Home > Life or something like it, Winter > Entry 02/05/2011 11:34:28 AM – Mentat 598

Entry 02/05/2011 11:34:28 AM – Mentat 598


Have you ever had the feeling like somewhere just at the twilight between consciousness and unconsciousness there’s this germination of an idea that’s looking for a way to get out through writing and expressing? And yet, the instant you stop whatever it is that you’re doing and sit there looking at the white of your medium for writing upon, doesn’t seem to want to come out? That’s what had been happening to me the last day or so. I would be happily playing a game, and then get this want to sit down and write. Then when I actually tried to sit down and write, ended up feeling so antsy that whatever ideas came popping into my head were either just too banal, or just too unformed for me to want to sit down and write.

Wash, rinse, repeat throughout the entire day regardless of what I was doing.

Admittedly though, television or listening to music was worse because when I tried to sit down and write even this part of my journal, I found myself so distracted by the sounds that I couldn’t even coherently put them down into the entry that I ended up discarding it and thinking that it was just too unformed for me to write about. Now that I’m sitting here with a bit of quiet I find that I’m able to think and act coherently. Well let me rephrase that; relative quiet. The homestead has all sorts of noises going on in it from my aunt cleaning her part of the house, to my uncle stamping about like a mad bull in a china shop, to the neighbors going up and down the stairs because it’s wash day for them).

Honestly, I still don’t know what’s going on with my head at the moment. It’s like a flotsam of random half-baked thoughts, the overwhelming want to being entertained, the pre-Valentine’s Day stress that comes ’round almost like PTSD because of the years of putting up with shitty expectations for couples for the over-commercialized “holiday” (heh, not that I’m bitter/jaded about it, oh no!), and generally a review of many of the events/observations/what not that I know while sitting here; I should write about and not entirely sure I should. Yeah, I admit that I still have some self-conscious problems about what I should and shouldn’t say to an entertained audience.

Fun-fun, eh?

So, the side stairwell is looking particularly gruesome at the moment. I slacked the hell out yesterday because I didn’t want to venture out into the sub-freezing cold, uncle was out of the house for the majority of the afternoon, and our neighbor has given up on the side stairs using the front stairwell to get in and out of the house. So it basically looks like a glacier has slowly made its way down the stairs and is creating an ice flow on the walkway and into the driveway. I’ll be going out there in a couple to see what can be done about it, as uncle’s nearly completely given up on it and my aunt is telling me it’s a lost cause. No surprise there given that the gutter warmer’s still on and is the culprit of this stair/walkway glacier as the front gutter it completely blocked up and has no where else to go at the moment.

Although I’m now concerned that one of the other wires is about to meet the same fate as the electrical line from the pole, as it has a rather nasty piece of ice dangling from it and pulling the wire down. From the side porch it looks like the analog telephone line; though I’m not sure whether it’s ours or the neighbors. I’ll have to take a look at it in a bit when I try to go out and assess just how easy it’ll be to break the glacier a bit.

Ugh!!!! Looking at the weather reports at the moment — with the temperature being above freezing at the moment (34 F/1.1 C) it looks as though we’re looking forward to rain and light rain which I’m sure is going to freeze by sundown and cause the yard, driveway, walkway and rest of the city to become another frozen-in-hell nightmare for traffic. Not to mention that it’s going to cause my aunt and uncle to want me to check the basement routinely to ensure that it’s not flooding… Seriously, last March/April’s basement flooding was because it rained for a week straight giving about 1′ (30.4 cm) worth of rain in a two week period and without the ground being sufficiently thawed had no where to be soaked up. Currently we’re looking at .08″ (.2 cm) of rain to date and hardly going to cause the basement to flood up to our knees. Still though, I might hold off until tomorrow to see whether I can do anything with it, as the rain (and later snow/sleet mix) might be able to get under the ice flow and separate it from the concrete/pavement making it easier to break apart. Or it’ll make it worse… Heh, in either case I have my work cut out for me.

