Life Goes On

Well I guess I have been busy. I’ve been hanging out with people, and social interaction is good. I haven’t been playing much EQ, and that’s something that’s strange seeing as how over the last year I had been playing it pretty consistently. The group of people I play with are still there, but I haven’t been. I talked to my Dad and he said that he’s been getting burnt out on the game as well. I would go as far as to say I’m burnt out, but that I just have been occupying my time with other things. When I do play I log on for a little, and then I’m off. I have however been playing a lot of Call of Duty 2, online with my buddy John, or by myself. Half the time we play together online, or I go to his house and we play side by side (he has two computers). I’ve been hanging out with him quite often, so has Gina. I’d say I hang out with him more often than anyone else at this point in time. Straying from EQ has been a pretty good experience in some ways. First, I have been hanging out with friends more often. Second, I’ve been playing other games, and I’m actually becoming interested in some other single player games that I have missed out on. Third, I’ve been doing other things that I haven’t for a long while. Like watching movies, going out to the movies, getting tattooed, going to the bar. Things that are all still time killers, but I’m getting a much better variety in my day now.

Speaking of movies, I went with Ted to see 300 a couple weeks ago, and it was an awesome movie. We just went and saw TMNT today, taking Gina, the kids, and his nephew with us. It was pretty good too. Still geared a little more towards kids than I would have liked, but still a good flick. I also watched a few others at home, the last 3 episodes of Star Wars, and The Transporter 2 (which I checked out last night). The latter was a little cheesy, reminding me of old Jackie Chan films. But hey, at least I’m doing something aside from being on the computer all night.

Me and Gina had been trying to decide whether we should get our car refinanced or just trade it in for something else. We had pretty much decided on the latter option, mainly because she wanted to get a Charger as our second vehicle, and she has a friend that owns the Dodge dealership here in town, promising good deals. Another friend of hers offered to co-sign for the car, so we figured the payments on that would be low. As a result, trading in the car we currently have for one that I really wanted would solve our one car problem quite nicely, in that we’d both have a vehicle we wanted. I had narrowed my options down to a truck, preferrably a Toyota Tacoma or a Nissan Frontier, but I wasn’t discounting the Dodge Dakota, because of the aforementioned friend. Also with the Nissan, I could get the family discount as my Mom works at a Ford/Nissan dealer. So yesterday we headed out with the intentions of getting some answers.

We started at the local auto mall, where I talked to a couple sales-people about getting a Frontier. They answered most of my questions, but it didn’t seem like anything good was going to happen there, and we could swear we were hearing some bullshit. It started pouring cats and dogs while we were there, and though I wanted to go talk to Gina’s friend at the Dodge dealer, I didn’t want to get soaked in the process. So we decided since it was still early, that we would go pay a visit to my Mom. When we arrived, I asked her to point me in the right direction, and she hooked me up with a Fleet Sales guy named Steve. He was completely honest with us, and tried to finaggle what he could, but it still ended up being a no-go. It’s not that we couldn’t get anything, it’s just that the Hyundai depreciated so much in just a year that we were too far upside down to do us any good. Even with the $3,000 off with the family plan, and a $1,000 rebate, my payments were going to be $520/mo. That’s more than I’m paying now (thought the vehicle in question would have been a nice upgrade). If I was to put $1,000 down towards said vehicle, my payments would still be $505. Steve did tell us that if my credit score was good enough he could most likely get my APR down lower from the 5.9% they initially offered, to around 3.9%, making my payments about the same as they are now (and less interest means I’m actually paying what the car is worth, not $10,000 more like on this damn hyundai with my 21% APR). We told Steve we would have to think about it, and we left.

At this point, we our pretty much agreed that trading the Sonata in would be a waste of time. So I am going to refinance it and hope I can get my payments down below $400/mo. Then she’s still going to use her friend as a co-signer, and get another vehicle. We just don’t know what that will be yet. Maybe the same vehicle we were looking at yesterday, or maybe the charger she wants. It’s really up in the air at the moment. Anyway, after leaving the dealership, we came home and I dropped her and the kids off, and then headed out to my Tattoo Artist’s house. Mike was already tattooing another guy, but that didn’t take too long, and we got down to business creating mine. I wanted to get two tombstones, one with my Great Grandmother’s name and dates on it, and the other with my Great Grandfather’s (both on different sides of the family). Then in the background, bats flying around. Some silhouettes, and some other things with bat wings. For instance, the t-shirt I was wearing had a picture of a devil head with flame hair and batwings. I got that, along with a skull with bat wings, and I’m planning on adding the tiger army tiger head with bat wings later on. And maybe some others, I don’t know yet. Anyway, I got the line work slung down on my grandma’s tombstone, along with a few bats. It came out pretty good I think. During the next session I’m going to get the other tombstone lined up, and get some color. I also need to hit up Gina’s ex to finish my cat tattoo from earlier this year. I have nothing but line work from my elbow down. But I have nearly two sleeves, and that was the goal.

