Wednesday, December 31, 2008

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Whatever.....

New Year's Eve, and here I am at work once again. No great surprise, really. Not that I'm gonna complain about it either. NYE has just become one of those days that doesn't really register on my list of important things anymore. Part of that has to be the fact that I don't drink anymore, and can only tolerate drunk people in small amounts. Another factor would be the fact that I'm old. No two ways about it. I'd rather stay home and watch reruns of Dirty Jobs than wind up puking in the gutter somewhere.


But on the whole topic of NYE, I got to thinking about what would constitute a stereotypical NYE party. Then I started going through the memory files trying to see if I had anything that matched up to that ideal party idea. The first thing I noticed is that overall, memories of NYE are somewhat sparse, even from the sober years. But there are a couple that stick in the brain for one reason or another.


One was from what I think would have been the post high school, pre college years, somewhere between '88 and '90. May have been as late as '91, but I don't think so. Mr Crow was my cohort at the time, and the scene of the event was Mr Voros' recently deceased grandmother's house. We were in the basement, which had a pool table and a rudimentary bar, as I recall. I must admit that having some surviving pictures of this event has helped me prop up what would be otherwise shaky recall. Ken Mangold was there and so was Gary, whose last name I can't recall at the moment. This was when Chris was dating that girl from St. Louis, and she was there along with her sister, I think. There was some other guy that I have absolutely no recollection of who may have been a friend of Chris' girlfriend. I remember a big pan of what was basically lemonade and vodka, I think. Someone called it 'sip, strip, and go naked'. I started off playing bartender. Which I enjoyed doing because it kept me close to the alcohol, which of course I drank way, way, way too much of. This resulted in me falling down a lot, and finally getting carted off to an upstairs room, where I was supposed to stay to sleep off my alcohol induced stupor. I somehow made it back downstairs and continued to make an ass of myself. Ah, memories....


Another NYE that I can recall, and have a picture or two of (maybe), found me in Chicago. Once again, I was in the company of Mr Voros, along with Morgan, and Stan. There was another guy whose name I can't remember, and somewhere along the line was a redhead that may have been named Penny. What made this one memorable, up to a point, was being at this bar named Iggy's that had open bar till midnight. Cue the heavy drinker. Yet another evening I can be proud of....


There are other holidayish parties that I can remember bits and pieces of, but none that really stand out as being NYE. Most all of them involve me drinking way too much. It also would appear that after I quit drinking, not only did NYE stop being an event, I slowly stopped getting invited to events related to NYE. Not really a huge loss, I guess. In the end, I suppose that NYE just ends up being another day for me. Which reminds me, I need to get some new calendars for the downstairs. I may also be saved from having to play nice with the neighbors tonight by way of Pinklady having had a massive migraine last night that she is still trying to recover from.


Anyway, hope you all have a fun NYE, and don't forget to share your stories and pics.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

100% Gluten Free!

Well, today at work is sure a change from yesterday. At least so far. Got my tiny little ass run over six ways from Wednesday yesterday. The capper for the evening was having to section four toes from someone's left foot so we could set cultures. I didn't want to end my day with dicing up toes. Not that it would be a great way to start the day, but fishing a big toe out of a cup so you can slice it up is just not a good way to close out your work day.

This week between Christmas and New Year's can be so unpredictable as far as business goes. And with the weather going all over the place, it makes it even harder to say what's gonna happen. I thought for a second there that strep/flu/RSV season had started in earnest, but it doesn't seem that that's the case now. Still getting them, just not at the insane rate we have over the past few winters.

Got asked if I wanted to work New Year's Day today. That would be another day of time and a half, plus shift diff. Tempting for the split second that I didn't remember the fight I had this past weekend with Pinklady regarding holidays and my work schedule. If I thought I could get away with working Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day, I would be gravely mistaken. So, I had to give that one a pass. As it is I'm glad I looked at the schedule today, because I didn't realize that I was supposed to be in at 1400 tomorrow. At least that mostly insures that I'll be out at 2230 and can go put in an apppearance at the neighbor's party. Oh. Boy. Will. That. Be. Fun. Whoo. Hoo.

Aside from the getting a blog entry in today, my morning was pretty much a waste of time, not counting playing goalie while the dogs got their nails cut. Even though I had the whole house to myself, which doesn't happen much anymore, I still didn't do anything notable. Unless you're impressed by the video game playing abilities of a 38 year old. I did manage to find out when I have to have the donation tiki done, and ignored a boatload of strange requests on Facebook. Beyond that, I sat on my ass. There is a small part of me that worries that the medium low energy level I am currently experiencing is a symptom of a need for an increased medication level. That would make the fourth straight year that I've had to increase my dosage to keep from crawling under a rock.


**I still have gifts to wrap and deliver. Some of which could be yours.

**Shoes are ridiculously expensive.

**Gotta call Cromag in the next couple of days and see how the office move went.

**By the time Pinklady goes back to work, it is highly likely that she will not have accomplished any degree of her goal for the past week.

**They're biscotti. They're supposed to be that hard. That's what the espresso is for.

**I should pick up a couple packs of floor tiles so I have replacements handy.

**She likes Nerds. Freakin adorable.

**I need to shampoo the peanut butter residue out of the carpet tomorrow. And the blood.

2008 In Review, and Other Stuff

  1. Operation:8 Shelf-A great idea, or so I thought at the start of this year. It actually worked for a couple of months, and then just fell flat. Of course, I didn't do a whole lot to keep it going, either. The concept was, as I recall, an attempt to get a group people together to play games on a regular basis. Part of the genesis of this was the fact that I continue to add to my game collection, but still have a number that I haven't ever played. The name derived from the 8 shelves of games that are on display in the main room downstairs. I really should try to revive this one this year. I think I had also attached a dollar amount per game played that I was going to donate to TAILS at the end of the year. Since that would add up to be some ridiculously small amount, I think I can cover it with the tiki I'm donating to the auction at Tropical TAILS.
  2. Home Improvements-Done this past year was the downstairs and upstairs hall bathroom remodels, the front door replacement, the cladding on the foundation, the painting of the house, and the new furnace. Good to have that much done, bad to be sitting on top of the home equity loan that we got to finance the whole mess. If we can get that paid down, up next would be the master bath and the water heater. Then maybe some skylights in the living room.
  3. Off the Meds, and Back Again-As usual, I made a try at getting off the pills in the summer. Thought I actually had a run at it until I dropped off the charts really early in the fall this year. So, I started taking the damn things again. Holding steady at the same dosage from last year, which is good in my opinion. I just hate the thought the thing that I am most known for seems to be having mechanical issues.
  4. Class of '88-20 years later, and I summed this up to Nikki by saying it was exactly what I expected, and not at all what I wanted it to be. I had no real reason for what I was thinking it would be, except for a mega-gargantuan batch of wishful thinking. Instead I got a huge pop in the head from reality.
  5. Tails Donation-I have until the actual day of the event to put whatever finishing touches I want to on the carving, as they really don't have anywhere to store it. Rather than put it on the back burner, I'm going to try and get it done this week. The sanding is already done, so up next would be the conditioning and staining. I think I managed to strike a decent balance between sanding as much of the really rough surfaces off as I needed to without removing all the tool marks. So now there are no splintery parts, and it looks just roughly/crudely done to really cool looking. Can't wait to see how much it goes for at auction. I'll get some pics up of this soon.
  6. Project: No Mas-This went well for a couple of weeks, then the wheels fell off. More like they exploded off in some nuclear style fireball. This is another one I should resurrect for the new year.
  7. Studio For One-At last I have managed to get all my stuff mostly in one place. I evicted Pinklady from the room, laid some new flooring, and viola! a studio space for me. It's a nice place to retreat to.
  8. Bookless-This was a really off year for me as far as books went. I just didn't do a whole lot of reading. Starting to amend that, though. The pile of owned but unread books is starting to decrease for the first time in quite a while.
  9. "Silence of the Lambs"-This was one that has been in my stacks for a while. I was really looking forward to reading it as my general experience with books that get turned into movies is that the book is usually much better (ie Christine). I didn't get that with this book. I remember that when I picked it up it seemed a bit thin, physically, that is. Fairly large print, and not a huge number of pages. I was a tad apprehensive. Then I read it. I ended up disappointed, slightly. The movie was almost lifted verbatim from the book, with a minimal number of deviations. The additional insight into the workings of Hannibal Lechter's mind that I was hoping to find just weren't there. Of course, that does keep him in that category of mysterious evil that makes him all that more creepy. I also have to give a huge tip of the hat to Anthony Hopkins and everybody else who brought this book to life and actually added something to it in the process. I guess this is ones of those exceptions that proves the rule.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow White and Sky Grey