All my refunds have finally been happily deposited and I’m currently going through the checklist of things I should buy, things I want to buy, and places I want to see. Always a joy when getting back almost two-grand in taxes and not knowing what to do with it. I’ve been eyeing a printer this time around. Sure I don’t print all that much, though when I do it’s always something I need printed immediately (and not something I can drag along with me to my aunt’s computer or out and about when I’m at the library or café. Though unlike my aunt who has an inkjet for her needs, I’m thinking more about a laser instead. Not sure whether I want an all-in-one given there are times when I do need a scanner as well; and not surprisingly I need a scanner about the same time as I need access to a printer. Given the pricing on them ($150 – $300 American), it’d be fairly easy to get one even locally. Chances are though, I’m probably going to table that idea for a purchase again. After all, I’ve been doing fairly well (all things considered) the last 6 years about being paperless here at the homestead — why break with that tradition?

As for the trip… Still no idea where or how. Then again that might be held off until next month when things begin to melt off. Travel at the moment seems hairy even by plane — particularly given all the inclement weather advisories that have been going on and even a simple commute to Boston for a day or two is going to be pretty hairy given that the sidewalks here are about waist high with snow… I can only imagine what it would be like in an urban setting like downtown Providence or Boston. And forget New York City — I’ve seen what it’s like in the inner city — it’s like some apocalyptic weather catastrophe going on there. No thanks to that.

Though until I make up my mind — I’ve been relatively happy adventuring even if it’s been in my head and imagination (which is part of the reason why I’ve had all these half-baked ideas). Modern Warfare 2 is a lot easier than I thought it was once I figured out the health mechanics of the game. Sitting there in a huff one day and not in the mood to listening to my angry music, I decided on playing one of the Spec-Ops missions in Rio de Janeiro with the to-hell-with-you-all attitude and barring grenades (which I’ll get to in a minute), the protagonist (you) can take a hell of a lot of damage before succumbing to jell-o splattered death on the screen. And unlike Fallout 3 healing is by far more instantaneous than I expected (which sort of goes against the physics of injury that I’m familiar with, though it does assist in keeping the gameplay going). Once I figured that out, the single-player aspects of the game are far less stressful than I thought. Sure there’s moments when you’re really having to move to keep your character going, though it’s not as stressful as I originally felt when I played the game.

Of course there’s a downside to this game that I’m feeling is also adding to my frustration: game physics. Grenades are just inhumanly powerful when you consider how quickly you can recover/heal from getting three gangsters in single-player mode unloading a clip each into you. One grenade too near you and you’re listening to Ghost telling you, “We need to rethink our strategy“. Grenade launchers are another aspect of the game that annoy the piss out of me. Having experience with them on an M-16a4 during my days in the military I was an expert the first time out. Using the same physics that I understood from holding a rifle/grenade launcher in the game — the launched grenade doesn’t even remotely come near the target as I expected. If anything, I find myself not able to hit the broad side of a barn based on the physics I understand. If anything, it seems that if I’m random about the aim, the game seems happy enough to actually hit the targets as expected with successful kill ratios. Heh, yeah — made the Spec-Ops mission Suspension especially easy to run through the first half of the mission. The only reason why I died during the second half of the mission was because I did the Hollywood tough guy routine and was shooting my semi-automatic at the helicopter instead of picking up any of the rocket launchers that were laid out on the blanket. Heh, what can I say? I’ve been shooting at Vertibirds with an Atomic Pulverizer and taking them down with a single power cartridge that I forgot where I was for the moment! *grinning*

Another thing that I noticed is the way that the game absolutely and positively penalizes shooting from the hip. Shoot from the hip and you end up spraying bullets away from the target even at close range than you would aiming down the sights. This is particularly annoying given that in Fallout 3 close-range and mid-range shooting from the hip actually works to your advantage particularly when dealing with human-sized targets (it’s a boon for larger targets like Deathclaws and Yao Guais who barrel down at you if you get in their field of vision). Really? I have to aim down my sight to get a clean kill even if the target is ~3′ (1 m) away from me in semi-automatic mode? This seems sort of nonsensical even to me.

I’ll probably write a complete review of this game when I get about ¾ of the way through Spec-Ops and the Campaign… Until then though, these are my initial thoughts of the game.

