Character Guide-A Disabled Electrician turned Writer

As I stated before, most of these characters are named after cats that either myself and/or my family raised.

Johnny Joseph Elder-25-26-A Disabled Electrician who is now an amateur writer. He worked in the electrical trade from ages 18 to 23, then injured his back in a fall, whilst connecting power to a condenser unit eight feet above the ground. He got shocked and subsequently fell back first onto the top of a hurricane fence, ruining his back. He is the main character to whom this series is centered around. Named after my family’s cat Joe AKA Joey Bear as my sister and cousins referred to him.

Annabelle Jenkins-18-19-Johnny’s pleasantly plump girlfriend also an amateur writer. Used to clean houses as a side hustle. Possibly later becomes a security guard at Melinda’s Massive Supermarket. Named after my family’s cat Annabelle.

Angela Fulton-late 80s to early 90s-Johnny’s next door widowed neighbor. She sets Johnny and Annabelle up. Named after a stray cat whom I took care of and named Angel. I thought Angela was more appropriate for an older lady.

Dennis Fulton-deceased-Mrs. Angela’s beloved husband. Died of old age. Worked his way up to the position of Yard Master at the railroad yard a few blocks from his home. He worked until the company forced him into retirement. Named after my sister’s cat whose legal name was Dennis. I won’t say what his common name was.

Roger Fulton-late 40s to early 50s-Dennis and Angela’s son-fleet mechanic for the city fire department. Not named after any cats [yet.]

Rupert Jenkins-deceased-Annabelle’s biological dad. Died when Annabelle was six years old from an accident, quite possibly an explosion at the chemical plant where he worked. Named after my family’s cat named Rupert AKA Rupee Bear as my sister and cousins referred to him as.

Debbie Lou Jenkins-late 40s to mid-50s-Annabelle’s short-tempered mother. Was a very nice lady until losing her husband and then finding Oliver Hudson. Lives off of welfare and her late husband’s pension. Named after a semi feral cat my family took care of and called Debbie.

Oliver Hudson-mid 40s to early 50s-Debbie Lou’s boyfriend/Annabelle’s stepdad. Overbearing and chronically unemployed pain and nerve pill addict. Named after my mom and sister’s short tempered, grouchy and overweight cat named Oliver, who in turn was named after Oliver Twist because he kept wanting more food.

Mrs. Sally Smith Williams (unnamed)-early to mid 60s-The head cashier at Melinda’s Massive Superstore. Beloved wife of Mr. Rodney Williams. Not named after any cats, but named after a really nice cashier I worked with.

Mr. Rodney Williams (unnamed)-late 60s to early 70s-Terminally ill beloved husband of Mrs. Sally Smith Williams. Suffers from Mesothelioma. Worked in shipyards as a pipe fitter until becoming stricken with his illness. Not named after anyone in particular, just trying to create a good guy, who is unfortunately living on borrowed time.

Mr. Ralph Doyle-late 50s to early 60s-Store Director at Melinda’s Massive Supermarket. Name after a cat my family took care of named Ralph.

That’s all I can come up with at the moment.

If more characters come up in this series, they will be added upon creation.

Back to “My [Innocent] ‘A Disabled Electrician turned Writer’ Pieces”

Shopping at Target for Gentleman’s EDC Gear

Target can be an excellent place for purchasing a gentleman’s EDC items.

Well, this statement was even more true years ago, but still is somewhat true even today.

I know, most people associate Target shoppers with upscale suburban women, but there are quite a few items in Target that are perfect for a gentleman.

However, as I previously mentioned, this was even more true years ago than today.

Many of my current and former EDC items were purchased at Target.

I don’t know if I am truly a gentleman or not. I try my durn well best to be one and I hope at least my girlfriend sees me as one.

Okay, enough about me.

The first time I shopped at a Target was in August of 2002. I was fifteen and almost three-quarters years old and one had recently been built in my metropolitan area.

My parents brought me along with my brother and sister to check the store out.

I was interested in what electronics were sold there and was a little impressed that they sold the Motorola FRS and GMRS radios, but they were all out of my price range.

Later that day we went to Wal Mart and I purchased a BellSouth 2231 FRS/GMRS transceiver for about $10. I had EDCed this radio, mostly because, I didn’t yet have a working cell phone to keep in touch with family and I also liked to communicate with the maintenance staff at my high school on there. In these days, I didn’t carry a knife or a flashlight, just a two-way radio, believe it or not.