I think it would be safe to say that there is more snow on the ground here currently than there has been at any given time in any winter in recent memory. It was here, oooh, aaah, now it can go away. The holidays are within about 8 hours of being over, so the whole white Christmas thing can go jump. Actually, I think there's a chance for thunderstorms in the forecast for this weekend. So, in one period of seven days, we will have gone from a -35 degree wind chill to upper 40's and thunderstorms. And, as a concession to my upcoming advance into middle age, we did our part to help stimulate the economy and finally gave in and purchased a snowblower. So now, part of me wants to make sure I get my money's worth of this investment by getting a lot of use out of it, and another part of me wants to never have to use it again. Ever.

I am currently waiting to hear back from someone at TAILS to see if they want to accept one of my tikis as a donation for their Tropical TAILS fundraiser. Be interesting to see how much it would go for, and it would also help thin my collection out by just the tiniest bit.

**Spore is putting too large a dent in my studio time.
**When I don't have cereal for breakfast, I tend to forget to take my meds.
**For a little light holiday reading this year, my choice is "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris.
**The padlock on my locker at work decided to die today.
**The glasses are for reading only. And the left eye is the bad one. They're both nice to look at, though.
**How challenging is a Muse meant to be? And, is it possible to be inspired in Peoria?
**Dimples survived her final! Yay!
**It is ridiculously, dangerously, freakishly, unnaturally cold outside (Sunday). Or, you could see it as a very minimal preview of what may happen when all of the energy present in the universe is expended and the temperature of all that remains is hovering just above absolute zero.
**Will rates go below 5% again? I can only hope.
**Here's hoping the lights are back on in IN.
**I think the whole 'short arms' excuse is fairly lame, with only the tiniest footing in reality. I mean really, who hasn't heard of a mirror?
**Good to finally hear from Dhawk. Glad it wasn't a flare, and hope you feel better soon.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho-Now Make It Go!

I have discovered that one of the things that grates on my nerves most during the 'holiday season' is Christmas carols/songs. Mind you, it's not really the actual song itself, but the fact that you hear the same 2 dozen or so songs from August thru mid-January in an endless repeating loop. It's almost like having a CD stuck in your player that you can't remove. Ever. And if you dare comment on it in any way other than the positive, be ready for the public at large to rip you a new one. And then fill it with a festive holiday display. I don't really want to hear Barry Manilow singing 'Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer'. Ever. And I do mean ever. The original song is OK to hear once, maybe twice a year. The first time you kinda catch it in the middle and then you start tuning in to whatever song is playing cause you want to hear that one specific song again. And within a very short amount of time, you will no doubt hear it again. And that's enough. You've heard it, and you're done. In small doses like that it can be quite amusing and even fairly festive. By the time your hear it the 473rd time, you are praying that someone will shove a knitting needle through your skull to make it stop. Even back when the 'holiday season' started the day after Thanksgiving, by the time Christmas rolled around I was pretty much ready for a change of music. But it seemed that not even the appearance of a brand new calendar year was enough to make it go away. Even now I rarely listen to the same CD more than twice in a row. I have something like 200 hours of music stored on my computer, and I get cranky when I hear the same song twice in a week when I'm listening to a random shuffle playlist. I just don't want to hear Clay Aiken's rendition of the Spanish version of Van Halen's take on the Indian remix of 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. IT'S THE SAME DAMN SONG!!!! I don't care whose Christmas album it is, I really don't want to hear it. If it's actually a new composition, you're more likely to get me to listen, but realistically, by the time Halloween has come and gone, I've had my fill of Christmas music. Now, if you'll excuse me, I feel the need to partake of some Nine Inch Nails.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brrrr....

While Christmas lights do all their twinklage,
And snowflakes come down in a sprinklage,
I realize that my kilt
May not quite be built
To protect me from cold weather shrinkage
.

What? No Fruitcake??

It's Wednesday. The supposed midpoint of the week. Since I have to work on weekends (again, supposed) I've discovered that whole context doesn't really have any great meaning for me. All I know is that I'm off tomorrow, and just about every form of precipitation known to man is supposed to start coming down in the afternoon. I've got to take Reka to the vet in the morning, and as soon as I'm done with that, it's off to the folk's house for the holiday celebration. If I had my way, I'd just hole up in the studio for the day. I'm getting the impression that's just not gonna happen.

'Paula IV' has been completed, and as usual, I'm not completely satisfied with it, which means that 'Paula V' (and beyond) will soon be in the works. I also have a notion that I want to work on courtesy of Dhawk, and another couple from Bluegirl that need some attention. I found another piece that I had done in one of my other sketch pads that I think I like enough to get framed. Of course, I need to get it mounted first. I have also been toying with the notion of sending '623' out to Jeweltiger, but I'm not sure I really want to do that. Also still working on doing clean up carving and sanding on a tiki from the past with the notion of donating it to the TAILS auction, which is coming up in February. I suppose it would be a good idea to first contact them and even see if it's something they'd be interested in having in their auction. Aside from it fitting in with the tropical theme, I don't know what they'll think of it. Which reminds me that I need to go get more 60 grit sandpaper. And put gas in my car. I think we need ice melter, too.

Got another blood donation in the books today. I'm still not sure if I'm working on gallon number three or gallon number four. Either way, it'll be a year and a half or less before I find out for sure.I really can't see how the girl in the screening area can get away with having those long, fake nails, but that's not for me to say. And for those of you who may be wondering, a tetanus shot is not cause for an automatic deferral.

My shoulder and neck are still somewhat messed up, even after two sessions with Pinklady. Today is definitely better than yesterday, but range of motion is still a little limited. I will only grudgingly acknowledge that a potential contributor to this problem was the somewhat excessive amount of time I spent on the computer this past weekend.

**$99 for two tickets to see Blue Man Group?? How cool is that? Now, who could I go with?

**What will come of Jeweltiger's 'project'?? I must admit to a high degree of curiosity regarding that potential outcome.

**Spamalot is returning to Chicago! I'll have to investigate ticket prices for that one.

**Dhawk has gone completely off the radar again, leaving me somewhat worried about how she's doing.

**A book returned, and lots of eye candy given from Lady Justice this past Saturday. Bluegirl contributed a ridiculously large box of candy candy that is still riding around in the back of my car.

**I find myself leaning more and more towards removing the aquarium in favor of building a bar for the tiki lounge.

**Having made my way through several sections of the train station without collecting a single soul, I now find myself stuck. And irritated. And low on chaingun ammo.

**Here's hoping Dimples kicks some ass on her stats final!

**Sutures can be removed with a pair of tweezers and a properly sharpened chisel.

**Saw some things today that I thought the Princess Cowgirl might like. Almost picked up a couple of them. Maybe in a day or so.

**It's really hard to mail something to someone when you don't know their address (you 2 know who you are....).

**Almost time to go break the mega-ginourmous-chocolate bar we get here in the lab every year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm Freakin Freezing, Mr. Bigglesworth....

