I really should stop watching the “news” and following current events… These things never put me in a good mood or relieve stress. The more I learn, the more I understand the phrase “Ignorance is Bliss”.
There are so many things seemingly going wrong at this point in history, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with it all. We are bombarded daily with the latest scandal, the latest crime, the latest business failure, the latest forecast of bleakness in any number of areas…and yet NOTHING ever seems to change for the better.
So that got me to thinking, maybe that is WHY we’re being bombarded. To keep us distracted like a shifty 3-card Monty scammer working a rube.
For example, when was the last time you heard anything about Sam Bankman-Fried? Major, massive scandal. Lost (stole) BILLIONS of dollars – much of which went to political donations. Corruption and deceit the likes of which we might see once in a generation. Wall to Wall news and punditry coverage at first, until the political and academic connections came to light and then…crickets.
How about the Twitter Files? Even if all the information that was released WAS “cherry picked”, it still exposed our government as highly unethical and deceiving, if not outright criminal and operating clearly outside their bounds. At taxpayer expense, no less. A couple congressional hearings later and again, crickets.
Just off the top of my head in the last year we’ve got the border situation, the whole (extremely gross and pathetic) Biden family saga (son’s laptop, daughter’s diary, brother’s shady “business”, and ol’ puddin’ head Joe ON CAMERA AND BRAGGING about using his influence as VP to call off the dogs that were investigating his son’s “employer” amongst other things). We’ve got citizens still locked up TWO YEARS LATER without trial over a protest of the the shadiest election ever held in our country, and the ONE GUY seen repeatedly and often encouraging and enticing other protesters to break laws is walking around free and they are trying really hard to make him out to be a victim.
We’ve seen the beginning dominoes fall in what is sure to be another banking meltdown. All followed by calls of “All is Well!”, while our “leaders” are caught red-handed selling off stocks – just in time, I might add – to avoid personal losses. Then to add insult to injury, the mega banks buy up the good stuff for pennies on the dollar and leave the toxic stuff for the taxpayers to swallow. And then the Fed bumps up interest rates again.
We’ve got near daily reports of racially motivated violence, enough homeless people to fill a mid-sized city, massive amounts of drugged out zombies wandering the cities causing filth and danger to skyrocket. Store after store after store are closing up shop due to unfettered theft and violence toward their staff.
Then of course there is history’s biggest money laundering scheme happening over in Ukraine, where US taxpayers watch their money evaporate into the ether while the Ukrainian elite run around in Bentleys and live an insanely lavish life, while everything around them goes to hell. Not to mention pulling us ever closer to World War III.
Then we have the ever increasing culture wars brewing here at home. Americans by and large (obviously not all, duh) are respectful and tolerant of others, UNTIL you start making demands of them. That’s where we are now, the fringe elements are demanding EVERYBODY bend to their will and support their ways, while simultaneously espousing hate and intolerance for anyone that doesn’t. Quite ironic in my humble opinion.
All this yammering about the “climate crisis” (I’m not sure if that is the correct term this week, it’s changed so many times since the 1980s I’ve lost count) and yet we’re allowing MILLIONS of people to come here with no way to house, feed or employ them all as they help further deplete what natural resources we have. Pushing all electric EVERYTHING when we don’t have nearly the electric grid capacity for anywhere near the growth of use they are demanding.
I could go on and on and on, I’m afraid. All these have just been stream-of-consciousness, off the top of my head. My point being, OF COURSE we can’t solve all this right now. It’s simply too much and too divergent.
To solve problems, you have to have FOCUS. You need time to think. Even when you have a “solution”, those take time, energy, resources to implement. And you have to have the WILL to stick to the program and see things through. You have to be willing to change things up when a plan isn’t working the way you thought it would. You have to work around unseen obstacles and deal with unintended consequences. You must commit to solving the problem.
Even IF we had honest, commited local, state and federal governments (which we absolutely do NOT!), even IF they got together and prioritized all this mess, and decided “OK. We’re going to start with this ONE thing, and everything else can wait” there are so many interwoven issues, it would take a lifetime to unravel it all.
And so NOTHING happens, except more and more crap heaped upon We the People.