Fast forward to Black Friday, November 29, 2002, my mom, my sister and I went to a few stores just to look around. The only other time I had seen my mom go shopping on Black Friday was in 1992 at Southland Mall. As much as my mom likes shopping, she hates to shop on Black Friday. I was looking around in the sporting goods section at Target and for the first time, I had seen a real Swiss Army Knife in real life. I saw a whole bunch of them, in fact. In those days, Target had a much wider selection of Swiss Army Knives than they currently do. And those sold at Target came bundled with equally useful accessories. More on that in a little bit. Prior to that, I had knock-offs of Swiss Army Knives, but they were all flimsy and dull. I didn’t purchase any that day, because I didn’t have enough money on me and my parents being overprotective would have not been happy if I bought a knife.

I also saw the Swiss backpacks and luggage sold there, but all of those were way out of my price range. I had a very rugged duffel bag which I would take with me whenever I could, so I wasn’t really in need of luggage at the time. This bag’s zipper busted on me sometime in 2007, though, so that is when I began trying different bags to carry my EDC items in.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2005, I had secured a job assisting the maintenance crew at my high school and the way I became friends with them was by talking to them over their radios!

I was eighteen and a half years old and had a good bit of disposable income with no bills, notes or rent to pay. Also since I was eighteen I could own a knife whether or not my parents wanted me to.

After work, many times I would shop at Target in the sporting goods sections. One day, in July of 2005, I purchased my first Swiss Army Knife, a Victorinox Sportsman. At some point, I had upgraded and gave it my best friend and I hope he still has it now.

Also in 2005, my interest in flashlights was coming back. Target had a wide selection of flashlights in their household section and many of them couldn’t be found anywhere else. There were many rugged, Aluminum pocket-sized flashlights sold there that weren’t sold elsewhere. There was Coast brand LED flashlights. There were Mini Maglites in all sorts of exotic colors as well as the standard colors. There were Inova (as in Emissive Energy Corporation, prior to the Nite Ize takeover) flashlights both in plastic and Aluminum that were the brightest LED flashlights at the time. There were also some unique brands such as Rock River or River Rock. Target does not have such a wide selection these days and I think it’s a shame. All of these would have been perfect EDC flashlights for a gentleman’s pocket

On the afternoon of January 27, 2006, I was shopping at my local Target and looking at Swiss Army Knives, which came bundled with very neat and equally useful accessories. The Super Tinker model came with a compact pair of Simmonds Binoculars. The Recruit ii came bundled with a Mini Maglite (which this is where I was initially inspired to pair a Swiss Army Knife with a Mini Maglite, as I believe all gentlemen should EDC these items together.) The Climber came bundled with some high-quality German-made Victorinox Scissors. That is what I had decided to purchase on that afternoon. The package sold for ~$30, but I know the knife alone was worth at least that and the scissors had to be worth another $35-$40, but they were free! My mom sometimes sews in her free time, so I knew these scissors would be perfect for her. I was 100% right too-she still uses them almost thirteen years later at the time I am writing this. In fact, she recently used them to fix the hem on my pants. I would misplace that knife a few days later, but then my mom found it again in December 2010. Since that time, I have kept it in a secure place because of its sentimental value.

In April of 2006, I had some cash given to me as Easter presents from family members, so I was in Target after school and saw an Inova Radiant 2 AA LED flashlight. At the time, Inova manufactured the most advanced LED flashlights or at least in my humble opinion. Also, they were American made, not like today. I still have this flashlight but unfortunately, it doesn’t work anymore. However, this flashlight did come in handy multiple times for the rest of high school and the beginning of trade school. I would sometimes EDC it if I knew I was going to a very dark area or needed a light with a longer run time.

In December of 2006, I purchased from Target a Victorinox Super Tinker with Simmonds Compact Binoculars. I still have both.

Sometime in 2006, Target cleared out all of these Swiss Army Knives with neat and useful accessories and this was a big mistake in my opinion.

In January of 2007, I purchased my first Blue Mini Maglite from Target, as my Black one was getting very beat up. I had it until I misplaced it at some point.

In February of 2009, I was shopping at a Super Target and purchased an Energizer 3 Watt Tactical LED flashlight. I had EDCed both on my job and in leisure time until I traded it to my best friend sometime in early 2010. I hope he still has it.

In July of 2009, I purchased my first Wenger SwissGear backpack until I upgraded with another in March of 2010 and again in September of 2011. All three were purchased at Target.

In March of 2015, I purchased another Energizer 185 Lumen Tactical LED flashlight at a Super Target on Clearance.

Around this time, Target began to stop selling some of the Tactical flashlights they once sold, another big mistake in my opinion.

A year later, in March of 2016, Target quit selling the Mini Maglites, which I was able to get a Silver one on Clearance, for about $4, which I keep in my glove box.

Also, in March of 2016, I ordered a Casio G-Shock Wristwatch, which I wore until June of 2018, but still have.