I hate the cold. It's supposed to get up into the 40's this weekend, but the wind chill today is sub-zero. When you go outside, it's like someone shoving hundreds of pins through your clothes when the wind hits you. I have discovered that I can tolerate (please note the rather intentional use of the word 'tolerate') being hungry, lonely, horny, injured, and medicated. The cold is about the only thing I can't take. So, before I headed out the door for work today, I once again donned my insulated overalls. And I don't freakin care what anyone thinks. They can all just continue to scurry as fast as they can from their car to the door and back again. I will continue to be warm. Or, at least as warm as I can be here in the frozen armpit of Hell.
Goodbye, Bettie...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A little bristle action

The pack of Chinese brushes I picked up at Michael's a while ago are crappy. Or maybe not. I suppose it would be better said that they don't quite perform the way I had hoped they would. The smallest one in the bunch is still to big for doing the interior detail work on the piece I'm working on currently (the 4th incarnation of the piece inspired by Jaws). It worked well enough to do the big fill on the outside edges, but when wet it has a split tip, which I don't care for. Makes me glad I kept and cleaned that other self-contained ink pen. At least it has a nice tight tip.
Still not sure what the palette for this piece is going to be. Not entirely sure I'm gonna care for the form, but it looks interesting enough now that I'm at least gonna put some color down and see how it looks. Reds and blues, mostly. May have to get back into the tempera for this one.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That's Not Good.....

There is an old addage that goes something along the lines of "let sleeping dogs lie". I would like to add a more obvious and yet unstated part to this saying: "don't reach in between fighting dogs". I could have made use of this nugget of info yesterday night. I had taken a break from studio time (this may have been the primary mistake) to go upstairs and spend at least a little time with Pinklady, lest she become overly cranky. So, there I was sitting on the couch, watching the news and playing a bit with Gracie. Reka was to my left, down at the end of the couch. Now, she was trying to sleep and wasn't taking to kindly to Gracie bumping and banging her way past as we played with the turtle, and let her displeasure be known with her usual low growl. And just like usually, we ignored her and continued playing.

Somehow, I got interested in what was on the TV and stopped paying attention to the interaction between Gracie and Reka. When I noticed what was going on between them, they were in a very alert staring match, practically nose to nose. Almost instantaneuosly, Reka barked at Gracie, and Gracie grabbed Reka's ear. This, of course, caused Reka to make some very unpleasant sounds. That was when my big dose of Stupid kicked in.

I reached across Reka's face to try and get her ear out of Gracie's mouth at exactly the same time she made a grab for her own mouthful of Gracie. Instead, she got the inside of my right wrist. I instantly forgot about the dogs and clutched at my damaged wrist. Then came the blood. Quite quickly. And in a surprising amount.

Now, as a side note for those of you who may not be overly familiar with the particular details of my anatomy, I offer this general description. I am not well insulated. Bones and tendons and the like are quite visible in most parts of my body. My hands and forearms are, for lack of a better descrition, very veiny. Almost to the point of being somewhat freakish in appearance. Bear that in mind as you continue onward.

I jumped up and ran to the kitchen where I stood over the sink and had that moment where I knew I had to look, but really didn't want to, given the amount of blood that had already seeped through my fingers. But I let go and was rewarded with a rapid fire patter of blood drops into the white sink. At this point my head got a little swimmy. I grabbed my wrist again while the room seemed to make a half turn around me. More blood squished between my fingers as I heard Pinklady call from the other room, "Are you all right?? Do we need to take you to the ER??" I looked at the dinner plate sized puddle in the bottom of the sink and and replied simply, "We need to go".

Everything in the room did another half loop when Pinklady came rushing into the kitchen, saw the mess in the sink, and started saying, "ohmygodohmygodohmygod" at a near frantic pace. She began corralling all the animals in to separate rooms wile I stood over the sink with a towel wrapped around my wrist while trying to keep her from going completely off the deep end. The whole time, visions of vascular repair surgery kept dancing around in my head. I made sure I could wiggle all my fingers and could feel everything, and tried to point this out to Pinklady as a good thing as she draped my coat around my shoulders, but I think she was a bit put off by the bloody towel I had clamped around my wrist.

The car ride to the hospital was thankfully short, as it had gotten somewhat icy outside. Pinklady kept looking at me and saying, "you look pale". I really wasn't too surprised at that.
The wait to be seen in the ER wasn't too long, and I discovered that the bleeding had actually stopped when I had to show one of the triage people what had happened. That did nothing to change the fact that I looked like an extra from some horror movie. And people kept saying that I looked pale. After the waiting came the cleaning, the shot, the antibiotic, and ONE SINGLE STITCH. I was almost insulted. One stitch. That's all it took to close up the hole. It was just a lucky grab on Reka's part that she managed to hit, and puncture, the vein. But, for as small as the vein is, there is obviously A LOT of blood that moves through there on a regular basis.

Now I have a sore shoulder from the tetanus booster, a wrist wrapped with Co-flex, and a single stitch protruding from a developing bruise like some bizarre lone whisker. Not to mention that the ER people said they'd have to report the bite to Animal Control, and Pinklady thinks they're gonna break down the doors in the middle of the night and take Reka away.

In short, the moral of the story: don't reach around the snappy, bitey part of the dog should you need to separate one from another.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12/7 Haiku

Losing my focus
A nap would be really nice
Six hours left to go

Trash or treasure?

Tropical TAILS is coming up in a couple of months, and I need to decide not only if I want to go, but if I want to donate something for the silent auction. I seem to remember this crossing my mind last year as well. It also seems to have left my mind as quickly as it entered. In any event, I need to make a few decisions. If I wanted to donate some tikis for the auction (since it is a tropical themed event), I'd have to go through my collection and decide which ones I wouldn't mind getting rid of. Of course, the ones I'd be most likely to let go of would also be the ones that aren't the greatest to start with. And, the object of donating something to a charitable event would be to help them raise money, not to help me clean out my project closet. On the other hand, it would help me clear out some space. I just had the thought that I could carve down the fangs in the first big pine tiki I did and let that one go. Could also get rid of a couple of the smaller pieces I've done. Or, I could keep all my stuff and just give them money instead.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12/6 Haiku 2

Another icy night
Frosted windows need scraping
Breath makes rolling clouds

12/6 Haiku

I hate the winter
Endless layers of clothing
Still, I get a chill

Just Saturday

**Woke up to find more snow on the ground. Wasn't expecting that. Not sure why I wasn't expecting it, I just wasn't. Not that I had bothered to watch the forecast or anything. So we got a touch more of that dry, poofy blowing snow. Just enough that I did have to go out and make an effort at clearing the driveway. Was fortunate enough to have the neighbor blow out the end of the driveway where it meets the street. Of course, it also seems that she went all the way down the sidewalk to who knows where with the snowblower. Not that I minded.

**Good luck to Jeweltiger in getting the snot out of her head.

**Left my phone at home sitting on the charger. Not really a functional problem as much as it is an annoyance. Not like tonight is gonna be the night that I get a text from the Spanish Women's Gymnastics team saying that they had a mass wardrobe malfunction and they need my help.

**Brought way too much stuff to do tonight that isn't work related. Not like I don't have things I need to get done here, it's just that I really don't want to be doing any of it. At least since I came in at 2 today, I get to head out at 1030. It also seems kinda stupid to be all worked up about the things I didn't do while I had the day off yesterday. Odd thing is that I actually think I got all the stuff done that I set out to do at the start of the day. With the exception of getting some epoxy and going to the game store. It could also be argued that I spent a minimal amount of time on art, and only slightly more on reading. Barely managed to get a nap in, too.

**Got one of those 'I'm out shopping RIGHT NOW, so what do you want for Cristmas' calls today. I hate those. Mostly because I don't usually have an answer for the person who's calling. That almost always ends up meaning one thing: gift certificates.