Reading Plato has certainly been quite the chore. Even in English, I’m finding the rhetoric that he practices in his apology to be such a sing-song that I’m wishing he would get to the point instead of leading the audience of the courts (and readers 2,000+ years later) around the thought to get to the point that he’s trying to make. Still though, I have to admire the fact that when he does make the point, he does so beautifully that the rhetoric that he practices slips away and is completely forgotten. Hopefully things pick up a bit more later on in the book.

Though I will say this much… I can see why I avoided reading Greek Philosophy when I was younger. Reading Plato and skimming Aristotle and Socrates even the first couple of pages of it are so filled with rhetoric that the sing-song is enough to drive me to distraction. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of story-telling in order to make the point all that more poignant. The problem is that if the rhetoric and the story-telling goes on too long, you face the grave risk of losing the attention of your audience and whatever point you were trying to make is going to be missed.

It’s entirely possible that with the changes over the millennia that people now would prefer to move along faster then during the birth of civilization in the Mediterranean and that rhetoric as an art-form has changed, but I can’t shake the instinctive impression that they were all self-important (perhaps even egocentric) windbags. Either that or I’m simply cynical to some of the messages that they’re trying to impart.

[Last Edited: 02/05/2011 11:07:42 PM]

Checking the basement it would appear that my aunt and uncle’s fears had started. The back door from the basement is showing drip and some minor seepage below the first landing. Not to mention a small part of the front of the house is also showing some leaking and seepage. Nothing major at the moment, but just enough for them to justify their feelings of paranoia with the need to watch and make sure that this is the worst of it. While sitting there reading and accessing the world through my laptop and checking the basement every couple of minutes, I saw that the rain is over. Still, experience dictates that even though the rain might have stopped, it can take a couple of hours for the seepage to also stop. Good thing that the weather reports also show no more rain for the remainder of the night, and probably for the next three days. Even then, it’s a probability of snow and not rain then… Which won’t be bad; though I’m not sure where we’ll be shoveling it to if it ends up being more than an inch or two (2.5 – 5 cm).

[Last Edited: 02/06/2011 02:38:04 PM]

Okay the last edit and update for this journal entry. I promise.

God, I’m rather sore at the moment.

As some folk can see in my photos, I was finally able to clear out the glacier that had taken over the side stairs and now that I’ve shed the wet and cold clothes that I had been wearing while I was chopping away at the ice under the drip from the roof, I’m beginning to feel a bit sore from it. Though admittedly it’s not as bad as the first time I did it a couple of weeks ago — it’s been a year since I’ve had to chop ice and the old bones forgot what it felt like.

I had a near miss outside while I was chopping the ice. Seems that our next door neighbor’s roof is finally loosening up with the snow and ice and as I was taking a break away from the side stairs and walkway, a 40 pound (18 kg) block of ice came sliding down from the second story, missing me by about 3 feet (1 m) and hitting my aunt’s Volkswagen. Fortunately for my aunt, it didn’t crack the back window where it had fallen.

Flooding in the basement picked up for a bit this morning while I was outside breaking and moving ice from the side of the house. For a while since I got back into the house I was vacuuming up the water that was seeping in every half-hour or so, but now it looks as though it’s slowed down enough that it’s once an hour. Good thing too, I was fearing for a moment that it would be another long night tonight… And definitely not the sort of thing I want to put up with tonight. If it continues to slack off as it is, I probably will be able to head to bed early while laying down a couple of towels to make sure the water doesn’t leak its way into the laundry room. Seems that the reason why it does that is because of the way the concrete floor’s been laid out. It wasn’t an even pour for one, and for another the man that did it didn’t really do the right sort of planning for water evacuation either. Pity that given that this basement’s been flooding for as long as the house has been put here from what I’ve been able to find out from my aunt & uncle (who also accumulated the information from the prior owner).

*knocks on wood* The bottom line though is that I think we escaped the gauntlet this time. Hopefully things will remain relatively uneventful for the remainder of the season.

Well, that’s about it for the time being.. Off to take a quick nap and then off to get my sanity pummeled by insurgents. Until the next time.

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