Comradarie

Through a strange turn of events, some things have been put into perspective. I know this is going to sound stupid, but hear me out. I was playing Everquest the other day, much like most days, and I have a guild in the game. A guild that me, gina, my dad, and some internet friends started together. I have felt closer to some of my internet friends that some of my real friends as of late, and I know that makes me sound like an uber nerd. But most of my “real” friends have fallen out of my life in many different ways, so these were my friends when I come home to an empty house at night (gina’s at work). The other day, my dad and some other guild mates left the guild. This was disheartening, but also was a sort of snap back to reality. I realized that I was putting too much into the game, giving too much of myself to it, and to them. I’m not giving up on the game, far from it. I still devote time to it, because it’s something that I do for fun. What I mean by all that is that I’ve realized I wasn’t just doing it for enjoyment, I was treating it more like a job, and becoming attached to the game. I supposed that’s what would be called an addiction. But the best thing you can do for any addiction is realize you’re addicted, and then move forward.

Another catalyst for this realization was the fact that I’ve been hanging out with people a bit more lately. Some old friends have come out of the woodwork. The other day me and Gina went to John’s house for a little shindig he was having. We ended up staying over there until 6 in the morning, and then going home. The very next day I went back to his house, this time with drews to watch a movie. And then last night I ended up hanging out with Herbie, whom I haven’t done anything with since Halloween. I saw him earlier in the week at the casino, and ended up talking to him on the phone while I was at work last night, and he came over after I got off. We had a beer and talked; I caught up on a lot of stuff about all of my friends. Much like I had suspected (and written about a couple posts ago), the old gang is dead. Smaller groups have broken off and it looks like all of us hanging out again at the same time is impossible. But that’s ok, at least I have salvaged some relationships, and that’s all that matters to me.

Gina started working full-time the other day. It was actually kind of dropped on her, we were expected her to start about a week later. So one day she was at work and I thought she was getting off at 5 a.m., and instead she called and said she didn’t get off until 8:30. So I had to stay up all the way until then, and I didn’t get to bed until after 9. Then I had to get up and go to work again. That sucked. But her pay checks are going to be almost as much as mine now, so our income has nearly doubled, and that is awesome. I can finally pay off most of my debts, and we’re going to be in a much better financial situation now. With this check I paid some bills, and went grocery shopping (just got back from doing that a little bit ago). Next check I have a couple other bills to pay, and then I plan to pay my mom off for the fridge. After the little bit of money I gave them today, I only owe $140. I still owe Jason $500, but I’m making payments. I hope to have him paid off by the end of next month. The only other thing I have to do is get my car re-financed, and then my payment will go down, and we’ll be sitting pretty. Also in about 4 or 5 months we will have paid off our bed and the la-z-boy in the living room, and that will be another less bill. So things are looking up.

Ted told me he wants to go see 300, and I told him I would see it with him. I don’t know for sure if we’re going, but I definitely want to see it. Frank Miller’s work is superb. I also want to see Ghost Rider but I guess that will have to wait for another day. So my physical interaction ratio is back up, and I feel good about it. Hopefully this trend continues.

Reliving The Past

Normally, I’d be sleeping, but for some reason I’m not tired. I haven’t seen the sun come up since my construction days, or my party days. It’s odd being up long enough to see the sun go down, and then come back up. Unnerving, really. I was playing some EQ, just until I finally got tired, but the servers were coming down for an update, so here I am. Still trying to get sleep to knock on my door; waiting for the sandman to throw his grit in my eyes. I feel him creeping up on me slowly, I think I’ll be able to sleep soon. If I don’t get to sleep within the next hour or so, I think I’m going to have to call off, because I’m not trying to get a short nap and then work a full day. It would be nice to have a three day weekend anyway.

I’ve gone out the past couple nights after work. It was nice in a way because I got some of my youth back. Reminded me of good times that are long gone. Then again, having a hangover before work sucks… and that’s the part of my youth that I don’t miss. Not that I’m old, but I’ve moved on from that party-all-the-time mentality, and it feels like those days were a lifetime ago. Anyway, the 3rd was Ted’s birthday. Kristy told me that they were having some people over to their house, and I was interested in going. Gina had to work and was a little jealous that she couldn’t go, but she got over that. Ted was invited to celebrate his birthday at her house, and said he would go, but never showed. Regardless, I went and so did a few people from work. There was beer to be had, and I had a few. The party got broken up a little earlier than I would have suspected, mainly because Kristy and Jeff (both of which live in the house) got into a fight over one of Jeff’s friends. That was my cue to leave. I came home and cooked myself some food, and then went and got Gina from work.