**"Wanted":A gimmicky, one-trick, attempt-to-make-violence-into-art kind of movie. I wasn't terribly interested in seeing it, but Pinklady decided she wanted to. The jerky quick/slow POV camera work got her somewhat motion sick by the middle third of the movie. I had gotten bored to the point where I was just hoping something other than another exploding head would happen. The overall impact of the movie was something like Office Space meets Reservoir Dogs. Forget about curving the bullet, just curve yourself away from this DVD when you see it in the rental store. MALE SPOILER ALERT: There is only one very, very, very brief shot of Angelina's mostly bare, wet butt (and nothing else) in the whole movie.

**Dhawk must be living in the vicinity of a black hole in order to account her her rather odd perception of time that has left me with not even the vaguest clue of what was under the black.

**Dammit!! I just caught myself looking at the clock and counting the hours till I'm done. Not a good thing, as it isn't even 4 yet....

**Some 4 legged occupant of the house decided that the new leaf on my banana plant must be rally tasty. Luckily for them, that occupant's identity remains unknown.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Counting Down....

I know I shouldn't do it. I know that when I start looking at the clock and trying to figure out when I'll be done for the day, that's when the clock will stop moving. But I was already looking at the clock at four this afternoon. Now, I've got 3.5 hours to go, and I could very well be climbing the walls by the time I swipe out tonight. It also seems that the lab is being slowly swamped by cyclical waves of 'This shift didn't do x, y, and z and that shift didn't do a, b, and c'. Back to acting like kindergardners.

I'd really like to be working on the new line inspired by Jaws. The ink is laid for the first sketch, I got some of the lines in for the second, and I have some ideas in the running for the third. Also realized an oddly consistent visual element that I hadn't thought of before. I'm thinking of doing an impasto technique should I end up taking one of these to paint.

Maybe I'll go to the game store tomorrow and see if anything pops out at me as potential gift material.

Definitely going to replay the 'Snowy Bridge' level of Painkiller. Just a few too many one way areas to be able to go back after you clear eveything and find all the hidden areas. Not too mention that I think I'm missing two of those areas. Could be just one. I know there is one holy item I haven't found yet, and what seems to be a crapload of gold stashed somewhere.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What, ho? An idea?!

Jaws seems to have unwittingly provided me with the seed of an idea that seems to be stuck in the old brain pan. I've already laid some graphite of the first version, but at the moment, the palatte is eluding me. I was going to work in the general tones of the crystal violet, but after asking, I find that blues are the preferred color. Interesting. Very interesting.

Got a little more snow down today, and it seems that people decided to not drive around and randomly smash into each other. At least that's my take on the situation given the lack of trauma patients in the ED. Cold and very windy should make clearing the driveway less than fun, too.

Once again, it seems the triple play of meds, exercise, and vitamins is helping me move in the right general direction. May be time to head back to the pool. Shame that Kittyluv can't join me.

Watching the snow whip by the window makes me realize how loudly that hot tub in AZ is calling my name.

Dammit, what the hell do you people want for freakin Chrismas!?!?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Broken?

I feel like I may be on my way out of the Doldrums. Maybe. Right now, it's somewhat hard to say since I have a persistent lingering visual headache that seems to be a holdout from the game of Painkiller that I was playing earlier. That left me feeling vaguely nauseous. I'm also really tired, which is no great surprise. Guess I'l have to see how I feel in the morning in order to be able to decide if this little spell is over, or is just winding up to hit me again a little harder. I'm hoping for the former and not the latter. The way this whole thing feels like it almost snapped while I was at work does make me wonder if I was in the process of coming down with something, which then just had a synergistic effect with the downer. To early to call yet, I think.

Pink and teal for Jeweltiger tonight. Not bad at all.

From the looks of things, I can only hope that Jaws continues to spill crystal violet all over the place.

No holiday list exists outside of my brain, and very little of one even exists there.

Tuesday's List

A good night's sleep: needed
A sunny day: helpful
Fatigue: pervasive
A brisk 30 minute walk: helpful
Watching a documentary on Hitler's bunker: not helpful
Concern from friends: appreciated
Being busy at work: distracting
Creativity: unengaged
A good book: enjoyable
Pinklady hovering and fretting: expected, but not helpful
Sense of impending, overwhelming inertia: massive
Appetite: minimal

Monday, December 1, 2008

Crap Monday

This has not been a good couple of days. All I feel like doing is staying in bed, which is not a good sign. It's not the restful, 'I have a day off and I'm not getting out of bed' kinda thing, it's more like an 'I don't have the energy to be interested in functioning' kinda thing. Nothing even sounds remotely engaging, and work is looming on the horizon, which will make for a looong day. I could just crawl under the desk right now and go to sleep. I'm starting to pace and pull at my hair again, and even naked time seems like way too much effort. Hopefully this will pass. Otherwise, it won't be long before winter becomes intolerable.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Progress Report

Just a few update pictures, since my resolve to be more consistent with my postings seems to have gone right out the window. If you can't tell, they're in sequential order from top to bottom.

Beyond that, we seem to be getting our first sticking snow of the season right now. If I heard right, it's supposed to continue through the night till around noon tomorrow. I also may have heard between 5 and 8 inches, but I'll believe it when I see it. Or, better yet, I'll believe it when I shovel it.

It's good to have heard about the two fuzzy new additions to Kittyluv's household. Should make things quite a bit more interesting.

It was also good to have a nice long chat with Cromag the other day. It didn't do much to alleviate my nerves regarding his heating situation. I can understand how expensive it is to replace a furnace, really I can, but the idea of trying to get through an IL winter just using space heaters doesn't seem like a good idea. Having been witness to, and a participant in, a mobile home fire, the whole thing makes me really really nervous. Since I'm not a HVAC contractor though, I guess the best I can do is hope the weather stays mild.

The return of Tigerjewel has been an interesting disruption to the everyday routine around here. It's interesting how little some things change.

Bluegirl seems to have vanished.

Here's hoping that the flare didn't quite manage to get a hold of Dhawk.

Another leaf is starting to unfurl on my banana plant, bringing the grand total to five.

I have no idea who I should be buying gifts for, and within that context, I have no idea what to buy. Have I bothered to mention that I'm not really that fond of the holidays?

Found several pieces of osage orange (hedge) wood when I took the last of the leaves (at least the ones I'm going to rake) over to the dump site. Couldn't quite believe the luck of finding it just laying there on the ground. There were at least six pieces that were nice and straight, with no knots or forks, each about 18" long and ranging from 6-12" in diameter. And freshly cut, to boot. So, it should be fairly easy to carve as long as I get to it before it dries out to much, and then when it does dry out, it'll be rock hard and that gorgeous yellow color. Should be really fun to work with. I wonde if it's something that I can go over to the Hardwood Connection and get more of if I happen to work my way through these pieces quickly. But then again, who am I kidding? I haven't exactly been on fire artistically lately.

Have been contemplating the idea lately of getting rid of the aquarium. I put very little effort into it anymore, and with the downstairs still being a complete mess, I don't spend any time in front of it. The up side, of course, would be that I would then be able to rearrange the space to include a bar. I think I'll have to contemplate this for a while before making a decision.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Resurfacing

The past week I could qualify as not being the best, but was far from horrible. The weather hasn't provided much sun, so that's no great help either. I am also beginning to think that working out isn't really something I can opt out of either. It was just a really blah week, and I didn't work out at all. Maybe if I had I would have been able to have made a better run at things. Seems that bit of physical exertion may have been what helped keep me moving today instead of grinding to a halt like I've been doing all week. One more thing to add to the list of things that I hope will manage to keep me some version of sane this winter.



In the meantime, eight days or so have gone by without me getting anything posted, so I find myself backlogged once again. I think I'll give you the Reader's Digest version of events of late and then try to start over and stay on top of things a bit better.