The Progressives hate the Moderates, the MAGAs hate the neocons, the liberals hate the conservatives… And vice-versa. But overall the battle between the extremes on BOTH sides are driving lots of people into “Independent” because they don’t want anything to do with either side of these whackadoos. But when most of the government’s “work” is directed towards the two extreme ends of the divide, the important stuff that MOST of us actually care about gets put on the back burner, tossed aside for later or just completely ignored. Which in turn makes people angrier, more distressed, LESS compassionate, and more unwilling to compromise. Wash, rinse and repeat.
The way I see it, either our “leaders” are so inept and worthless, that they are simply incapable of fixing things OR they are so corrupt and self centered, that they are driving the populace to madness in order to tear up the rule book and turn us into something other than what our country was founded to be. Either way, we peons lose.
Identity politics are for a people that have nothing else to worry about. That ain’t us. There are mounting problems – major, life changing problems – that will effect ALL OF US. Whether you are a gung-ho warhawk that thinks the USA should be overthrowing regimes, a bearded lady, a kale-munching, whale hugging neo-hippie, a staunch constitutional adherent, an An-Cap, a trad wife or a professional leftist agitator… we ALL gotta eat. We’d all like to have a roof over our heads. We don’t want to feel like our lives are in danger when we step foot into a city, or a church or a movie theater. We’d like to feel like our representatives actually represent US rather than corporations and special interests… But instead of focusing on the basics, we’re fighting over pronouns and “hate” speech and a bunch of other crap that means nothing in the big scheme of things.
Our country, and many others honestly, are in for a world of hurt. It’s beyond past time to out aside these idiotic, petty differences and focus on the basics. Real, honest food. Clean, potable water. A robust infrastructure, free from crumbling bridges and pothole ridden streets. Reasonable, basic education- reading, writing, arithmetic AND civics. Public safety. A medical system that cares for patients more than pharmaceutical companies. Everything else is gravy. And it can wait.
We have people making laws and passing regulations on things that they have NO working knowledge of. And a complicit media machine cheering them on.
For instance, my idiotic state passed regulations on fluorescent bulbs, essentially outlawing them as of next year. Did the jackasses making this regulation take into account just how many fluorescent light fixtures there are in California? They couldn’t possibly know. In my facility, which is only about a millions square feet, we have over 4,000 fluorescent fixtures still, after doing multiple LED conversion projects over the last 5 years. That is ONE facility, in one city. Basically, they set up a regulation that CANNOT be met in their time-line. Even if it could be done logistically, think of the MILLIONS of dollars required to implement it – many small businesses and smaller landlords simply can’t afford it – imagine the sheer amount of waste product generated by doing this, some of it toxic. So we’ll have tens of millions of new light fixtures required, the vast majority of which will come from China AND thousands of tons of waste going into the landfill sites, all on the name of being “sustainable”. Will all those fluorescent replacements then allow the capacity for charging tens of thousands of new electric cars, now that gasoline powered vehicles will also be banned from sale in a couple short years? Not bloody likely, especially considering how much high density housing the state is forcing every municipality to shove into every nook and cranny. The whole thing is a slow motion disaster unfolding before our very eyes, and there doesn’t seem to be a damn thing we can do about it. The blind leading the stupid in the race to the bottom.
I may be old fashioned, in that I still believe in American ideals. I’m not naive enough to believe that America hasn’t done some bad, really bad things in the past, but I don’t believe that defines us as a nation either. A nation is defined by it’s people, not it’s government. We are far from perfect, no question, but our FOUNDATION allows us to be the greatest, most freedom oriented nation the world has ever seen. We’ve sadly lost sight of that. Our “leaders” sold all that promise out from under us and we let it happen.
As I’ve mentioned before, at my core I’m an optimist. I don’t believe we’ve come to the end of the American experiment. But I DO believe we are fast approaching sink or swim time. Do we want our grandchildren to inherit a bastion of freedom and opportunity or another failed state like South Africa or Venezuela?
We need to come together as countrymen, put aside the petty squabbles and hold the feet of our “leaders” to the fire. We the People are THEIR employers, and it’s high time we start reminding them of this fact.
The time for going along to get along has passed. That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Right is right and wrong is wrong and we need to stop pretending otherwise. Likewise, your bad decisions are not everyone’s problem. If you screw up, own it, change it and move on with your life in a more positive way. We MUST stop relying on the government goons to take care of us. They clearly are not up to the task anyhow.
