emotionally (and pays decent).  I look frequently.  Just not a lot of choices around Smallville.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bW

Work Work, Zug Zug, Dabu

Work Work, Zug Zug, DabuI’ve spent the past week or so trying to figure out what to write.  It’s hard to keep content up when nothing is really going on.  It’s work, work and more work.  To pay bills, bills and more bills.  Whoever thought this was a good idea for a human being to become after childhood, was a jerk.  I didn’t sign up for this adulthood nonsense.  I didn’t have a choice.  My parents had sex and my future was made that in 18-ish years it would be 40+ hours a week dealing with people I don’t like.  Followed by endless people I really don’t like wanting the money I earned.

Thankfully nothing in the plans for Darla and I have changed much lately.  Granted, our semi-near future is filled with way too many “if”s.  Will we each find a place we can afford?  Will we have to have a roommate in order to afford a place?  Will I stay in this place (roommate required) or move into something else?  Which one of us will have Isabel?  Will she need to be registered as an emotional support pet?  Worse, will we have to give her up?  (certainly not wanting that option)  The list goes on and on.  Involving housing, jobs, dog, cars, living arrangements and more.  So much of it can’t be determined this early.

We shall survive 🙂

Short URL: http://gden.net/bT

Kitty-clysm!

Atlantiss CataclysmIt would seem I have finally settled on a server to play World of Warcraft on.  It’s not a Lich King server as I had planned, but instead it’s a Cataclysm server.  Which in all honesty has a better qualities.  So many improvements over Vanilla, Burning Crusades and Lich King as far as the interface, skills and was when the client was able to do Directx 11 with updated water and textures.  Icing on the cake to that is being able to fly in the main lands.

It’s not hosted in the US, but then again, it’s not completely filled with immature nitwits either.  Sure there are some.  Every server will have them.  I feel more at home as well.  When Mists of Pandaria came out, it was be elite or be nothing.  Casuals like myself can go craft, pet battle or something.  It became incredibly hard to find anyone polite and willing to help a person learn things.  “Google”, was the number one answer to everything.  Followed by, “You’re an idiot.”, “Wowhead”, “YouTube” and “KYS”.  Which for some of you who may not know, KYS is internet gibberish for Kill YourSelf.  In a world up in arms over bullying, what an odd new meme.

Atlantiss isn’t without its issues to say the least, but they aren’t that many when you look at the whole picture.  Literally, you can look at the whole game world and figure out what works and what doesn’t.  They do well keeping their players informed and involved.  They listen to folks and despite the kids not getting a GM’s attention on demand, they do help players when they aren’t squashing bugs.

Sure I find it amusing to see an NPC float down the stairs or be stuck in a funny pose.  Nothing so far has been game stopping.  Everything essentially works.  Some quirks to be expected.

The pro’s and the cons:

Pro’s

  • Server up-time is impressive.  Not one crash or ounce of lag have I endured.
  • The game shop is not pay to win.  There is no items that give anyone an unfair advantage.
  • You can donate via PayPal.  Everyone else uses PaymentWall which is incredibly dodgy.
  • Low latency and handles a fairly high volume of players daily with no problems.
  • Bugs aren’t that many compared to the whole and they do work to fix them.
  • Mainly a helpful and friendly community.
  • Website is well laid out and works great.
  • Have been around for a few years.
  • You can play for absolutely free if you so choose.

Con’s

  • Not in my timezone, so peak hours are during the morning for me.
  • Monetary exchange rate sucks, but this isn’t the fault of Atlantiss.
  • Armory works, but no images of characters.
  • Some quest lines can’t be completed at all.
  • World events are buggy (well.. to be fair, I’ve only seen Brewfest so far and I’m low level right now).

I think I’ve found a way to finally enjoy myself.  Time to strap in and make some friends and get back to playing they way I loved.  Still, I can’t help but be myself.  The altoholic.  Seven toons of fun 🙂

      

If you’re interested, we can do a Refer-a-Friend.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bS

Which Server to Choose?

Which Server to Choose?I went Rogue about a month ago.  Not playing the class, but where I play my normal characters for World of Warcraft.  The original game evolved, and I have not.  I still love to play, but not their way.  I want to enjoy what I know, not relearn on every single expansion.  Thus, screw the advanced graphics for game-play that I enjoy.  It’s not my fault Blizzard refuses to learn from the plentiful of examples set before them.  That lesson being, is there are loads of players who still love the old content and are content to play it.  If Blizzard simply understood that, they would still be getting my monthly fee.  As well as thousands, possibly millions of others.

Besides, it seems like the mighty game gods have run out of ideas and are now simply rehashing old content.  Since Legion is basically a reboot of Burning Crusades.  I’m guessing the Lich King will return.  Probably Bolvar Fordragon, as he took up the helm after Arthas was defeated.  I mean seriously.  Oh and all skills will have to be completely redone yet again and you’ll lose and gain skills as with every expansion.  …yeah I’m over it.

However, I’ve been confronted with new issues.  Sure playing on a different server, comes with caveats of it’s own.  Like bugged quests.  OK that’s expected on a handful of issues.  Along with bugged NPC’s.  OK sure.  Poorly run servers.  That’s a bit of an issue.  I’m on server number 4 after the first two would crash daily.  The first server was Vanilla and I started in Lich King.  So I wasn’t into it as much.  The second server was dead.   I mean I could do a global /who and find exactly zero other players.  I started to really gain ground on the third server but it crashed too often.  Both the second and third servers were hosted by the same people and they would crash every single day.  The main server had roughly 800 players at peak.  If it can’t handle 800 connections then someone isn’t running a server properly.

Then of course there is the global hatred of Americans.  That can be an issue since 90% of servers are not hosted in the US for obvious reasons.  So far, the hatred has been minimal and I’ve found very friendly folks generous enough to help a person starting over.  The old content in it’s original state was hard and making in game currency is tricky without a little boost.

I’ve only been on server 4 for a few days, but most of that time I’ve been working or fixing other peoples problems.  So not sure where this server stands, but I do like the ping rates.

Lastly this means that some of my toons will have to have slightly different names due to lack of availability.  ?

As the French would say, “c’est la vie”.

Short URL: http://gden.net/bR

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