  1. Added 2 new video games/ways to waste time to my collection: Peggle and Painkiller-Triple Dose. I didn't realize it until a day or so later that they both started with the letter 'P'. Struck me as odd.

  2. 'Pushing Daises' is the 2nd TV show with a unique take on death that I have have fun watching.

  3. 'Leatherheads' was an amusing movie.

  4. Pinklady overloaded the garbage disposal and then the dishwasher made the downstairs drains burp out all sorts of foul nastiness. One $90 dollar visit from the plumber later and all seems to be OK.

  5. The current tiki carving is moving along quite well. Watch for pictures shortly.

  6. I am having the damndest time remembering to take my stupid pills.

  7. Got another new leaf on my banana plant.

  8. Pinklady dragged me out to get my hair cut for the first time in 13 or so years. No more blond tips.

  9. It amazes me how sharp a properly sharpened chisel stays, even after use.

  10. 'Tropic Thunder' was funny, but not that damn funny.
  11. 'War, Inc.' left me confused, but I still like John Cusack.
  12. 100% of people think being unnoticed is worse than being disliked. Watch for another poll as soon as I can come up with a good question.

So, that's the short version of the past week and couple of days. Right now I'm feeling better, and I hope that I mangae to stay that way for a while. Being constantly reminded that I need to come up with lists for the impending holiday could eat away at that positive mood really quick, though. Anyone with good gify ideas for themselves or anyone else should feel free to pass them along, as I am not really doing the greatest in the idea department as of late.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In Print

"Puff" by Bob Flaherty
This is one of my discount bookstore purchases that I've just gotten around to reading. Not only was it a quick and amusing read, it serves as a cautionary tale for those who try to go out after a snowstorm in a ratty old van in an attempt to score some dope. Fortunately, this story has more going for it than being just another 'stoner quest'. It somehow manages to add in Catholic priests, a psychotic cat, a huge knife, and a near frozen Basset hound without so much as a moment's hesitation. Not to mention the sex and death. So go ahead and take a rather strange ride with the Gullivan brothers. You may just get more than you bargained for.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hello? Hello?

A good part of what makes something funny is timing. Another big part of the equation is comprehension by the audience. The entire 'Russian unity' gag lived, and died quite miserably, on those two points. The timing was way off. And that's measuring in a scale of days, not just minutes. The comprehension is much harder to judge. If it was there, ignorance was feigned quite successfully. If it wasn't there, for once I may have been overly subtle (as hard as that is to believe). Either choice ends me up right where I am; with a stinking dead joke. Definitely leaves me trying to work a tough room and not having a lot of luck.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Grey

** Tuesday started poorly for me. Pinklady was up early getting ready for an appointment, so she and the dogs were moving around and making noise, which made it really hard to stay asleep. Even after she left, I had a hard time finding a comfortable position to lay in since my back was bothering me. About 0930 I finally gave up and schlupped out of bed. I crawled into my robe and looked out the window to find another nasty grey day. Sat down in front of the computer and thought about all the things I should do. I should get dressed. I should take my stupid pills. I should eat breakfast. I should make some coffee. I should go walk on the treadmill. I didn't do any of it.


I sat there on the computer for over an hour, just clicking my way around the 'net. Just going from one random thing to another, not really interested in any of it. It was just easier to do that than to do all that other stuff. The whole time though, the thought kept going through my head that I really should be doing those other things. Just before 1100, I finally levered myself up out of the chair and got moving. I shuffled down the hall and got into some workout clothes. Went to the kitchen, took my damn pills, started a pot of coffee, and had some left over H'ween candy for breakfast. Shortly thereafter I was downstairs on the treadmill.


And with that effort, I gained enough momentum to make a decent run at the day. Not great, mind you, but not miserable. And even though I'd like think it was purely my own effort that got me moving, it wasn't. Another prime motivator was not wanting Pinklady to come home and find me laying around. I really didn't want to hear 'Are you taking you pills?' or 'Are you using your lamp?' or 'You know you're really acting like you did last year and it took months to get things under control then.' Even though that may not have been the best motivation I could have had, at least it served the function of getting me to do what I needed to do.


But, the rest of it is still there. Call them signs, symptoms, or indicators. Tendencies would be the nicest way you could put it. No matter, it still points to the recurrence of something I really don't want to admit is happening, yet again. Nor do I want to have to deal with it all winter.


** Seems that in my haste to show off for The Goalkeeper, I failed to remember one of the cardinal rules of puzzle crafting: check it, check it, and check it again. Two errors in construction on my part kept the solution from being achieved neatly. After being informed of the problem and locating and correcting my errors, the correct result was quickly obtained. The reaction to said result was politely neutral. Only in my good dreams would it have been enthusiastically implemented. Only in my bad dreams would it have been cause for legal action. Oh, well. For a short while there, I was amused.


** Dog issues? Go figure that the mostly untrained dogs may be trying to figure out the pecking order for themselves. Or maybe not. i have no idea what the problem could be, or if there even is one to start with. All I know is that Pinklady has told me that there have been 2 separate times when Gracie has grabbed Reka by the scruff of the neck and made her yelp. I'm tending to think that Miss Gracie is way too possessive of Pinklady and may be starting to become intolerant of others getting to close to her. Irregardless, I think Gracie is going to need to get a bit more structure into her life.

**Thanks to the early arrival of the MN crew, and the near fanatical insistence that tradition be maintained at all cost, I am already being hounded for my holiday list. Which is something I don't have. That will simply not go over at all with the gift procurement committee.

** It is taking me damn near forever to resharpen my full size straight chisels. Mostly because I did such a horrid job of it when I was doing it freehand. Now, with the sharpening jig I made, I may still be sharpening them to the wrong angle (somewhere around 25 degrees), but at least they're consistent and straight.
The last carving I did (see the top slideshow below) came out really nice, even after having to refinish the whole thing (due to my own stupidity, grumble grumble). In fact, I do believe that I will be keeping it to add to the collection. Alas, Mr Dawson will be left without for a while longer.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tinfoil Earmuffs

** Been a fairly quiet weekend at work. The weather outside has been for CRAP, which has resulted in massive leaf falls from the trees in back. I doubt there will be a point when the leaves will ever dry out, so I'm betting that most of my day tomorrow will be spent moving huge piles of damp leaves from the back yard to the front. No, not damp. Soaking wet. Not to mention the embedded dog bombs. And slugs. And sticks. I think I'll bring Pinklady along to share my enjoyment. And if I somehow manage to get all those leaves moved, there's still another whole yard full still up in the trees. Just hanging there. Mocking me.
Wonder how much trouble I'd get in if I just put them in a pile and lit them on fire. Mind you, that wouldn't be the easiest thing to do with wet leaves. Still, it would make the task of disposal somewhat fun instead of a steaming pile of sheer drudgery. Alternately, what we used to do when I lived out in the country was good too: we just let the damn things blow away.

** While skulking about on Facebook today, I ran across a picture of someone I knew. Not unusual, mind you , but it caught me off guard for a second. I guess I was in the mindset that I was the only one who had received that particular image. I was apparently wrong. Don't know why I thought that to start with. Just left me with an odd sensation. Disappointment? Maybe. I guess that's what you'd call it when you find out that something you thought was special really isn't. But then again, I have been know to overreact.

** I was not really happy to hear that Get Smart had been made into a movie, even though it went one step further to proving my theory that Hollywood has truly run out of new ideas. Pinklady wanted to see it, and I was entirely unenthused, but, since she was the one going to the video store, that is what she got. The movie was forgettable for the most part. Go figure. But, I have decided that I really enjoy Steve Carrell's acting. That was what made the bulk of the movie palatable. Alan Arkin, too. I also enjoyed his role. Unchallenging, funny in parts, with a great joke about existentialism: if you're looking for any of this, rent this movie. Otherwise, keep your $5.

