Starbucks Cold Brew No Classic With Cream 2 Splenda

4pm @Starbacks, Guess Rd.  – I thought I’d get away from Hipsterville for my attempt at laptop productivity. But fuck Starbucks. I’m spoiled by Hipsterville coffee. I was confused when I was asked if I wanted cream and how many sweeteners. I do that shit myself. I want control over the creaminess and sweetness of my beverage. I’m used to that. Now I’m stuck with a $4 beverage I am not enjoying, and it’s been a waste of brain energy to consider the pros and cons of calling Starbucks on their “if you’re not happy with your drink” pledge. As misanthropic as I feel, I don’t have it in me to tell someone that the beverage they prepared for me sucks, and they should make it again. I don’t do that. I’ll return items that have been pre-manufactured. I’ve taken to returning half-consumed frozen foods to Costco. But when I see people doing jobs I would never last a day at (essentially, any service job), I am loathe to (just stone me for even using that expression) make a complaint.

Of course, not everyone is as thin-skinned as I am. Were I to complain about this coffee-flavored piss they call “cold brew”, I would do it very politely, probably in the upper five or ten percentile of politeness for beverage complaints.

In the end, I’ll eat or drink anything. It’s a beverage. It’s neither cold nor even presented in a manner that implies some craftsmanship of brewing. I wanted my mason jar, not the mega-plastic cup that screams overwhelmingly with mainstream global consumerism. (Stream-of-consciousness writing leads to a lot of poorly constructed, poorly expressed, flat-out bad writing. I’m immune to the fear of exposing my inadequacies right now. Who knows why I’m choosing right now at this place and time to break a long hiatus from writing in here. Actually, I know, but that’s an explanation I probably won’t provide today).

So…back to…mason jars….I long for the iced coffee of Bean Traders in South Durham. But I didn’t want to drive down there. It’s crowded. I’m likely to run into someone, and one never knows if it’s going to be someone I want to run into or someone whose mere presence overwhelms me with post-apocalyptic despair. There’s no one to run into here in North Durham. Well, that’s not entirely true. If I wanted to go somewhere and be sure not to run into anyone I know, I could go to one of the I-85 McDonald’s. The internet at these can be pretty good and the seating and noise-level actually conducive to work. And if I did run into someone, we’d bond instantly over our shared secret of McDonald’s being an awesome place to get work done. Ok, way off topic now. (And what exactly is the topic at hand today, Dave? Because I don’t think it was going to be mason jars).

For the record, I love Joe Van Gogh and Bean Traders, and I’m just not hipster enough for Cocoa Cinnamon, though I’ve got some new sunglasses and record beard growth that might make me look just obnoxious enough to blend in. (Oh, I love the beverages, and I’m sure most people are quite lovely. I’m just going through a trust issue with people right now, nothing personal. True, the trust issue has lasted a few decades, but I still think it’s just a phase.)

(More parenthetical asides. (There’s another phrase that triggers the thought, “I just used that expression.) Writing this was just interrupted by my attempt to link in that Starbucks image. There’s no quick, easy way to take a photo on my phone and get it somewhere such that it’s immediately embedded in this post I’m composing on my laptop. That’s annoying. Almost as annoying as hearing the tinny voice coming from the mobile phone of the guy next to me. I’m so very easily distracted, and that’s a topic for another day…)

Seriously, where was I, and was my original intent here? Alas, I don’t think there was one. I think it was just to get a post up here, and, with that, perhaps some momentum to doing this regularly, even if this communication with the world isn’t bidirectional.

So, this cold brew? Really, lukewarm sweet coffee piss is the best description my unread mind can come up with. I don’t see myself coming back here. But I suppose a venue of this size that’s mostly empty near downtown wouldn’t last. (A moment of silence for Intrepid).

It’s probably time to click on Publish. I’m starting to feel anxiety bubble up, and that anxiety is going to tell me to click on Save Draft and never look at it again.

(I did just save this, and the WordPress app pops up a message saying something to the effect of, “Great! Keep on goin’!” I hate, hate, hate when web apps try to be cute with their messages. Google started it. Now all web developers like to try to be clever with their error and confirmation messages. Just say “post saved” and be done. But the error messages are worse. You’ve just had your whole day ruined by a crashed web app, and you see, “Oops! Oh, no 😦 we’re so sorry! :-(” instead of “We rushed out this build and have no QA. If there’s a better app to do this, you should use it. But there’s not, and this is free. Hahaha. Joke’s on you for relying on a free web app!”)