In April of 2016, I managed to purchase the Victorinox Recruit ii and Mini Maglite bundled together in mint condition on eBay, but this was previously sold at Target a decade before.

In the past two years, most of the flashlights sold at Target were only appropriate for a domestic setting, though there are a few exceptions. Also, their selection of Swiss Army Knives has very much dwindled.

However, the said retailer still carries some decent items that are geared towards gentleman.

For example, in February of 2017, I purchased a Coleman Illumilast 2AAA LED flashlight at a Super Target, which I EDC on and off and I even wrote a blog entry partially about. In November of 2017, I bought another Wenger SwissGear backpack, which I still use AND In December of 2017, I bought a Wenger SwissGear bifold wallet, which I also still use.

There are a few EDC items in the sporting goods section, such as an OutDoor Products tactical LED flashlight with a strike bezel, I purchased one in October of 2018 and currently EDC it, though the pocket clip broke off. Also, a couple of Gerber products are sold in the sporting goods section, such as a Gerber Dime Multitool.

So, Target COULD be a place for a gentleman to buy his EDC gear still but imagine how much better it could be if the retailer would start carrying more items designed for EDC.

I think the company has reasons why they don’t carry some of these items anymore, but my post will become political if I begin to elaborate why.

But how about making Target a place not only for ladies to shop but also for their husbands and boyfriends to come shopping with them and not being bored to tears?

Those are my thoughts and experiences.

I hope, you, the reader, have been informed and entertained…

Back to “Articles I Have Written”

The Radio Shack Weather Cube

As I recently stated on Facebook, “The Weather Cube was an entry level Weather Radio made for and sold by Radio Shack from about 1969 to 2012…It had undergone design changes quite a few times, but is still a classic. I keep one in my living room and was just listening to updates on Tropical Storm Chris on it. I always pictured it being furnished in an off grid cabin in Yellowstone National Park. I also plan to write a blog post about this cool Weather Radio in the upcoming days…”

Well, here it is:

This piece will be dedicated to the history and features of this classic Radio Shack product.

The Weather Cube does only one thing-receives the U. S. Government’s and possibly a few other countries’ Government’s Weather Broadcasts.

It does not have an alert siren, S.A.M.E. feature or standby mode, just on demand weather information from the nearest weather broadcast station at the push of a button.

Still, this item sold very well and was built very well.

It has almost a cult following by YouTubers and other electronics collectors.

I would guess production began on the Weather Cube back in 1969. The reason why I would guess this is because it was first featured in the 1970 Radio Shack Catalog and known as, “The Barometer that talks.” This neat little device was cleverly marketed to “Anyone who flies a plane, farms, goes camping, owns a boat or spends time outdoors…” The price was $14.95 that year ($97.09 in 2018 Dollars.)

I don’t know how long it was in the research and development phase prior to that, but this truly was a genius product as millions were sold and a good bit of them are still in use, mostly by collectors.

The 1969-1970 version featured one frequency, 162.550 MHz. I believe it was crystal controlled but with fine tuning. The catalog number was 12-164.

In 1971, the catalog number changed to 12-165. The price was still $14.95 ($90.92 in 2018 Dollars.)

Then in 1973 or so, the Weather Cube also began receiving 162.400 MHz in addition to 162.550 MHz. This is because 162.550 MHz had become extremely congested and skip would occur in the spring and summer (also times when severe weather was most common.) The 1973 version was capable of tuning between frequencies 161.400 MHz and 163.500 MHz, which means it could have potentially tuned in some railroad, marine and federal government frequencies in addition to weather. It could have heard the Southern Pacific Railroad, which commonly used 161.55 MHz and was still in existence until September 11, 1996. The price also went up by one dollar to $15.95 ($90.52 in 2018 Dollars.).

In 1974, the Weather Cube for that year tuned between 162.400 MHz and 162.550 MHz. I believe it was done with a switching between permanently installed crystals, but could be wrong. The price jumped up yet another dollar to $16.95 ($86.64 in 2018 Dollars.) Of course, there had been some improvement in the radio.

In 1975 162.475 MHz was added as an additional frequency, but it wasn’t mentioned until the 1977 Radio Shack Catalog.

Between 1975 and 1976, the catalog number for the Weather Cube changed from 12-165 to 12-181.

I would imagine some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s, that the Weather Cube supported reception on 162.475 MHz in addition to the other previous weather channels.

Also in 1980, the price went up by another dollar to $17.95 (54.89 in 2018 Dollars.) It would remain that price for the rest of its design run, ending in 1992 (where it would have been $32.24 in 2018 Dollars.)