We’re Americans, we have a proud and fierce History. Our ancestors changed the world against all odds. It is time to remember their faces and pick up where they left off.
My apologies for the rant. This wasn’t what I had in mind when I started writing, it just kinda took on a life of its own. I’ve been in a horrible funk for the last couple months and I guess it just came to a head. Nonetheless, I stand by it. Nobody is “coming to save us”, and it could be argued that they are actively trying to take us down. It is up to us – you, me, everyone that considers themselves an American, to turn the tide and return to civility, order and common sense.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a firm believer in preparedness. I never really looked at being a “prepper” as my identity, it was just something I grew up with. First, my matriarch grandmother was a child of the Great Depression, and I spent a LOT of time with her growing up, so I’m sure that mindset rubbed off over the years. (As did religion, but that’s a story for another day).
Then I spent my adolescence and most of my teen years in Boy Scouts, who’s official motto is ” Be Prepared”. Several years working with my father added to it, as he ALWAYS seemed to have whatever was needed on a jobsite, even when you had no idea you’d need it. So in a way, it feels like preparedness is part of my DNA, even if it isn’t my identity.
After the Y2K scare came and went, I got complacent and I really stopped paying attention to preparedness in a meaningful way, and didn’t really start taking is seriously again until about 2008 or so. The big story of 2008 was the Great Recession of course, which didn’t effect me directly as I was too poor to own a home anyway, but it DID effect my employer at the time, which put the fear of the unknown into me and got me started with ” what will we do if I lose my job?” scenarios.
One thing led to another and I ended up going down a deep, dark rabbit hole regarding preparedness and survival. It became a bit of a hobby I guess you’d say, with me spending lots of time on various websites and forums, trying to learn everything I could about surviving “The End Of The World As We Know It” or TEOTWAWKI, and I’ll tell you, it was enlightening to say the least.
From around 2010 or so, the ” preparedness space” online just exploded! Podcasts, websites, forums, news aggregates with a preparedness slant, YouTube channels, a mountain of books in the topic, “prepping” was everywhere! Even mainstream TV got into the act with “Doomsday Preppers”, which honestly probably did more to damage the idea of preparing more than anything, but the fact that a mainstream media outlet would sink money into such a show just goes to show you how popular the topic had become.
But then a weird thing happened back in 2016. We got ourselves a new President and suddenly folks didn’t seem so worried about TEOTWAWKI. Ok, that’s not entirely true, a ton of people thought his election would be then end of us all, I guess they just weren’t of the preparedness mindset to start with. But I digress…
Anyhow, by 2018 or so, the online preparedness space had been decimated due to lack of interest according to several friends and acquaintances that I knew in that space. Many of the websites I used to follow either quit altogether or they just petered out over a year. The main forum I was on from 2009 til that time had far less interaction and started getting stale and boring. My YouTube feed starting having considerably fewer videos about preparedness. It was as if everyone thought “the danger” (whatever that was to them) was over and done with.
By 2020 the focus had become covid, shortly followed by the “insurrection” (don’t get me started on that load of bovine excrement!) and so on. People were focused on censorship and government over reach and again, the economy. But still, you didn’t hear much about preparedness, other than toilet paper, hand sanitizer and face masks. Oh, and baby formula.
But now here we are in Q2 2023 and suddenly the world of preparedness has once again exploded! A bunch of old faces are showing up again, along with a number of new faces.
Now, I’m not complaining. I think it’s useful and important. What’s disconcerting is there seems to be a touch of urgency bordering on desperation, which is different from the preparedness landscape in days gone by.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand it. In fact I’ve been shoring up my weak spots over the last 2 years. This latest prepper-mania has somewhat confirmed my bias toward preparedness.
I could be wrong, but it certainly feels like something wicked this way comes. And clearly I’m not the only one.
Give it some thinkin’. If everything went sideways tomorrow, can you eat? How about a week from now? Do you have cash on hand in case the banking system blows a gasket and your plastic cards don’t work? Do you have a water supply in the event your municipal supply goes offline? Medicines?
If the last two decades have taught me anything, it’s that relying on others, especially in a dire situation, is something best avoided. You are your own first responder, your own emergency service, your own responsibility. Act accordingly.