I’ve got a million more of those tangential thoughts. And pet pictures. Why am I not blogging pet photos every hour on the hour?


The fear of giving voice

Today I had I’ve had two disturbing internet experiences, by which, I mean, I came upon two stories that paralyzed me. By which, I mean, I had powerful emotional reactions to them and desperately wanted to take action, but I couldn’t do anything. I could easily state what the gists of those stories are, but that would be besides the point I’m getting at.

General gists. In one case, a satirical website managed to offend my sensibilities for perhaps the first time. I found its post sickeningly disturbing. They cross the bounds of good taste all the time, and I usually an quite entertained. Not this time. I was going to post a comment but saw that those who found the post amusing were a despicable lot. I couldn’t bring myself to wade into the muck, but I stared at the muck for far too long.

In the other case, a friend posted a link to a commentary that was sickeningly disturbing, in both its content and because it was so spot-on. To me, this was eye-opening and the epitome of the type of content you might feel compelled to share because you’re sure a lot of people haven’t thought about it. But I did nothing other than sit ostracized for 15 minutes. I think I felt ashamed knowing that I’d simply be sharing a link and doing nothing else. I’m great at expressing outrage but doing nothing to make the world a better place.

The point is, I’m hypersensitive to everything going on around me, I think it would be useful to give voice to at least a small percentage of the feelings that stir and spin and careen out of control, but I don’t do it.

I shall write

I was on the receiving end of a blast email from entrepeneur and Iron Yard investor John Saddington encouraging the list to blog. I had been inspired by John before when I first began at the Iron Yard in June and he encouraged the cohort to write. I adopted this Bull City Dave moniker and decided I’d be bold and transfer the old blog here, despite the obvious risks. As the summer went on, I found it difficult to reconcile being authentic and writing regularly. It was a rough summer, for a lot of reasons, some of which I could have attempted to write about publicly and others that just would not have been appropriate to write about. Heck, I received some secondhand feedback that my tone in job interviews and networking schmooze events would trend negative just long enough to counter the enthusiasm and positivity I might have initially projected. Or, I speculate, these people actually looked me up later and read some of what I’ve written, and that’s what countered what I truly believe were, overall, far more positive self-presentations than I’ve been capable of in the past. Whatever the exact truth is, I’m well-aware that authenticity is a big risk. My theory is that my mixed success in attracting people is a combination of my own difficulties projecting a greater degree of self-confidence and other people’s problem exposing their own vulnerability. How dare I say what I really think about topic X when they’ve been taught to and religiously practiced avoiding such topics in professional. I’ll try to be clear that I’m not referring to topics that should be taboo in professional informational interviews–politics, sex, religion, etc. I’m referring to topics such as what truly interests you in your career and what’s sucked the life out of you. And I don’t mean being insulting or disrespectful when touching on negatives. I’m unfulfilled when I am desparate to build and create things, and I’m left watching the work outsourced and having to be the one to assign out that work and later correct it. Anyway, I’m rambling, which I’m going to do if I take up writing again. This was meant to be an introduction.


I’m using, for the first time, John’s Desk app for O.S X, which I was relucutant to pony up the $30 for, and there’s no trial version, but, after reading his post today, I recalled how anxious I was to try this a few months back and that I do trust that I’ll enjoy the experience of writing. And I really do. Apple did give a Best App of 2014 award. Writing within the bloated WordPress website can add stress to the writing process. Desk is crisp and clean, and I feel like a writer. (Not that I am; and I ought to stop saying things like that.)

Anyway, it’s 4:14 in the afternoon on a day off, and I am overwhelmed with the number of things I want to accomplish. One of those things was getting some blogging in, and I’ve done that now, though I haven’t gotten to any actual content.


Indeed, I even interrupted by little recap of thig blog. So, I was apprehensive about blogging anything all that personal. Posts were sporadic. Coding problems. Pet posts. Meta-blogging posts. Top 379 posts. Years ago, with the pseudonym-authored blog, I’d blog several times a day. I miss that. I miss not having much of a filter. I suppose, back then, the blog wasn’t associated with my name, and even if it was, I had bigger problems, like being a dialysis. I had so many days when I just didn’t give a shit.