** The Spawn showed up on my doorstep today. I was not in a particularly charitable mood, but along with Pinklady, we decided to do our good deed for the day. I somehow doubt that it will serve to get me any close to the Actress.

**I can't tell if other people are taking a powder on me or if I'm retreating with the onslaught of the cold weather. MSD, Cromag, The Amazon, Dhawk, and Kittyluv have all fallen off the radar as of late. And my mood of late is such that I am as likely to sit and mope about it as I am to get off my ass and get in contact with them.

** I am currently debating whether or not I should continue on with Facebook. It seems that it is getting cluttered and clogged with all the things that had started to annoy me with Myspace. Keeping in touch with people is starting to come second to sending them little video presents and such. I don't get a lot of traffic there either. It would be one less website to maintain. And there wouldn't be any reason for me to not just do everything from here in an effort to simplify things for me. Maybe, maybe not. Not like my readership here is stellar.

** OK, Gracie has managed to take a spill on the kitchen floor a time or two. That does not mean I'm totally ready to accept the idea that the floor I put in needs to come out in favor of something that has a bit more traction to it. I don't want the dog(s) to get hurt, but I'm also trying to get the outstanding bills paid off before anything else goes wrong. The notion of a $500+ tile job in the kitchen really doesn't do anything for my nerves.

** Kid Rock continues to remind me of Shel, which continues to remind me that she is part of a past, much like my high school days, that doesn't exist anymore. Dammit. That's another one that just makes me want to bang my head repeatedly against the counter.

**The package has been left for the Goalkeeper. All that's left is to see how it goes over.

** At the moment, I have absolutely nothing that I am looking forward to.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

To the Rescue?

It's just bizarre to consider the ways in which I manage to come to the aid of the cute. Not less than an hour ago found me melting a hole in a thumbnail to let out blood that had accumulated after an incident with a car door. Not your typical service, to be sure, but right along the lines of what seems to come my way.

Before You Know It...

** Any and all hints of summer have left the area. All that remains are an endless series of cold, windy, damp, grey days. For like the next six months. As usual, I am really not fond of this situation.

** Must be my year for reunions, as an old floor mate of mine from college popped back into the picture again. Apparently it is also my year to continuously encounter near-rabid Catholics as well.

** A series of texts from Dhawk has left me feeling uncertain about a lot of things.

** After sorting through most all the stuff regarding the reunion, I can only conclude that that period of time is like a blankey that you have when you're a kid. At the time, it seems to be the greatest thing ever, but as you get older, it gets more and more tattered and worn. At some point you end up with nothing left but threads and fuzz that can never be reassembled into anything like it once was.
That just leaves me looking at the piles of stuff I have hung on to over the years and wondering what, if anything, it really means to me. I'm not really sure at all. Very very few of the connections are still in place, and those that are see these things from the past quite differently. So, I really have no idea what to do with all this stuff. I really hate to throw it out after having kept it for all these years, but at the same time, I've come to discover that it doesn't really connect me to anything anymore. Most likely, I'll just lock it all back away until the next event rolls around and I can drag it all out again.

**'Russian unity' not only kept me amused all evening one night this week, it actually prompted me back into doing some puzzle building. The end result was tempered with a bit of disappointment when the intended target failed to appear.

** According to the family plans as they stand thus far, we are on our own for Thanksgiving, and will be having C'mas early. I find myself unaffected either way.

** A new leaf has almost completely unfurled itself on my banana pup. That would tend to make me thing that I hadn't quite managed to kill it completely when I transplanted it. If it keeps on growing, it'll be interesting to see how big it gets before I can replant it outside.

** I've also seen some new growth in the aquarium, but my time spent in that part of the house has been minimal as of late, so I once again find myself behind on upkeep.

** I have once again bowed to continued pressure and started to consume the dreaded meds. Even though I hate having to take them, at the same time I have to acknowledge there is a definite downward trend in my overall mental status lately.

**A poor choice has once again left me doing a ridiculous amount of cleanup work. Rather than go out and get a new container of wood stain, I opted to use some ancient stuff I had sitting in the garage. Not a good idea. I have now spent way too many hours sanding clean a tiki I most likely shouldn't have even bothered to stain in the first place. Mayhap this one will go out with the newly constructed puzzle.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In The Works


The first three steps of a new project (from top to bottom)

1. Concept. I like to use graph paper when I have a specific piece of wood selected. If I'm just doodling without anything specific in mind, I usually just work with proportional units (ie 3x1, or 4x1) that I then just scale up or down to match the size of the wood I'll pick to use.

2. Rough sanding of plank to be used. This one is about11" wide, about20" tall, and 1.75" thick.

3. Rough transfer of design. I usually just use pencil, but I always have trouble with it rubbing off as I work. The solution here: Sharpie.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Denied

CHAPTER THIRTY SIX: The Worst Possible Outcome

In which our hero hears what he really knew all along.

[Sunday, October 5th(?)]

"1990-1991 were apparently more chaotic years than I recall. The timelines still aren't really clear."

"As far as dimples goes, there are times when it would be nice to be a bit less analytical."

"The fear of freedom vs the comfort of the familiar."

"happy vs content vs settled"

** This is the last section of actual writing that occurred at the time surrounding the reunion. By this point my brain was scrambled pretty good, so there wasn't a lot that made a whole lot of sense, even though I knew how it was going to go beforehand.**

* He reunion hadn't ended, but I found myself starting to do my wallflower impersonation. That, and there were conversation groups forming that separated me physically from a couple of the people I wanted to talk to. Got a call from Dimples wondering where Cromag and I were, and that seemed to be a good enough reason for us to say our goodbyes and head out to Peoria. Heights, that is.

Turns out that the place we were going was somewhere I had walked within a block of earlier that same day. Pretty nice place, as bars go. I'd like to go there sometime when the patio was open. And even though there was karoke going on out by the bar, the area we commandeered back by the dart machine was blessedly quiet. We played some darts (Dimples, Cromag, and I) and sat and talked about days gone by. I actually didn't talk a whole lot. Since there was so much I either didn't remember or didn't know, I just sat and listened for the most part. I did get to throw in a few questions of my own, and hopefully clarify my position on some other things. And in the midst of all this, I began to learn a few things.

(1) I was a fairly minimal part of things back in the day. Even in my own life I spent a good amount of time as background noise. It was a fair degree of self-centeredness that made me put myself so high in the pantheon of things.

(2) I was either very fragile or very dangerous. People went out of their way to keep thing from me. While it did not prevent them from doing those said same things, they felt compelled to actively keep them from me. Why? Was I that unstable then? (possibly...) That would have been on the near peak upswing of my drinking days, and no one cared much to be around me when I was drunk. So that could have been a big factor. Not to mention that I was not a nice drunk once I hit a certain point. I lashed out physically and verbally/emotionally at whoever was close. At the time, it was the only way I could access all those really deep emotions of anger, frustration, and way down in there: love.It just wasn't a good way to do it. Ever. Maybe keeping things from me was the best thing they could do to keep me from flying off the handle, yet again. But, man, does it ever sting. Even though I played the 'damaged goods' role to the hilt, it stings. When I learn about stuff that went on while I was on yet another bender, it stings. Then I factor in my own stupidity and I just feel ashamed and embarrassed for having put people through all that crap. The lesson I learned from living at home was that if you're sick/damaged, you get attention. If you're not, you don't. Turns out that was another one that proved to be a really bad lesson. Then there is that part of me, who upon hearing these stories from the past, wonders how the hell I could have not known these things were going on. I do vaguely remember the bracelet/anklet incident from Lums, but didn't ever do anything about it (when I was sober). And maybe this is all over analysis. Maybe everyone was just having fun and didn't feel like sharing. There are also lots of reasons I'll never know. Can finding any more of these vintage skeletons do me any good? Are there any more to be found? Fuckity doo dah. I know the answer, but am totally unwilling to accept it completely. If I flip the question around and try to figure out what it is I get out of discovering this information, I hit another wall. I can't get all righteous and indignant, much as I would like to. There's no point in even trying to do that now. And if I get all wound up about it, then what? I can't change what happened then now, and there was only a really slim change that I could have changed it then. That leads me to this somewhat obvious conclusion: I DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE.