I slept until 2 o’clock, and was still tired. I took some ibuprofin and drank an assload of water, and laid back down. I didn’t actually get up until 3, but I never did fall back asleep. I think I might be getting insomnia… but I’m not going to jump the gun and say that for sure. I got ready and headed to work. Work was standard faire; we were a little short handed so I ran my ass off, but it was ok nonetheless. After work I told Ted I’d take him out for a beer since he didn’t show up the night before. I suggested going to the O.K. Corral, but he didn’t want to drive all the way across town, so we ended up going to Johnny’s. Johnny’s is a little hole in the wall bar, but I’ve been there a couple times and the bartenders are friendly, the beers are cheap, and they have some cool bands sometimes. The band listed below is one that I saw play live there. Anyhow, we ended up talking to the bartender about local bands and whatnot while we drank our two beers a piece, and then it was time to head out. Ted went home and so did I. It was fun to get out and do something aside from sitting on my computer. I’ve become a bit of an introvert lately, and I enjoyed the human contact. But I definitely don’t want to go back to the party days.

Gina is supposed to be going on full-time with in the next week or two. That means a huge pay increase is coming shortly, and that is definitely a good thing. It’s right on time too, because we’ve been broke, and would continue to be until that pay increase came. But we always make it through, so I wasn’t worried. She’s also going to be coming back to swing shift, so my schedule will go back to the one I’m used to, and maybe that will help out my building sleep dilemma. Then she’ll be able to hang out more too, and that’s always good.

I’ve been playing a lot of chess lately. They put chessboards in the breakroom at work a while back, and me and Ted try to get lunch around the same time so that we can play. Last night I beat him. I’m currently 13-8 against him. One of the other Officers, “Big” Mike found out we had been playing and decided that he would give us a go. Apparently he played Ted on one of my days off, and beat him. He talked a lot of shit, and I told him he wouldn’t beat me. Of course, he did. He’s actually really good, I was very suprised. But now the fucker has been avoiding me so that I can’t prove that I’m just as good, if not better. More on that later. So I’m thinking about buying a nice board to play with when I have friends over. I find the idea of getting drunk and playing chess appealing. Hopefully someone else will share my sentiments.

The Gang is Gone

I saw some old friends at the casino today. It makes me sad to say it (to even think it), but it seems that the old gang is dead and gone. From what I’ve seen/heard from the old group of guys I used to hang out with, we’ve all grown apart, to some extent or another. Starting from my oldest friends, I’ll break it down. Drews, my really old buddy, has gotten a promotion of sorts at his job, becoming a corporate trainer. With that, he’s been travelling the country training people in stores until they’re up to snuff, then coming home in spurts, and back out he goes. So he’s not really around anymore. I believe he’s in arizona right now, but I digress. After him comes Jason, whom I still talk to on a more regular basis than the other guys, he’s still out of my loop a bit since we moved out of the old pad that we shared. He’s got a girlfriend that takes up much of his time (not that I mind, it’s something we all go through), and since he works graves and I’m on swing, we mostly just talk in passing. I do see him here and there on EQ, but that’s the extent of it most of the time. Chris would come next, and though he’s not my friend anymore, he was part of the group. He’s married now and lives with his wife, and from what I’ve heard he quit drinking so he doesn’t hang out with the guys anymore. But our beef probably has something to do with the reason he doesn’t hang out with them anymore.

Most of the others I hung out with all around the same time. I met Howard, and in turn met Herbie, Brian, Punker, Steven, Mouse, Jose, and a host of others that don’t matter as much to me. Howard is attached to some girl and his schedule differs from mine so we don’t hang out. Herbie is practically married, and is supposed to be getting a pad with his woman, and he has the same schedule as Howard so I don’t see him either. Brian apparently had some beef with Punker, and he’s attached to his girlfriend as well, so I still talk to him but he says he doesn’t really hang with any of them anymore either. Punker and Steven were at the casino tonight, and they swore up and down that they would call and that they’ve meant to, and we should hang out, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ve heard much of the same from all of them. Mouse apparently had some issues with punker over a girl (which I believe Punker is dating), and has recently moved out of town. So I guess he’s just as out of the loop as Drews is. I talk to Jose online, and that’s about the extent of it. I haven’t seen any of these guys since my Halloween party last year at my old house.

It’s a shame. We all talked about how we’d always hang out. We always did hang out too, and now we all see each other and we ask our “how are you?” questions, but in the end we don’t hang out and we rarely talk. I wish we could hang out more often, but with such differing schedules and girlfriends and bullshit and lives we don’t. A large part of me wants to escape to those younger days when the world was ahead of us and we had plenty of time to sit back, relax, drink, and do whatever. We were all chasing tail and getting fucked up. Now we’re all attached to someone and we lead our own lives, and we don’t have time for each other. I hate to see so much time put to waste, but apparently there’s no way around this, and every man comes to this point in his life. Another part of me doesn’t give a shit. I’m comfortable in my routine. I get up, I go to work, I come home and read/play EQ, and then I go to bed and possibly get laid. Rinse/Repeat. It’s not that bad of a life. Really it’s not. But I guess everyone has that little piece of them that wants to go back.