I’m still struggling to stop the carousel of disbelief in my head, trying to make sense of where “civilization” is headed. At my core I’m an optimist, but WOW! It’s like the world has collectively lost it’s mind…
I’ve been a little quiet lately and “off my game”, feeling out of sorts and spending a lot of energy just trying not to get sucked into the vortex of darkness and doom…
It’s nothing I can put my finger on. It’s the overwhelming sense of being pummeled with bad news, destruction, lies and sheer madness. I cannot continue to believe what we see around us (and what /they/ continue to justify, excuse or simply bury if the other two options aren’t viable) is due to ineptitude. It’s too much, too often, too coincidental. But if it’s NOT ineptitude, what does THAT mean? Honestly, I can’t wrap my head around what is going on in the world right now. It appears to be a race to the bottom, and the good ol’ USA is leading the pack!
I made a promise to myself when I started this blog that I wouldn’t let it go down the path of doom and gloom, that I’d do my best to keep things positive or at least neutral. Since lately I didn’t think I could do that, I’ve simply been keeping my big yap shut. That being said, I figured I’d just share a few memes that struck a chord with me lately.
I’ll be back before long. Just gotta get out of my head for a bit (or maybe get fitted for a tin foil hat!?!). A book review is in the works, concerts on the horizon and other assorted stuff. No travel ’til Autumn due to tightly squeezed budgets, but it is almost surfing “season”, so if nothing else some beach time is right around the corner.
In the meantime, focus on food, water, shelter, medicinal needs, and a means of protection. The LAST thing anybody needs is to become reliant on this Clown Show commonly known as “government”. They do NOT have your best interests at heart. That is YOUR job.
Keep your chins up folks, sanity certainly MUST return at some point…
This morning has me facing a big reality check in my ability to deal with “unforeseen circumstances”. In short, I’m beating myself up pretty good this morning.
As I write this, we’re at about 30 hours without power. I realize that for some of you, this is nothing. For us, it is extremely unusual. I’ve lived within a 25 mile radius of where I am now my entire life and to the best of my recollection we’ve never gone more than 24 hours without power. Outages are usually resolved within 12 hours, most in less than 8. So yes, we’ve historically been a little spoiled.
But that was then… Our utilities company (Pacific Gas & Electric) has been really dropping the ball the last couple years. One of my colleagues that lives close by, but in a more rural section, has routinely gone without power for 4-5 day stretches half a dozen times a year since 2019.
Around 5:00am today – 27 hours into the failure we got an update from the Utilities stating the “expected” restoration is by 10pm TOMORROW. This is unprecedented in our area. We’ve lived in the same apartment for 16 years and have never, ever gone 3 days without power.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been a big believer in preparedness since my days as a Boy Scout back in the 70’s and 80’s. Emergency preparedness has been part of my job for the last 20+ years. I’ve been an active member of my Town’s Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), I’ve trained with County Fire Depts. in two different counties, and done FEMA emergency response training. In short, I know this stuff, and have a knack for imagining a “worst case” for any scenario.
I’ve spent years and countless dollars preparing for emergencies and this minor blip caught me with my pants down…
Don’t get me wrong. We’re not suffering or in any kind of danger, but I have never felt so unprepared in my life.
I’ll start at the beginning…
When I woke up Tuesday morning, I just went to the gym expecting that by the time I got home the power would be back on, but stopped off at a 7-11 on the way home to get coffee for the Mrs. and I, just in case. Which turned out to be a good thing, ‘cuz the power was still out when I got home.
I showered and dressed for work by battery operated lantern and got ready for a day at the office. The Mrs. happened to have the day off and was going to be home, so before I left I pulled out our “solar generator” and hooked up the TV and our modem so she wouldn’t be bored and also have the capability to recharge her phone if necessary. I left for work fully expecting the power would come back on at some point during the day. So far, so good.
By mid-afternoon, still no power and no update from PG&E on restoration. By this time, we’re getting concerned about the food in the fridge and freezer.
I left work a little early so I could stop by our mini-storage unit and pick up our “big” cooler, then detoured to the nearest Quickie-mart and grabbed 20 lbs. of ice.
I got home to find the Mrs. had distributed candles throughout the apartment and had a couple battery lanterns running as well. She’d turned the solar generator off to conserve energy – it was down to about 70% capacity by that time.
