Hello, Surf Reporters! It’s been a long time and I apologize for that. I could make excuses, and some of them would even be semi-legitimate, but I’d rather just call it a hiatus and get back to work. What do you say? Can we start over?
Since we last spoke Toney lost her job and started a new one. There was an eight or nine week wait until unemployment benefits kicked in, which I consider to be ludicrous. What if she were a single mother, or something similar? How do they justify such a lengthy processing time? And these bloated members of the bloated bureaucracy want to be in charge of our health care too? I will say this much for them… when she started her new job they were Johnny-on-the-spot with ENDING the benefits. Oh, that was an amazing demonstration of efficiency. But there’s no way of knowing which version I’d get if I came down with front-to-back cancer, or whatever. I’m leaning toward the former, and not so much the latter.
Also, the younger boy completed his bachelor’s degree, which is something I never managed to do. It’s quite an accomplishment and we’re very proud of him. We’ll see what the next chapter brings. He’s a smart and driven young man. And, the older boy is now enrolled in a two-year electrician program. It’s shockingly (get it?) expensive, but if he can make it to the other side (and I think he will), he’ll be in great shape. It feels like things might finally be starting to come together on the youngling front. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, my friends.
Toney and I are now in the mode of trying to find a place to retire in a few years. We’re definitely planning to leave the Upper Pierogi Belt and move southward. I mean, this isn’t the worst place in the world, but it’s nowhere near the best either. Plus, it’s snowy and icy in the winter and I’ve had quite enough of that shit. In April we’ll be visiting Greenville, SC. On paper it seems perfect; it’s relatively close to Asheville, Charlotte, Atlanta and Myrtle Beach, there’s a decent cost of living, mild weather, and an up-and-coming community. We’ll see what kind of vibes we get off of the place while we’re actually there. If it doesn’t do it for us, like Tampa didn’t, we’ll just move on to the next target. We have a few years.
And speaking of icy, I walked outside earlier in the week to take an over-stuffed sack o’ kitchen trash to the garage, and when I took my first outside breath it felt like my lungs were on fire. I think both my breathing bags flash-froze inside my well-insulated torso. Since we might be close enough to see (or at least sense) the finish line, it makes those kinds of moments even more difficult to handle. It feels like I’m working out the world’s longest two-week notice.
Now for some Random Notes from the Bunker…
Smelling Melville by J. Robert Metten
As many of you are already aware, our old pal Metten has published his first novel, titled Smelling Melville. It’s available in three different formats at Amazon: Kindle, paperback, and hardcover. I’m fairly jealous of the hardcover version; neither of my books ever achieved such a status. In any case, this is something you definitely need to check out. I read it, and it was truly enjoyable.
Here’s the review I posted: If you’re a fan of offbeat, smart and funny this is one for you. The writing is topnotch, the characters come alive, and the situations are delightfully bizarre. It does take a short while to get a grasp on the oddball world Metten has created, but once you lock in it’s a fantastic ride. This novel is genuinely funny, and literary too. I recommend Smelling Melville without reservation; it is a warped work of art.
Do not hesitate to purchase and read. This is Metten, bitches! He also has a cool new website, which you can check out here. Proceed without delay!
The $5 Scratch-Off Project
Thank God it’s over. I’m done. What the hell was I thinking?? For the past two years I’ve purchased scratch-off lottery tickets every Saturday and logged the results on a spreadsheet at the website. It led to nothing but heartache and shame. The first year I purchased one $10 ticket per week, and the results are here. The second year I purchased two $5 tickets per week, and the results are here. Those outcomes are very similar, and it’s why I’m done. They can pack that shit deep and on a slant. I mean, I knew intellectually (I use the term loosely) that it’s a sucker’s bet, the whole business model is built on it. But I figured I’d surely hit a couple of $100 winners, or maybe even a $500 and put me over the top. Sucker! Across the entire two-year exercise I purchased a total of 156 tickets and lost $483. They can take it on a radical slant.
The phony podcast photos
For reasons unknown I paid a gentleman in Sri Lanka to create a bunch of phony baloney signage photos featuring the podcast logo. I posted one on social media, and you can see it here. He did 35 of them, and some are better than others. I’ll probably keep posting ’em, until I’ve exhausted the decent ones. I mean, what else am I going to do with these things? Now that I don’t have the lottery to throw my money away on, I’m being forced to get creative. This is the podcast website, in case you’re interested.
No New Jeffs
For the past year or so I’ve been publishing a monthly “getting old” column at Substack. If you haven’t checked it out, please do. Here’s your link. Some folks charge money for these so-called newsletters, but mine is free and always will be. I’d just like for people to read it. I just turned 60, if you can believe it, and feeling it — emotionally, anyway. Give it a try, if you’re so inclined.
Further Evidence The End Is Near
Thank you guys for reading this! I’ll be back soon, I promise.
Have a great day!
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