In 1989 or so, four additional Weather Broadcast Channels were assigned, though few Weather Radios would come to support all seven right away. These new frequencies are 162.425 MHz, 162.450 Mhz, 162.500 MHz, and 162.525 MHz

From 1969 to about 1992, the Weather Cube had the same outward appearance, though the frequency controls and frequencies available varied over those years. The appearance was made of simulated Rosewood, had a silver play button on the top front and a speaker that fired from the top. The antenna was telescoping and in the back right corner. They were powered by a standard Nine Volt Battery.

There was no Weather Cube to my knowledge in the 1993 Radio Shack Catalog.

Then in 1994, a new Weather Cube design came about with a catalog number of 12-239. It was made of a no-nonsense black plastic with a top firing speaker shaped in three-quarters of a circle. The fourth quarter in the front was the play button to turn the radio on. The telescoping antenna was located still in the back right corner. The volume and frequency controls were at the bottom and I believe the tuner was rotary not crystal controlled. This probably caught all seven Weather Channels but I’m not 100% sure. The price went up another two dollars and four cents to $19.99 ($33.99 in 2018 Dollars.)

In 1995, this new Weather Cube was advertised to receive all seven channels.

This Weather Cube would be featured until the year 2000 (where it would have cost $29.25 in 2018 Dollars.)

In the year 2001, there was no Weather Cube featured in the Radio Shack Catalog.

There was a different entry-level desktop weather radio featured in the 2002 Radio Shack Catalog, but it wasn’t cube-shaped and it also had a talking clock. The catalog number was 12-256. The price went up by a whole ten dollars to $29.99 ($42.01 in 2018 Dollars), but in all fairness, it featured a talking clock. It also ran on three AA batteries.

Around 2009 or so, the Weather Cube made a comeback with an all-new design. The new catalog number was 120-500. There were some significant design changes such as the main part of the cabinet was made of a red plastic. It also had a front instead of a top firing speaker, which was black. The play button was grey and had a blue LED light to indicate that the radio was turned on. The telescoping antenna is still in the back right side of the radio and the frequency controls are rotary. It is designed to receive all seven Weather Channels. This latest and so far final incarnation of the Weather Cube ran on 4 AA batteries. It was sold until 2012 and had an MSRP of $24.99 ($29.35 in 2018 Dollars.) It was discontinued in the Summer of 2012 and actually, I purchased mine on clearance in early July of 2012 at the Radio Shack in Southland Mall. My hat still goes off to the girl (now a wonderful woman) in Radio Shack who reserved it for me, some six years later.

Since Radio Shack isn’t exactly in business anymore, I don’t think a new Weather Cube will be made for a long time, if ever again. If I ever came into serious money, I would start a company that could make replicas of all the cool vintage flashlights and electronics that are no longer on the market. There would definitely be some incarnation of the Weather Cube.

When the weather cube initially hit the market, weather broadcasts were done by a recorded human voice. Nowadays it is mostly computerized and that takes away most of the personalization in Weather Radio, at least in my opinion. I do keep one in my living room, loaded with Alkaline batteries from the Ruble, I mean the Dollar General.

While the Weather Cube has plenty of aesthetic appeals and makes an excellent conversation piece, people probably aren’t really willing to spend over $20 for a weather radio that won’t automatically activate. Also, very few people aside from hobbyists and collectors such as myself and those on YouTube will sit and listen to a Weather Radio broadcast on a regular basis.

I still say it would be the perfect coffee table or nightstand item to be furnished in an off-grid cabin either in the Smoky Mountains or Yellowstone National Park, but not many people actually listen to my ideas.

It was always advertised to receive Weather Radio broadcasts from transmitters up to 25 miles away. I have received them successfully (and mostly crystal clear too) on my Weather Cube from about thirty plus miles away, or so.

They do make excellent weather radios for power failures or getting vital weather information during an actual tornado but pocket-sized entry level battery-powered weather radios have since entered the market which is more convenient to carry to a safe room. Some of these were Radio Shack models others are made by companies such as Midland. The model that comes to my mind first is the Midland HH50B, which I hope to write an article about in the near future.

I guess this concludes my piece on the Radio Shack Weather Cube and I hope it has been a wonderful trip down memory lane for all you weather and electronics buffs out there!

I Hate Sports

Even though I am a guy; I can say this with total confidence:

I hate almost all sports with a passion.

I think they are terribly boring and I just don’t see how scores of people find it entertaining to watch people fight over a ball.

I just don’t get it.

I never did like sports, either, though in my younger (late childhood and preteen) days I tried to, I earnestly did.

In this piece, I will try to explain why I don’t care for and even hate most sports.