But I really hate that conclusion. It's a global denial of personal responsibility. It's an extreme position of helplessness. 'Oh, I CAN'T do x, y, or z, because THEY (some nebulous force beyond my control) won't let me', which is, for the most part, a bullshit argument. And it really galls me to levels I can't explain when I end up feeling this way about the whole 'Dimples Era'. Truth be known, most of the events played out that way because I put my choices in the hands of others, and then wallowed in self pity when things didn't go my way. And that pisses me off as well.

I doubt that I could have surpassed Wolfboy. I doubt that I could have equalled him on his own field of play, but since I wasn't inclined to try and go in another direction, I lost on that one too. I was basically happy (certain moments excepted) to ride his coattails and enjoy the benefits of hanging out with someone far different from myself. One of the down sides to that was getting a glimpse of things that I probably would have been better off not seeing. And in a case or two, hearing. In the end, he excelled at being able to have whatever it was that I wanted.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Overload

CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE: No Mas....
In which our hero hits his limit.
[Sunday, October 5th(?)]
"Seems that my head feels very full right now. Lots of stuff sloshing around."

The ongoing online dissection of these events bear witness to that fact. What it does not explain is why I developed such a fondness for the words 'seem' and 'seems' in that time span. Or why I feel kinda sad that none of this really panned out. I put little or no effort into maintaining any connections, and I was too naive to be able to see what was really going on. I'm now looking at my teenage fantasy world with slightly more adult eyes, and it's damn sure disappointing. It was probably pretty disappointing then, too, but I was way too lazy to change it. So now I get what I always got, and I don't like it any more now than I did then. Go figure. Inertia is a very powerful force that takes a lot to overcome. I know that. I'm just lazy.

Chameleon

CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR: Do I Know You?
In which our hero just doesn't look right.
[Sunday, October 5th(?)]
"It's good to know that my efforts (1) to reinvent myself have worked. To basically be unrecognizable at both (2) reunions is an interesting accomplishment (3). To be recognized in one case for my eyes (4) and in one case for my lips (5) was interesting."

(1) If you consider aging an 'effort'.

(2) The 10 and 20 year, that is.

(3) Again, not so much an accomplishment as a result of aging.

(4) Always behind the lenses of glasses in high school.

(5) That could be really good, or really bad. I have no idea which it is.

Amnesia

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE: Huh?
In which our hero has plenty of senior moments.
[Sunday, October 5th (?)]
"The novelty of having my memory proved wrong time and time again wore off fairly quickly."

** I think I have made this point abundantly clear. It's just that if I repeat it, perhaps I'll remember it next time. Probably not, thanks to the ol' Teflon brain. I will most likely just charge right on into the next event with a head full of misinformation thinking that I have something in common with a bunch of people that I don't. Even now I don't have a large social circle. OK, it would be better said that I don't have a social circle. That part hasn't changed. I guess I just wanted to have the stereotypical class reunion. But, since my high school years weren't really all that typical, that just wasn't going to happen.

Award

CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: And The Winner Is...
In which our hero has a laugh.
[Sunday, October 5th(?)]
"Probably the best story of the evening was Craig Dawson's 'How I Met My Wife Story'. I know of no one else that met over watermelon. Absolutely fantastic."

** A great story in any social context, to say the least. Apparently she liked the way he sliced watermelon for her. Not only did I get that little gem from Mr. Dawson, I also got a little surprise package from him in the mail. It was a CD of 'Craig Dawson's Greatest Hits'. Fantastic stuff. Not quite the same velocity as PUSA's stuff, but I would very easily put him in the same category of 'joy pop'. I really can't say enough good things about this gem of a CD. Quite inspirational to see what he's done over the arc of (gasp) 20 years. I only hope that what I send him in return is as well received.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homestead

CHAPTER THIRTY ONE: Life at the White House
In which our hero goes back 30 years.
[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]
"200 W Rohman (Roman?). I don't remember much about living there, or even how long it was that I lived there. Unless I've forgotten somewhere, that was where we (1) ended up after moving from Eureka. I have no idea why it was that we left Eureka in the first place. 200 WR was where I was living during the blizzard of 77-78. I had a large snow cave by the driveway (2). I remember having this gold colored toy space gun that shot these neon colored plastic discs (3). I remember that pennies or dimes also worked in it (4). I remember buying Charlie Brown books from one of the neighbor kids and relating way too much to the title character (5). I remember lying to my peers at the time about seeing Star Wars so I could fit in to the group better. I remember having a snap together model of a WWII German tank (6) that I put together and took apart incessantly. I remember the room in the basement that they (7) called a 'bomb shelter'. I remember 'be home by five' before dinner, and 'be home when the street lights come on' after dinner."

(1) The family at the time. I can't remember if Janette had been born yet or not. Maybe it was Jennifer's arrival, or soon to be arrival that prompted the departure from Eureka. If that were the case, the case could be made that the main reason for departing 200 WR was the arrival or imminent arrival of Jeanette. But I don't remember the exact timeline. Go figure.

(2) Or maybe I was a lot smaller and the cave was of no great or impressive size. I want to say that I named it 'Fort Power' or some such thing.

(3) It ended up being the first clip fed, sawed off weapon I ever owned.

(4) But to far less distance and effect. The only advantage of the coins was that they were easier to come by than the discs the gun was meant to shoot.

(5) That would be a good indicator that there was something not quite right with me even at that age. Other kids wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, yet I found a reflection of myself in Charlie Brown. The main difference being my little red haired girl ended up being a blonde.

(6) Or some such armored vehicle. I remember it was molded grey and had tracks.

(7) The parents. Really I think it was a small pantry/storage area or some such thing.


** Much to Cromag's annoyance, I have been adding all sorts of little doodads to my blog page. One thing I've wanted for a while was a way to have some type of music player that I could load with whatever music was in heavy rotation for me at any given time. So I went out and found just such an add-on. Then I discovered something. The program supports MP3 format, which is what I've been encoding anything I bring in from tape or LP as. Turns out that when I rip things from CD, they get encoded as WMA files, which the player does not support. I was not happy, as a tad more than 2/3 my music is in this particular format. I then ventured onto the 'net to find a conversion program by which I could change WMA files to MP3 files. I now have that program, and have to decide how much of my music I want to change. Then, I have to figure out how to use the add-on program, then I have to load it into my blog, then you can be further annoyed by my choice in music.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Patchwork

CHAPTER THIRTY: Fragments Forced Together

In which our hero's train of thought derails.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]

"I guess that the early fall is going to be an oddly appropriate time for me to have made this trip. Just like the leaves that will soon be falling from the trees, it seems that this trip will most likely be when all but the last one or two connections to this place will fall away from me (1)."

"There is still a curious sense of both physical and personal isolation for me here. I'm listening to the wind rustling the corn and looking at how the green of the trees plays against the sky (2). It might be nice to have someone (here) that I could use as a verbal drain for all the stuff wandering around in my head, but luckily I have paper (3)."

"The butterfly effect: The notion that one tiny simple choice , the alteration of one minimal event could have kept me from sitting here at this moment (4). A different result that could have been better, worse, or equally indifferent. Really has no bearing on the fact that I'm here now, but it does provide a fertile field for playing the 'what if' game (5)."

"Is there any real reason I should feel bad about the way things are now (6)? I suppose, but only if I'm still feeling this sense of isolation and disconnect when I get home. Home. Home is not here. I guess this is now just where I used to live. There be no tiki in Metamora."