I got busy loading the contents of the fridge into the cooler, only to discover we only had cooler capacity for about 2/3 of the refer, using 2 coolers and an insulated cooler bag. Not good.
The freezer was packed pretty solid, so it acted as sort of a cold-battery. Everything was still pretty much frozen solid, but I hooked it up the to generator for a couple hours to recharge the cold, and put the small insulated bag into the fridge for extra insulation.
After all that, I ran up the road where they had power for some takeout tacos and burritos. Then we unplugged the fridge, and hooked up the modem and TV, watched a little TV for a distraction and then got ready for bed.
Again, I was expecting a resolution overnight. Turned out to be wishful thinking.
I got up this morning and went to make some coffee. First problem, I cannot find (in the dark) our kettle. We ordinarily use an electric kettle, but I bought a “camping” kettle for situations such as this. Well, I couldn’t find the darn thing anywhere. (FAIL!) No worries, says I, I’ll just boil the water in a regular pot. Now for the stove. I purchsed a single burner propane stove for emergencies several years ago. Nice little unit, never had to use it. I’ve got a dozen bottles of propane for it, which I found immediately, but again could NOT, for the life of me, find the stove. (FAIL!) No worries, says I, I’ll just grab the Esbit stove out of the go-bag. So I went to the wife’s go bag, and NO DANG STOVE!! (FAIL!) I know I got one for her, and was sure I put it in there, but I emptied the bag and it was not to be found. Then I had to dig out my go-bag, and turned one up.
I set up the stove, put the pot of water on and let it start heating. Unbeknownst to me, this little stove would NOT bring the water to a boil. Why was it unbeknownst to me? ‘Cuz I never trained with it! (FAIL!) I got impatient after the second fuel tab, and made the coffee (in a French press) with water that maxed out at 161 degrees. It wasn’t gross, but it wasn’t good either.
Another shower and shave by lantern light, then thought I should run the fridge a bit more before I left. At this point the generator is down to 12%. I was able to run the unit for about 30 minutes and then it died out at 0%.
Now I’m back at work, thinking about all the food that will likely be spoiled by the time the power comes back on.
So, a lot of lessons learned here.
I had a good solar generator BUT I had only one extension cord to plug things into it. (FAIL!)
Once the battery was dead, I had no way to recharge it since there is NO sun for the solar panels. (FAIL!)
I had a little backup battery for charging cell phones, but I’d let it die by not keeping it on the charger, so it was useless. Using that for charging phones could’ve given us a little more capacity on the generator. (FAIL!)
I wasted time and added stress looking for the propane stove, which I never found. (FAIL!)
We were both having issues with our cell phones – they were barely working without wifi. We realized we no longer have an old fashioned “land line phone”. We have the line, we just didn’t replace the last phone when it broke. And the last one was a cordless phone, which needs electricity so it wouldn’t have served us well anyway. (FAIL!)
Our “big” cooler is wholly insufficient for emergencies. Way too small. It’s fine for cookouts or weekend camping trips, not preserving the contents of a whole fridge/freezer. (FAIL!)
Also, it occurred to me that had the power been out at our storage place, I wouldn’t have been able to get to our cooler at all…
Having go-bags is GREAT, but clearly just throwing stuff into a backpack without a clear inventory is a rookie move. (FAIL!)
Having a bunch of emergency supplies is also great, but having said supplies so disorganized you can’t find what you need, when you need it, is plain dumb. (FAIL!)
We did have a couple fortunate things, our hot water is still working and we had heat in the apartment. That was especially lucky, as our furnace hasn’t worked for about 3 years, and we just got a new one a few days before Christmas. Up til then we were relying on electric heat. We’d have been sunk if that were still the case…
All things considered, this has just been embarrassing. But I have learned a great deal from this excersize and can guarantee that the next time will NOT be like this.
Most importantly I’ve learned there is a HUGE difference between “knowing” and “doing”. I know a lot about survival and preparedness but I’ve never really had to put that knowledge to the test before. Now that I have, at best a very kind instructor might give me a C-. Test your gear folks. You don’t want the first time use to be during an emergency situation, trust me on this one.
The year 2022 will go down in my personal history as the worst year ever, and I’m glad to see it go!
Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun moments this year. I made some improvements in certain aspects of my life, and I got to hit the road a lot and do some traveling, so the year wasn’t entirely without some silver linings.
BUT! I’ve been sick more this year than in the previous decade COMBINED, which completely wrecked the excersize regime I worked so hard to establish in ’20 & ’21. Lacking the consistency at the gym led to a really lackluster year for surfing. Not surfing really did a number on my mental health. The decline in mental health made my job all that much more difficult to tolerate and made my productivity in both my “side hustle” and general “around the house choring stuff” fall off a cliff. And to top it all off, I’m starting to feel the old, familiar financial squeeze that I (fortunately) haven’t had to deal with since I started this job nearly 5 years ago. I also lost a dear friend this year, completely unexpectedly. I could go on, and really get down in the muck, but this blog isn’t really about spewing bitterness, so I’ll stop right there.
So yeah, I haven’t exactly had a banner year…
But instead of bitching and moaning about what a craptastic year ’22 has been, I will review the good stuff that happened and the good stuff I’m looking forward to in 2023.
First, as I mentioned, this was a great year for travel. Aside from all the local stuff, we hit Hawaii, Los Angeles, Napa and Oregon this year. And all those trips were great. Tons of fun, no bad vibes, nothing negative happened on any of those adventures. Who knows what ’23 will bring, but I DO know that a trip back to Oregon is already in the planning stages for late Winter/early Spring.
This was a big year for music too. Not only did we get out to a bunch of shows (most of which were FANTASTIC!), but I also started getting my groove back – both figuratively AND literally – spending a lot more time at the drum kit than in the previous years. Thankfully the drums help fill the void left by the lack of surfing. It’s not the same certainly, but both activities put me in that Zen mind space, which is something I found myself in desperate need of this year.
I’ve also had a bit of a regrouping with some old friends this year. I don’t know if it’s an age thing, or a general sense-of-mortality thing in this post-Plague era, but I’ve been back in touch with a lot of old friends this year, which has been pretty cool. It also helped take the sting out of the passing of my other friend…
This blog has been one of my highlights as well. I just jumped into it without much of a plan or direction, but I’ve found that it’s been a great outlet for me, which has helped me keep some equilibrium mentally and given me an opportunity to work with the written word again after a decade’s worth of slacking; another bonus in the positive mental health arena! I’m coming up on a year now of writing here and I think I’ll keep at it, simply because I’m enjoying it. Much to my surprise I passed 500 visitors a short while ago. I never expected that considering I have no “presence” on the ‘net to publicize this page, and I’ve only told 3 or 4 people about it. I realize that’s a tiny, miniscule number in the grand scheme of things, but considering my circle of people is very, very small it feels like I’ve talked to a whole bunch of new people this year and made a few new friends, which I can appreciate.
Looking forward into 2023 I see some good things on the horizon – of course I say that with the caveat that the “powers that be” running this psycho-circus don’t A) bankrupt us, B) starve us, C) make us all glow in the dark or D) all of the above…
I’ve got a few different music projects starting to heat up, which is super exciting for me.
More travel to places I’ve never been are on the itinerary. Getting back into the swing of things at the gym is another good thing I’m making happen. And I’ll keep plugging away here – more comcert, book and product reviews, more musical flashbacks, and hopefully continued improvement of my writing overall.
And lastly, a potential new business venture that could be a “game changer” for me and put me on a whole new path.
Will all of this actually happen? Who can say? I can’t predict the future any better than any of you can. But what I DO know is that without plans, drive and a sprinkle of good luck, we all just stay in the same spot, wallowing in misery.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve had more than enough misery over the last few years. It’s time to really start living again!
Thanks for stopping by and reading. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2023!!
Keep this in mind when you’re facing lunatic drivers, overly congested parking lots and long lines that move at a snail’s pace…
The last few years have been so weird that it seems like people are going out of their way to make up for lost time the Christmas, which I can understand. But becoming a stressed out mess in an effort to “get back to normal” is defeating the true purpose and meaning of Christmas.
Take a breath. Relax. Love your loved ones. Enjoy your time together if you’re lucky enough to have someone to spend the holiday with.
And most importantly, be nice to your fellow humans. Everyone I know could use a dose or two of kindness bestowed upon them, it’s been a rough year.