Yeah, so, even before the move to Bull City Dave, my blog had withered. I wasn’t writing, and there were so many topics worthy of writing about. (Not that one needs to find “worthy” topics. Someone who feels the need to write should just write).


I’m going to rattle off some topics that I’ve failed to adequately expound on over the past couple of years. That’s not a promise to write about them now, just an acknowledgement that blog posts are always churning and just never leaving my mind.


Improv – It’s been over 2 years now. Still taking classes yet no idea where it’s going and, to be quite blunt, I don’t think I’m very good at it at all. And I didn’t intend to actually write a blurb about these topics that I very quickly wanted to list, so let’s move on.

Running – I started taking improv classes in 2012. 2013 was the year I started running. And stopped running. I felt good at the end of 2013 that I was slowly geting myself into shape. And then 2014 was the year (like all the years prior to 2013) that I sat on my ass. It’s terrible, really. It’s always been so difficult for me to find any exercise regimen I could stick with. I have no 2015 plan as of now.

Kidney health– Ah, the missing element from my career story. “I did something very specialized for a long time but could never get out of it and do something else.” Or something like that, my story goes, when I tell someone how I arrived at The Iron Yard and my front end development career. I leave out the whole health-gradually-deteroriating, two years on dialysis, subsequent kidney transplant and nephrectomies that ate up years and years in which just surviving was all I could handle. And how’s my kidney health now? Good. 3 1/2 years post-transplant and 2 years post-second-nephrectomy, my one kidney is doing quite well. But, like I said, I haven’t done any exercise for a year, so I’ve treated my new body badly, and I’m not happy about this.

Pets – Yeah, I post pics and videos of my pets and a blurb when a pet dies. But I wish I had taken the time to write about what it’s like to mourn the loss of an old pet. What it’s like to adopt a pit bull mix. What it’s like to take in foster cats. What it’s like to have this life that revolves around pets. What it’s like when you’re very aware that you sound ridiculous talking about your pets, particularly when virtually everyone else has actual human children who are, I’ve heard, somewhat more challenging to take care of than cats and dogs. There’s real stuff to write about there. I wish I did more of that.

[I really hope that Desk autosaves, because I’m just typing, and while it feels good to run my fingers through the keys and see thoughts transferred to the screen, I actually do want this out there. Well, I hit Save; not sure if I needed to or not.]

The music site – “The music site”? What, am I embarrassed to even mention it by name? Yeah, I am. Top 379. I’ll cringe thinking about it, feel like it’s a poor representation of who I am, that it’s a silly project, that the lack of actual coding behind it is embarrassing and I ought not share it, and then I persist in updating it now and then. Because I hate the idea of quitting something. It’s a countdown. By definition, it is finite and should end at some point. It was supposed to end sometime in early 2013, but I didn’t stick with it. Because it’s ridiculous. And I no longer want to be known as that guy who listens to horrible music and has such limited horizons. But then I do go on the site, and I hear some very cheesy song from 20 years ago, and I think, “I do love this shit.”

The pet profile site – I’m not embarrassed to use the name. But it is the trademark of a Chinese company that makes pet strollers, so I should change it. I have a couple of an ideas. But I have far more to say about the site.

Front end web development – I have far more to say about this, overall. I wish I had been logging every programming challenge I’ve encountered and how I resolved it. I’m curious to observe my evolution and not afraid of exposing my shortcomings. Ok, somewhat afraid.


This is sufficient for now. I’m not going to read back over what I’ve just written. I’m not going to proofread. My brain doesn’t always do the best job of getting the correct words done, and some errors are downright baffling to me when I read things back. But I’ll leave this unedited and get it up there.


Some unfocused metablogging

The era of metablogging is deadApparently, metablogging has been dead for a decade. I hadn’t even started a public blog yet, a decade ago. I came across that image because I thought it was important to determine, once and for all, if I should be writing metablogging or meta-blogging. I’ll go with the former. A metablogging I also just came across this an 11-year-old post that outlines the following person blog categories: the introvert blog, the extrovert blog, the job blog, the specialist blog, and the advocacy blog. Guess which one I am?