I think it can stem back to my early to mid-childhood when there were only two televisions in the house and only one of them was cable ready.

My siblings and I wanted to watch kids shows, whereas my dad wanted to watch whatever sporting event was on.

Well in all fairness he paid for the television and the cable service.

It wasn’t just that though when he was watching sports, we had to be quiet.

Children are not quiet though, children make a lot of noise and if they don’t, something is wrong.

But we were commanded to be quiet, even though we were only children.

If we weren’t quiet we were either whipped or put in the corner indefinitely. Sometimes our toys were also destroyed if my parents got angry enough.

If we were to play outside, we were not allowed to leave our yard.

Just going next door to our cousins took an act of Congress worth of permission from our parents.

Going to a friend’s house took even more permission and red tape.

Also, there were no video games until I was almost eleven and no Internet until I was thirteen and a half.

This meant that when sports were on, home life was terribly boring

So not only did I have to stay home and be quiet but if my dad thought the referee made a bad call or his team was doing poorly, he would yell and curse at the top of his lungs. It was not pleasant at all.

If I were to guess the reason why I hate sports, what I just mentioned would be that reason.

I can remember being at school and other kids my age wanted to play football during recess, but I showed no interest. Do you, the reader, honestly wonder why?

I would play on the swings or jungle gym until our underfunded Catholic school’s insurance made them get rid of all playground equipment due to liability issues.

After that happened, I would walk around the school grounds, as I was fascinated by the drainage system and watching the water travel.

Around fifth grade and up to the beginning of seventh grade, I would play sports with my classmates during recess and slightly enjoyed it. At some point in seventh grade, I quit playing sports and would sometimes read magazines in the library during recess. Other times I would just walk around.

I could slightly tolerate playing sports but was still bored to tears watching them.

By seventh grade, we had Internet access, so while my dad watched sports on television, I was on the computer doing research, talking to friends and later writing. My brother was playing video games and my sister was playing next door with my cousins, though she was timed how long she could stay there.

This went on until the end of high school.

After I got into trade school, for the first semester, I would work on weekends, a lot. By that time, I also had a car, so I would go places when not working.

By the second semester, and even after graduation, I was staying with my girlfriend’s (now soon to be ex-wife’s) family.

My soon to be ex-wife loves sports and knows I hate them. While that did cause a lot of tension in our marriage but wasn’t what broke us up. I could be a contributing factor though, especially when she had compulsive desire to watch every single football game there is while leaving me starving for attention and affection. I turned to other sources for attention and affection to fill the void that my wife had caused to open, mostly writing and getting kudos for writing from others.

I don’t think I can ever like sports and I am one of the few straight guys who are like that.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. I hope you have been informed and can maybe understand me better…

Reminiscing my Reactions to the Government Shutdown of 2013

It was October 1, 2013. A government shut down had begun. I was temporarily staying with my parents, waiting for an apartment to become available. I had lost my house that previous April.

I had gone to bed that previous night knowing that the shut down would likely happen.

That morning I had woke up and turned on the television. Talk about the shut down was on virtually every news channel.

The first thing I did after hearing confirmation that the government was indeed shut down was turn on my weather radio.

I was relieved to hear that the government funded weather broadcasts were still being transmitted.

Then I prepared for my day. I had bills to pay and errands to run.

Because of the shutdown, I was in a bad mood that neither Obama nor the members of Congress could get their act together.

This probably was also a catalyst moment in me wanting to create The Ethical Party, at least on my subconscious level.

I will stand by my belief that the two main parties have failed us for long enough.

I was angry for that period of time, though I kept it concealed very well.

The way I managed my anger in that whole situation, and quite successfully was cracking controversial jokes throughout the days of the shutdown.

I took to Facebook and those around me in the businesses I had to visit with my jokes, getting reactions of shock and laughter.

One of the places I went was the AT&T store to keep my Go Phone service on. There were few workers, so I said something along the lines of how the place is short staffed like the U. S. Government is going to be.

Afterward, I was driving with my wife, soon to be ex-wife now, and there was a radio station out of Baton Rouge that played a lot of Gordon Lightfoot’s songs. We both frequently listened to that station. I was parking my car at a grocery store in Houma as “Sundown” by Gordon Lightfoot was ending on my car radio. I remember telling my now soon to be ex-wife that I thought I looked like a younger, shorter and chubbier version of Gordon Lightfoot. The main reason is the curly blonde hair and certain facial features. We stepped out of my car and walked through the parking lot. At the exact same time, there was a ship passing through Houma on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway or the Houma Navigation Canal and for whatever reason, the ship sounded its horn. I immediately thought about the song about the Edmund Fitzgerald, sung by Gordon Lightfoot, because I had just mentioned him. That’s how my mind works many times. I even posted about that to Facebook, but then felt paranoid and guilty about my controversial humor and even went as far as to worry about the crew of that ship that was going through Houma at the time. I think I might have even prayed for the crew of that ship and that they have a safe voyage wherever they may go. If I prayed, my prayers were answered because I don’t think there were any maritime accidents in Louisiana during that time, even though Tropical Storm Karen was threatening the Gulf Coast. Praise God. I also felt terrible about what was going through my mind, because of what happened to the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald back in 1975.

