Nightmares and Distractions

It is not true that nightmares only stalk the night, they are an ever-present beast that can follow you day or night. In fact, they are more powerful in the light of day. If there is no darkness for you to hide away in, they can find you easily.

When I wake, one nightmare ends, and another begins. I have the same thoughts when I wake up as I do when I fall asleep. Funnily enough, those thoughts briefly make me happy, yet are a cause of the nightmares. Although, I have been having some nightmares about all of that. Yes, I am being vague on purpose because none of this is her fault.

It is my fault.

Awake nightmares are the worst. At least when I am asleep, some control over them is possible. Daytime nightmares are not like that. Wherever I go in this world, there are nightmares waiting for me. My home, shopping, taking a walk, going to my mom’s house. Every day there are new nightmares.

When I sleep, nightmares are waiting to greet me. At least when I am asleep I know they are not real - usually - so are not nearly as bad. When they are bad is when they tie into my waking nightmares. If that happens, I wake up out of breath and incredibly anxious, and it stays like that for many hours.

This should probably be a New Year’s post, but every year since 2017 has been worse than the previous. I don’t know what the point of writing aspirational New Year’s posts is so of course, that means that there will be one posted on January 1.

It is not a coincidence that my steep downward slide was right after my income greatly increased, and I was able to buy a home. I told my sister that I will experience a lot of pain to pay for my good fortune. She didn’t believe me.

I am not allowed to experience contentment, good things, and certainly not happiness.

Pain and suffering and barely making it by are what I am allowed to have without being punished for it. Ironically, I am struggling failing to keep up with everything in my house and yard, so I think buying a house is part of the steep punishment.

There was a very brief time in 2019 when I thought my life would end up happy - can you imagine? What was I thinking that something like happiness would be possible? In the end, it brought so much pain, but not enough to pay it in full, so here we are in 2022, and things are worse than ever. The only good thing about every new year is that it is one year closer to death.

It used to be that every year sucked, but was no worse or better than the year before. That is tolerable. This is not, at all.

Supposedly, my Toyota RAV4 SE hybrid is being delivered in a few weeks. I am not excited, despite really needing a car after my current old car has had serious issues. I am being picky since it is expensive (at least for me - my last car was $13,500 brand new), and I keep cars forever so it might be my last one. It is not a good time to be picky, and I am having to compromise way too much to be happy about it. The biggest issue is that it is not coming from Japan. It is being made in Kentucky, and like almost all American cars it is almost certainly substandard. Granted, it is better than anything similar by American companies - by far. Kentucky-built Toyota’s seem to have more recalls than those made in Japan, so the risk is a little higher.

I kept my Korean-built 2005 Hyundai Elantra running perfectly for nearly 17 years and am skeptical about American-built RAV4s, even if I keep up on the maintenance. It is annoying to have to pay the list price for a car that isn’t as good as others of the same model.

I could have picked a Hyundai hybrid SUV right off the lot instead of waiting months, but Toyota hybrids are head and shoulders above them, and the Hyundai’s built in Alabama are terrible. Toyota foolishly allows the Kentucky plant to cut corners, but there seem to be no standards at all at the Hyundai factory in Alabama.

They all come with the “audio plus” option, which has nothing to do with audio and costs an extra $1100. That is almost as much as the power liftgate and moonroof option. All it offers is a screen that is 2 inches larger. It lists other things, but they are mostly of dubious value and come with the car as part of the standard. There is no upgraded audio included.

The last objection seems silly, and I suppose it is, but that light-ish blue is unappealing and is an eyesore. I put an order in for metallic black, which matches the black wheels and black interior and is absolutely gorgeous. Well, as gorgeous as a Toyota can get, they aren’t known for building beautiful cars, just reliable ones. The blue exterior ruins it and annoys me to no end. It takes forever for Toyota to fulfill orders so this one is just part of a normal shipment.

Including taxes, this will cost close to $40,000. So, why shouldn’t I be picky?

They just announced the 2023 models that will start to be built soon and are cheaper and have more features. However, it is not a good idea to buy new models early in their production, and I doubt I can wait until summer.

I am aware that I sound like Grandpa Simpson.

So, how to pass the time without bringing an ounce of happiness into my life? I am not sure I can take any more of the pain that happiness brings.