One of the striking aspects of this genre is the author’s denigration of himself…

Even the author of that posts says one shouldn’t take those categories and definitions too seriously. I do have to wonder if I’d better off without this blog, or, at least, if I weren’t publicizing it. If you’re reading this, and you’re not arriving from Facebook, then you’ve seen a link on my public Twitter feed, which I link to from my website, which, itself, also links to this blog. “I have a blog, here it is.” I suppose my ideal workflow goes something like this:

var x = whatIWillThink(dave,afterReadingBlog);
if ((x.indexOf("creative") > -1) || (x.indexOf("brave") > -1) || (x.indexOf("funny") > -1)) {
console.log("Read Dave's blog");
else {
console.log("Maybe don't read Dave's blog");

I spent way too long coming up with that. I don’t want to care what you think, but, because I haven’t filtered what I’ve carried over from years ago or even the recent past, you could easily stumble upon entry #WXYZ, and that presents me in the worst possible light. And you may be thinking about hiring me. I tell myself that authenticity is valuable to me, but, perhaps, I go too far.

Perhaps, what’s worse is my unfocused metablogging in itself.

I wish I could write about what it’s like to be looking for a job right now, but I think that crosses a line. I wish I could write about what it’s like to wonder if I have a severe case of impostor syndrome or simply don’t know very much, but that crosses a line. I wish I could write about how there are three to five areas I should learn as much as I can about but have been more focused on implementing fixes and enhancements on my pet project that use technologies that don’t seem to be in demand.

I’m proud of myself. I dug in deep to figure out how to generate image thumbnails so that pages load in two seconds instead of twenty. But is that worth anything to anyone else? Again, I actually shouldn’t care.

I should change the subject.

Moksha vines. I keep recording lots of them.

I Still Can’t Sleep

5:12AM. Not good at all. I don’t know if I actually slept tonight. I presumed that the combination of having taking an intense acting workshop over the weekend and consuming some carbs (Kroger kettle popcorn which has been sitting around since pre-low-carbing began in October) late into the evening would ensure I’d get some sleep. Nope.

So…I changed the theme again to something with panels, with some navigation. The WordPress TwentyFourteen theme. So unimaginative. After years of bastardizing/customizing themes to demonstrate that I still had the ability to “code”, I’m done with that. Truly learning MySQL/PHP never happened. The Top 379 site was supposed to be my learning platform. Never came to be. Spent too much time researching where a song landed in the Japan-Osaka pop charts to fix a lousy layout and add basic functionality I had meant to implement.

Intense acting workshop? Meisner Intensive. Wow, Dave…improv, acting? Yeah, trying. That’s all I say. Sorry, J.

Today, I mentioned to a couple of people that I had a blog, which I haven’t done in ages, since there’s been no real content in awhile, and I’ve always been apprehensive about pointing people to do it. It’s one thing to throw links onto Facebook and have no idea who’s looking at it. It’s another to tell someone face-to-face that I have a blog, and it’s this.

And then I always get especially self-conscious that someone is going to visit this site for the first time. And I feel the need, more than usual, to offer up caveats and prefaces…

This isn’t real writing. I’m self-aware enough to know this. It’s stream-of-consciousness (except when it is an actual attempt, of sorts, at composition, but let’s just pretend it’s all stream-of-consciousness so the bar is set low.) As I said to someone today, I don’t read, so I’ll never really learn how to write. Though, the doing itself is better than the not doing. How fucking profound. What a revelation I’ve just had. (I think I need to join the study group for those who are searching for a sarcasm font. Then again, it loses the intended impact if I have to point out the sarcasm, right?)

What was I saying? Something about caveats…yeah…my extemporaneous writing is often so coherent…kind of like my improvising!

Let me put an end to this before it drags on for too long. Just metablogging until I’m ready to tackle an actual topic.