My anger about government incompetence had put me in a bitter mood and the only way I could deal with it in a healthy way was to crack controversial, distasteful and borderline sick jokes.

It was probably wrong of me to do that, but I was younger than I am now and therefore probably more foolish than I am now.

Later that day I had cracked a joke in a Facebook post, questioning the accuracy of my then wife’s Atomic clock receiver. That was much more tasteful than the previous jokes, I guess.

Two days later, I had posted to Facebook how my Weather Radio alerted me of a Tropical Storm Watch, then later Warning, but the storm actually went elsewhere eventually. I was thankful that the weather broadcasts were still occurring.

Another two days later, the Tropical Storm Warnings were canceled.

Yet a week later I had posted a joke, questioning whether the Voice of America service was still being broadcast. Yes, they were, I tuned them in on shortwave moments after posting. Was that really necessary to keep the sovereign and secure status of the USA? I mean it is mostly a propaganda arm anyway.

I was on YouTube on October 16, 2013, and found a video that played the Jeopardy Think Music for an hour straight. I shared that video to Facebook and included, “Now if only someone could hook this up to loudspeakers and play it on Capitol Hill!!” in the post.

Sometime later that day, the shut down ended.

In January of 2018, there was another government shut down, but I was in the process of leaving my wife and moving out that I didn’t have the time nor the mental energy to be so opinionated nor was I in a joke-cracking mood. Also, I was almost five years older and wiser, so I had learned to still my tongue or my fingers more frequently.

I hope this piece has been informative and enlightening.

Forgive me for the politically charged content.

I am a [Potential] Alcoholic

I am a [potential] alcoholic.

I’ve never drunk consistently enough to where it actually caused serious problems, but the urge in me to do so is definitely there.

In this piece, I will try to explore why I am this way.

There are plenty of alcoholics in my family tree and definitely into my extended family, on both sides.

The first time I remember consuming alcohol was in 1989. I was around the age of two. An uncle by marriage was sitting at my paternal grandparents’ kitchen table and sipping on a can of Miller Lite. For whatever reason, he gave me a sip and a few minutes later I passed out. Later that day I woke up on the floor of my grandparents’ den and Richard Simmonds was on the television.

Another time in the Summer of 1990, my parents had a few cans of Budweiser in their refrigerator. I was three and a half and opened one of those cans then took a sip, but was absolutely disgusted by the taste. The ironic part is now, in my early thirties, Budweiser is my absolute favorite beer and I thoroughly enjoy the taste of it. I remember going up to my dad and saying how the “Coke”, or what I assumed to be Coke, in the refrigerator was “sour”, then pointing to the can. My dad starting freaking out with great concern and asked, “Eric did you take a big sip?” I told him that I didn’t. Had I actually taken a big sip, he would have probably called 911 out of concern for my well being.

I can remember in the Summer of 1995, at the age of eight, I had just fully learned how to read and would read everything I could. Almost every day, I was in Conoco station where my dad would purchase Gasoline and a can of Sprite for me. I saw a sign in there that read “Ice Cold Beer.” Though I hadn’t really been exposed too much to alcohol at that point, I can remember having a strong craving for that beer. I also used to love to go to gas stations because of the smell of beer.

From 1991 to 2001, I had attended an extremely strict catholic elementary school with an extremely rigorous curriculum. It got tougher as I advanced to each grade. By Seventh Grade, (2000-2001) during the little free time I had in school, I would frequently read from the catholic Bible. The book I was particularly interested in was Sirach, which isn’t in the Protestant Bible. From reading Sirach, I had learned that alcoholic beverages were intended by God to be a way of temporarily forgetting one’s trouble and having a good time at social gatherings. It made clear sense to me. That coupled with the fact that we were constantly working on school projects which added an unnecessary amount of stress to what should have been a carefree childhood. Supposedly, this was to prepare us for a four-year college. But notice something: A lot of students attending four-year colleges frequently binge drink because of the stress brought on from the God awful load of school work they are required to do. This, back in 2001, was the catalyst, in me becoming aware that I am a [potential] alcoholic. The only reason why I didn’t become a drinker at that point is that I had no access to alcoholic beverages. The reason why catholics have no issue with drinking and even drink heavily on religious holidays could possibly be from the book of Sirach. Since Sirach isn’t in the Protestant Bible, most Protestants detest drinking altogether, though some Protestants still drink behind closed doors, but feel convicted and ashamed when doing so. Well, I myself am Protestant and have been from 2004 to 2005 and since about 2008. Case in point, I do drink behind closed doors but definitely, feel convicted and ashamed when drinking. In fact, earlier tonight, I went out on a drive and stopped at a store on my way home to make a few groceries. I almost purchased a can of cold beer, but thought better of it.