(1) Nice thought, but thus far it has been far from that easy in practice. I guess that one of the things this trip did was come close to shattering the unrealistic notions of the past that I have been holding on to for so long. Having the disparity of memory versus reality thrust into my face has really and deeply cracked all of those false notion even though I really don't like that. The whole idea of giving up on all those things from the past still makes me uncomfortable even though they are being proven to be valueless. Maybe it's the whole notion of needing to have something. Could also be the fear of having to be present in the present without a bunch of props holding me up.

(2) As much as I really enjoy the pure raw heat of the summer, I think fall may be my favorite season. May be the shifting of the sun lower in the sky but the colors seen to be more vibrant. The cool air is also something I find pleasant. And, of course, there's Halloween. And I have a number of memories regarding pleasant fall wanderings.

(3) Or not, for those of you who may be trying to slog through all this.

(4) For example: although you could conceptually clone Hitler, you could never duplicate all the events that made him who he was in the end. So, even though I could jump into the ol' time travelling DeLorean and go back to the time when I was attempting to date Number One, there are an infinite number of variables that were in play that I could not control. Therefore, no Groundhog Day for me.

(5) Mental masturbation at its finest and most pointless.

(6) I can't remember the context in which I was phrasing this. Not sure if I meant just the whole reunion scenario, or my overall life in general. Either way, I don't think I have a good answer, as usual.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Skewed

CHAPTER TWENTY NINE: Geez. I Really DO Suck....
In which our hero shows more of himself.
[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]
"I am finding no evidence to refute the theory that there is nobody that I had been involved with that hasn't gone on to a vastly more successful relationship (1). That does nothing but encourage me to take efforts to keep all of my memories of Number One in a place quite secure from the intrusion of reality (2)."

(1) Three parts pity party, one part unproven theory. As hold with most things of this ilk, a small nugget of truth is indeed present. I'm not quite sure how to word this , so just stick with me for a moment. There are people I had relationships with in the past. These frequently ended badly because of my high level of idiocy. There are also people I had wanted to be involved in a relationship with who wouldn't touch me because of my high level of idiocy and/or the fact that they had a line on something else. I think that loosely covers the groups of women I still pine over. The disproof of this theory would lie in finding just one example of someone whose relationships had not gone on to something better. And why would I want to find that person? So I could dance around them and say, "You should have stayed with me!! Nyah!! Nyah!! Nyah!!"?That tends to make the statement fairly transparent as a way to get these women I am/was attracted to to say something positive about me. Because, in doing so, I guess I see a tiny bit of hope that I may still have a chance with them after all. A pretty manipulative way to weasel a compliment out of someone and at the same time administer a backhanded ego stroke/threat minimization to the significant other.

(2) The most obvious reason for this is also the one that puts me on the least stable footing. While I look at those memories (wildly inaccurate as they must be) and see the person I was sort of getting to know 20 years ago, the memories she would be looking at would be those of the jerk that I was 20 years ago. My memories are unrealistically slanted towards the positive, but i doubt I could say the same for hers. And that supposition rests heavily on the further assumption that she has any memories of me at all. And backing all of this up is the incorrect thought process whereby we remember the things that support our theories, and forget those that do not. So, I have spent years and years cultivating these memories of these people trying to make them become something that may have only actually been that way for the briefest of moments of their lives. If at all. Talk about chasing after shadows.

** It was an exhausting weekend moving MSD and the Giant to Fort Wayne. I think it will take many months before I find myself willing to consider helping anyone else move.

** "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" Didn't quite manage to live up to the hype in my opinion. It was better than 'Temple', but still not up to the level of 'Raiders' or 'Crusade'.

**I am really liking the thought of doing a rebuild of a classic Rifleman. For some reason I seem to have rotary AC/2s on the brain. A quartet of those could put just over a ton of AP shells way downrange every 10 seconds. To me, that sounds like a good thing.

** Still not sure if my separated banana plant is dead or not. It doesn't look dead, but it shows no signs of growth, either.

** My yellow thumb also extends to the aquarium. So far it seems to be resisting my efforts to revive its plant population. Not sure what to try next.

Location

CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT: Rock In The Park

In which our hero sits in the sun some more.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]

"I'm sitting in a small park on the south side of Metamora. Off to my right and maybe 30 yards away is a pinkish boulder that marks the site of 2 of the Lincoln-Douglas debates that happened in the 1800's. One of the houses where I used to live is abut 3 blocks NW of here. Of course, it bears only a passing resemblance to the way I remember it "WEIBTY" (1). So for the moment, I'm just sitting in the sun and doing some writing (2). Gonna head over and say hello to Steve's folks (3) for a bit, then back to the hotel for a nap maybe (4). Then it will be time to get cleaned up for the event. "WEIBTY" will most likely be the order of the evening, along with a vast sense of disconnect and distance (5). Why am I doing this again (6)? Monte and Jana had the right idea, I'm starting to think (7). "WEIBTY" "

(1) Whaddya Expect, It's Been Twenty Years" This is what the common sense voice kept saying in my head, over and over and over again through the whole weekend.

(2) No, I did a lot of writing. I killed a pen, I wrote so much. There is a slight chance that it died of boredom, though.

(3) This was one of very few points in the weekend that was very much the same. Strange how often dinosaur poo comes up in conversation.

(4) Never got the nap.

(5) Less of the first than I had thought, but slowly increasing levels of the last two throughout the evening.

(6) It was supposed to be a fun weekend away from home. That's not quite how it turned out.

(7) Or, they're just much better adjusted adults than I am. Either way, the end result is the same.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Interlude

CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN: Play It Again, Chris
In which our hero identifies with a lyric
He's the boy with the messy mind
It's hard to find the time to clear it
He's the boy with the broken brain
Not insane but never happy
Sharpen up those fangs
Not insane but never happy

It can be quite tricky when you attach yourself to the words of someone else. They never end up meaning the same thing to anyone else who reads them. For the moment, though, this seems to work.

Revision

CHAPTER TWENTY SIX: Mmmmmmm.......So Many Bits.....
In which our hero gives in.
[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]
"Yes, I broke my promise to not buy any more games this year (1). But Just For Fun games is an incredible game store that would acquire far more of my money if I did live in the Peoria area (2). For those of you who do live in the Peoria area, I would highly recommend that you pay them a visit for all your game related needs (3). They're located on Brandywine Drive right across from the entrance to Northwoods Mall (4). Go there (5). Spend money (6). I command you."

(1) But I promptly remade that promise after paying for my nice new copy of Nexus Ops. It's a really nice game, just ask Trotzkie. You should drop by some time, and we'll play a game or two of it.

(2) Gotta give some thumbs up and down to Cromag here. He was the one who found this place for me, so thumbs up! The dent this store puts in my wallet rates a medium thumbs down. Yes, I could see me spending lots of money there. Good thing it's 2.5 hours away. I would even go so far as to say that it's better than my local game store.

(3) They also have a big stock of jigsaw puzzles and plenty of space to set up and play games. They do also have CCGs (blech), and just about whatever other game you could want.

(4) 4640 N Brandywine Drive, Peoria, IL, 61614 (309) 686-7720

(5) Now! Go now! You're not doing anything better than goofing around on the computer, so go!

(6) Lots. Help keep this little gem in business. I probably could have easily spent $400-500 and not even tried too hard. Mind you, I never would have lived to play any of the games once Pinklady found out, but it would have been easy to spend a lot. Just as a word of caution for those not really familiar with the world of games beyond Monopoly and the like: it's not unusual to spend $35-50 on a new game nowadays. That would be for boxed games. Card games (not CCGs) probably land in the $10-20 range, depending on the game. Go on, spend a few bones and try something new. Interact with real people for a change. Or you can just sit there, reading weird blogs and surfing for porn.