I shall offer up my spellbinding insights to the world

I’ve had insomnia for a couple of months now, and the usual solutions aren’t helping. I’m not writing to discuss my sleep woes. Any writing I do, for now, is purely experimental. I’d like to figure out how to write publicly. I was blogging and setting up web profiles at the Beginning, but I always used pseudonyms. When people started becoming comfortable carving out an internet persona that used their actual name, I didn’t get it. This was, perhaps, about five years ago, but it’s the norm now. People regularly post Twitter and Facebook comments with their actual name attached. Concern for repercussions is minimal. I’ve always written here about how I wouldn’t want to blog with my name unless my employment situation were stable for the long-term. I can’t risk anymore than I already do the possibility that very personal blog entries raise red flags and cause someone not to hire me in a scenario where I am either desperate for a job or have found some dream job. I can’t risk it…except…

At this point, I’ve had this strategy for about seven years. My thoughts, and there certainly have been far fewer of them on here over the last couple of years, did not belong to Dave S. They belonged to “Toastie”. I think I do have a lot of worthwhile things to say. Everyone thinks that, I know. But I do, and it’s a shame that I’m so afraid.

I have lots of witty and insightful observations about the world every day that go to…waste. I ought to have a real Twitter account. I should be participating in the global conversation, because I have things to say. At some point, well, with the invention of Twitter…what is it? six years ago, eight years ago? It’s birthday was celebrated recently. I don’t care to look it up. Anyway, everyone f*in person in the world (and f*in shall be my shorthand for another word, and I realize use of that word demonstrates my limited vocabulary) thinks their constant musings have some meaning. In most cases, these people have actual friends who are reading their “musings”. Why do I call them musings–I’m being quite generous. Anyway, I do have a Twitter account with my name that I set up a couple of years ago. I haven’t used it.

I never make public Facebook posts. Rarely do I make a public Facebook comment. Why not? I’ve used this “privacy” excuse for a few years now. If I am capable of being tactful in my public comments, there’s not a good reason for me to hide. 99% of what’s posted out there is unintelligible trash. Yup, I’m a snob. Garbage. Idiotic. (Yes, “idiot” is a derogatory word. Again, I need to expand my vocabulary). So I’m doing the world a disservice by not offering my spellbinding insights.

I constantly compare myself to the smartest and most accomplished people I meet, and those I don’t meet but make presumptions about. I constantly do this, and it constantly makes me feel like shit. I’m always working on this. How I break out of this is not the point of my bringing it up. I bring this up because I’m so afraid to take public stands on anything because I am too aware of my the shortcomings of my knowledge. Who am I to weigh in when I know I’m not fully-informed? Well, I’m like ALMOST everyone else.

Ok, where is this going? It doesn’t have to go anywhere. I’m just typing. Just getting thoughts down, which feels pretty great, actually. I write in a private journal all the time, and these thoughts have been going into a void for quite awhile. For reasons of basic common sense, this, whatever this is…will it even be “Toastiest” in a week or two or three months from now…not going to substitute for my private journal.

So…still meta-blogging. No real topic at hand.

Thoughts on my dog Herman’s death? Not right now.

Grad school? Not right now.

Improv? I never write about improv.

So many topics…so many thoughts…swirling about all the time, but never landing anywhere. Perhaps they’ll start landing “here” again. We’ll see.

Let’s see if I can get six hours of sleep. That will an impressive feat.

One of the reasons I’m reluctant to write this is because I don’t want comments with suggestions on “how” I should get more sleep or deal with problem X. I’m not looking for advice. I don’t know if I want any feedback at all. Honestly…and you can take offense if you want…I won’t lie and say “don’t take offense”…most of the comments I get when I offer up anything serious in either here or in a Facebook post are not particularly helpful, and by that, they’re not even supportive. The intention may be to support me, but there is usually a tone-deafness to what my main point was. Someone seizes upon an off-hand remark I make in the course of my stream-of-consciousness that is beside the point. So please keep this in mind. The only thing worse than not expressing yourself is expressing yourself and not being understood.

Ok, I’m really done for tonight.

Toastiest Exists

For what purpose, I know not. I keep a private journal, and I was tired of the same default WordPress theme, which I had been staring at for a couple of years. So I switched to this minimalist Syntax theme. Even though I spent a lot of time over the years working on customizing my own themes, this is not an activity I have much of an interest in doing going work.

I do have an interest in free-form writing. I have the same privacy concerns as always. I’ll never be able to decouple my name from this blog because of a couple of links that are out there, and my feelings on that change from time to time.