On March 15, 2003, I was sixteen and had met a pretty (and plus sized) girl while doing volunteer work. We seemed to hit it off quite well but then she dumped me a day later. I remembered what I had read in Sirach, plus many of my high school friends consumed alcohol on a regular basis. I decided to drink this pain away. So, I had invaded my parents liquor cabinet and drank as much Jack Daniels as possible. This was my first time drunk, but I must say my spirits were lifted and I was in a much better mood for the rest of the day. Whiskey causes most men to become extremely belligerent, but it makes me quite jolly and much friendlier than when I am sober.

In October of 2003, I was sixteen going on seventeen, it was Friday night and I was at a party where I had consumed five beers then half a fifth of cheap Vodka. I was very loud and very jolly but couldn’t even walk straight. I was the life of the party. It is truly by the Grace of God that I didn’t get alcohol poisoning that evening and that I eventually vomited it back up. However, this experience had cemented my love for alcohol. I eschewed the laws on the books about alcohol and had already eschewed the laws on the books about guns. This made me decide to commit to the Libertarian Party, after hearing a radio broadcast about a week later. I was a registered Libertarian from ages 18 to 19, when I became what I am today-Independent. I still have quite a few Libertarian tendencies though, but I recognize the need for some government and the Libertarians no longer appeal to me completely.

In June of 2004, at the age of seventeen, I broke down mentally and was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. I had plenty of misdiagnoses and improper treatments prior to this, but in retrospect, I showed the symptoms of Schizophrenia ever since the age of six This meant taking medication for the rest of my life, which was not to be mixed with any alcohol. For the next four years, I pretty much became a teetotaler. I took Risperdal from ages fifteen to sixteen (because of a partial misdiagnosis), then seventeen to nineteen for Schizophrenia. From ages nineteen to twenty, then twenty-three to pretty much the present day, I took and still take Geodon. From age twenty to twenty-three I took Abilify.

In 2008 I became twenty-one, the drinking age. Alcohol was tolerated with this drug, so I began to drink beer every now and then. I had income with little bills and I was of age to buy my own alcohol. Also for most of the age twenty-two, I was working and would frequently have a beer after work. My then girlfriend didn’t like it, later wife, soon to be ex-wife, because of alcohol’s effects on her family members. She assumed I’d be the same way, but she was and still is dead wrong. I’ve never done anything irresponsible or violent even at my very drunkest.

In late 2011, at the age of twenty-four going on twenty-five, I would go out drinking in a bar room with a former coworker. This was my reward for me helping him with his computer. Also, around this time, I was told by a very competent physician that one beer per day wouldn’t hurt me and would actually be quite beneficial.

Towards my late twenties, I was in an unhappy marriage. I have my own faults don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t deserve to be emotionally neglected or even put on the proverbial back burner like my wife constantly did to me. I also didn’t deserve to be constantly put down, especially where my writing was concerned. I just stuck with it though, because I had felt that doing so would honor God. A family friend would frequently drink with me and supply me with beer and whiskey. My wife hated this with a hot passion, yet she was the cause of my desire to drink.

In the Summer of 2017, this family friend took his two sons, plus my wife and I on a trip to Tennesee. One night during this trip, my wife was harping on me about everything under the sun (or moon-it was nighttime.) The family friend got aggravated with her and brought me out drinking. We came back plastered. When we got back to the cabin, I was jolly as could be and the two boys were enjoying my drunk company but my wife was cursing me out. She probably would have hit me, had no one else been there as she had done several times behind closed doors over the course of our marriage.

Later that summer due to a temptation which I eventually never actually gave in to, plus years of emotional infidelity, frequent neglect and total mistreatment, from my wife, I was desiring a divorce. The temptation, though I remained faithful to my wife, taught me that there are nicer women out there. Because of this, my wife began doing things behind my back. I had drunk so much during the period of time, that my hair began to fall out. But by the Grace of God, my hair has all grown back and is thick as ever. Despite all the drinking, I never caused any injury, no not even insult. I know durn good and well not to drive or operate machinery when under the influence. I flat out refuse to, even if I had just one little beer. It’s not worth the legal implications of a drunk driving charge.