The answer, of course, is distractions.

Projects are at least a worthwhile distraction, although I could sit on the couch and watch TV all day. As pointless as I believe everything is, I just can’t do that, which puts a fine point on what a mess I am. A proper person pushed into my shoes would sit on the couch until their heart stops.

I have refocused and narrowed my programming projects over the short term. I wrote about what I wanted to do - and I still want to complete them. They all have had good progress made, so I might go back to them and see if I have any interest when I need a new project. Some are years away from being completed. Most of those were discarded - at least temporarily - because they would require talking and working with others. I do not have the energy for anyone right now.

I did keep the exercise tracker and day planner since I need both. Yes, I am still exercising and need to double my efforts this winter. Oddly, I am working towards getting in good shape, for whatever definition of good shape is possible with my broken body. It is not lost on me that this is weird. I put this on the back burner behind other projects, but I need to get this completed soon. At least it is just for me, so I don’t have to waste time making it look good. It is web-based though, which sucks. Web applications are a massive headache when they should be fun.

My son-in-law told me I should build an NES emulator, which sounds interesting, but there are many already. There are bugs in the design of the NES that I would have to replicate while keeping out new bugs. That is a challenge, but I am not sure it is fun. It is on my to-do-later list but what is on the list is a system to build simple 80s-style games. Modern games look fantastic but are more movie than game, and are overly complex and boring. Simple games are better. With some graphics and audio libraries, a Raspberry Pi or something similar, and generic controllers, I am designing a simple gaming system.

Since these types of games are not CPU or GPU intensive, I am working on a gaming domain-specific language(DSL) in Ruby wrapped around the C++ graphic and audio libraries. That will make it super easy for just about anyone to use. It will have a simple but powerful API to build games. If there are no legal issues, perhaps a compiler can be built, so games written with my libraries can run on an NES classic. That would be cool! It would also help me learn the internals of the NES better, so I can build an emulator. The compiler and emulator would be at the bottom of the list. It just seems like a fun project.

I am adding features to the software that generates this site and copying over all the recipes to another domain, but also keeping them here.

I would love to write a web application to keep track of rare or unusual ingredients currently in local stores. It is hard to find out if something like tabasco peppers is available, or whatever. This should already be a thing, but it doesn’t appear that is the case. It could bring in some money but would require that I talk to others to get grocery stores to list these things. It could, however, just be something that customers submit, but that requires advertising also. It would cost next to nothing to run on a server if I limit it to my general area.

The other projects I previously wrote about will still get worked on, but these are the main ones for now. The exercise tracker and day planner should be 95% done by Christmas anyway, and then I can bring up another project.

I am plugging away with learning Russian and getting pretty far in Duolingo. I still struggle speaking it though. When I get comfortable I might start Spanish or Thai. Duolingo doesn’t have Thai, but I am not a huge fan of that program, as helpful as it can be.

It is cold, so there is little I can do outside until spring, but maintenance and improvements that my house and yard require seem to be never-ending.

I should read way more than I have this year, and is a good distraction.

I really want to move to SE Asia, but there is no way I can leave my kids and grandkids. What I can do is visit those places. I can put money away and travel once a year. Thailand would be first because I wouldn’t need a visa. That would depend if I can help Ragnar with his severe separation anxiety, he nearly has a stroke when I leave on a bike ride. I hope to have enough money put away to go in the next 12-15 months. We shall see. I would travel alone, so that won’t count as happiness, just a distraction.

I hope.

The Universe can be fickle.

A better project might be to leave this world. Not only is my life pointless, but so is this world. Seriously, what is the point of anything? I have no idea. I look around and see nothing at all anymore. It all seems like a waste of time and effort.

I have made two solid plans that are quick, and painless, and I would likely never be found. Of course, the Universe would not like that, so I need to find a slow and massively agonizing way out. If it is not painful and slow enough, the universe will not let me go, and I will be left with more damage and pain. Perhaps heavy metal poisoning? Arsenic with a healthy blend of lead and mercury might fit the bill. Cyanide would be far too quick.

It seems that I am my grandson’s favorite because I am always there for him - and I try to be - so how can I leave?

I guess a long, slow, painful, and lonely death is coming regardless if I do it myself or not.