It would have been nice to have chronicled this grad school experience.

Thoughts on my endless career purgatory.

Thoughts on all of my endless purgatories.

Thought on the life and death of my beloved puppy. Who doesn’t at least blog about that? Me. For now.

So…nothing to say, but the blog still exists. And I haven’t censored anything from the last 10 years, so there’s still plenty of brutally raw stuff out there if you go back beyond the last couple of years of mostly pet and music posts. Not that I’m inviting anyone to look or presuming that anyone would look.

Blogging blitz

Herman 2012.12.09

Even though I have not followed through on any sort of blogging renaissance, I think will undertake the task of blogging today to break up the monotony of house clean-up. “Clean-up” is not really an apt term. It’s more like get-house-chaos-level-one-peg-lower.

I have only this one full day for get-house-chaos-level-one-peg-lower and then small bits of Monday and Tuesday, before I head to the hospital Wednesday for the nephrectomy and, then, presumably, many weeks of being unable to do anything about the house chaos level.

My kidney pain subsided last weekend and was gone for a week, but it’s back today, likely a result of trying to push my bed six inches the other day. Large polycystic kidneys don’t enjoy being stretched by heavy lifting.

If I do follow through on some more blogging today, possible posts may include:
– New storm door!
– New back door!
– 15-year-old kitten pics of Aremid and Zellouisa!
– Recent pics of Mr. Featherbottom!
– More about the nephrectomy!
– Space heaters
– Potpourri for $200

Just blog

What would happen if I just blogged without worry, with a minimal filter, with an eye on simply releasing stress into the ether? I’ve done that before, sure. But I’ve never made a commitment to doing that. Why not? Why not just go for it?

I don’t know where I’d start, frankly. There’s too much.

There are hundreds of times of day that I’m aware of how differently I perceive the world. At least, I perceive that I perceive the world differently than most. How do I own that? I don’t know.

One theme I wish I could more openly explore would be “what I don’t know.” The vast number of things I don’t know swarms me like bees, stinging me all the time. Does anyone else go through their day…their days…feeling such a sense of inferiority… This is a rhetorical question.

I’m not focused enough right now to compose a proper entry. Just some rambling as I regain my blogging footing…or just blog without having any footing.


I don’t know what to do with this blog. I took it offline for nearly a month. One reader pointed this out to me. Of course, he doesn’t get on Facebook, so he missed out on the dozens of posts I’ve made there. You know, you COULD “do Facebook”. Or I suppose I could make the effort to share those posts via email. Google Plus actually makes it easy to do that with their posting interface. Too bad I don’t bother using Google Plus.

Some people reading this who are on Facebook may not have seen the dozens of posts I’ve made on Facebook recently. I created a political filter on there, and I didn’t want to bombard everyone with my posts. If you wished I had included you, sorry. If you wished I had excluded you, sorry. I have 90 entries tagged “election 2008”. I only tagged 6 entries with “election 2012”. I think I generally haven’t wanted to direct traffic to this blog. And, again, I don’t know what to do with this blog.

I still resent that, a couple of years ago, someone had stuck my full name in the same sentence as this blog name. Even if I asked her to edit the page, it’s too late, since the content of that blog has been copied to all sorts of bot sites. I don’t know what percentage of the content here is such that I wouldn’t mind it being associated with my name. 50%? 75%? But I certainly don’t want to go through the thousands of posts to determine what I want to be private. And, again, it doesn’t matter anyway…everything is cached and archived somewhere.

Ok…I’m sitting here on the couch and spending way too much of Sunday morning typing this.

I would’ve gotten this back up sooner, but I had tried to implement a different WordPress theme. I had really liked it. There wasn’t anything I really cared to configure. Unfortunately, it would only show excerpts on the main page. The theme creator had a supposed fix, but it resulted in skipped entries. It was one of those themes with lots of custom code where there aren’t just simple core WordPress files to modify. This current theme is like that, too, and I hate it. But I don’t want to spend time picking a new theme. I just want the option to dump content on here again. So I’m back to the same theme. For some reason, have the styling is gone even though, in theory, it should look exactly the same. Whatever.

I really haven’t said ANYTHING in this entry.

The blog is back. I’m ambivalent. I’m less than ambivalent.