On January 17, 2018, I had just made thirty-one and was told by a secret informant what exactly my wife was doing behind my back. I bit the bullet and decided I would leave her. In preparation for this, the same family friend took me out drinking after I admitted to him what I found out. We had gotten totally plastered that night. I was in very good spirits, frequently giggling, despite knowing what lied ahead of me, though I couldn’t stand for very long without falling. We sobered up in my car, then when the alcohol was out of my system, I drove to his house and I slept for that day.

I moved in with another friend a day later, then in May of 2018, got an apartment where I am currently staying.

Since that night in January 2018, I have casually drunk a few times, but never enough to alter my judgment or consciousness.

The reason why I am not a full-blown alcoholic is that I cannot afford enough alcohol being on the fixed income I get for being schizophrenic. I do have an addiction to flashlights, but that is a totally harmless and actually beneficial addiction that only consumes what little extra spending money I have. I look at this too as the Grace of God in just a different manifestation. I pay for my rent, necessary expenses, and utilities responsibly, so if I want a flashlight here or there, to whom does it harm? No one!

To those who criticize me for liking flashlights:

Would you rather me be a full-blown alcoholic and use my spending money on alcohol?

Flashlights are not going to cause cancer or other health problems of any kind.
Flashlights are not going to impair my judgment or coordination.
Flashlights can be used as an instrument of self-defense, whereas alcohol totally hinders self-defense.
The worst thing flashlights do is sometimes freak out neighbors or people on the street.

I’m not trying to be self-righteous and I realize some may think I am.

On the contrary, I can totally relate to and very much sympathize with people who have more dangerous addictions to whatever they may be.

It is but only by the Grace of God that I am not a full blown alcoholic, just a potential alcoholic…

Back to “Personal Reflections”

ASDF Movie Questions and Speculations

Since about 2011, I have been a fan of the ASDF Movies.

I had seen some kids watching them and when I saw the “I Like Trains Kid” character, I could only think to myself and eventually be public about it, “No fair, I liked trains before it was cool to even like trains.”

I even commented that on YouTube.

Of course, then someone called me a “hipster.”

Anyway, I could still watch these ASDF Movies over and over again and laugh myself silly.

At some point in 2014, someone whom I will refer to as my “bestest buddy” and myself wrote down most of these questions and speculations we came up with about some of the characters in the said cartoon.

Here they are without further ado:

Desmond the Moon Bear:
He was sent him to the moon because he was very smart and knew how to speak English. Since he spoke English, he was launched into space by the USA and not the USSR/CCCP. His memories of being in the rockets were probably wiped out somehow.

The Girl Who Wanted to go to the Moon:
We thought she would miss the moon and/or other planets but went into the sun and burned up. She might not have made it through Earth’s atmosphere and fell back down. Then we wondered if the moon talked to her like he talked to the couple on the hill when he wanted them to kiss. This could be why she and Desmond never met. Also, when she was leaving the earth did he talk to her like he told goodbye to the guy who blew his brains out?

Stegosaurus and The Mine Turtle:
How did the stegosaurs learn how to speak English to the guy who traveled back in time? How does the stegosaurus step on the mine turtle and survive?

The I Like Trains Kid (my personal favorite):
Does the train just hurt whom the I Like Trains Kid wants to hit or does it hurt everyone nearby? Does he have some kind of power to guide the train to his target? Does he get hit? In one scene he does get it, or at least it looks like it. Maybe it is because he had no target that time. If only I myself had the power to summon a train simply by saying, “I Like Trains.” Of course, I wouldn’t use the train as a weapon, unless my life or the life of someone whom I care about was in danger.

The Die Potato: When the potato was about to be smashed but his assailant was rolled over by the train; was the potato also smashed by the train? Who taught the potato how to handle a firearm?

The Boy that Turned into a Pie:
Maybe he baked a pie and hid. Maybe he turned into the pie, by baking himself, but then the pie might taste like steak. How would he have turned into a perfectly shaped pie, like the pie flavored pie? Could the baby on fire be trying to bake into a pie by his mother, since she wanted more jewelry? Maybe she wanted to have a bake sale?

Child Arrested for Doing Homework:
Maybe this takes place in a dystopian society where any types of learning are forbidden. Maybe there was a free-thinking teacher who assigned the student to read some forbidden book and do a report on it, hence that it the homework the child was arrested for.

That’s all I have for the moment.

Hopefully, in the not to distant future, I can further elaborate on this.

Also, I am willing to accept input on your thoughts if you yourself also watch ASDF Movies…