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The Throes of Summer

08/08/2016 Comments off

Entry 08/07/2016 05:00:00 AM – Mentat 1147

Having failed to take a nap for a second time this afternoon, when I shambled my ass out of bed a little while ago, it had dawned on me that I couldn’t for the life of me remember the last time I wrote a diary entry that would go out to the world.  The first question that came to mind was, “has it been that long?”  followed closely by the stampede of, “if I can’t remember, it must be that long…”  with, “nah, it couldn’t be…”, mixed with feelings that old age has begun to get the better of me, through the fleeting thought of Alzheimer scares.  It was promptly concluded with checking one of the two sites that I routing visit (though rarely post to) confirming it was almost three months since the last time I had the gumption to posting anything to the world.  Though you can tell by the numerical system I have traditionally used for my entries that it’s been a mere 59 entries since then.  Eh, I’m not surprised really.

Some of the events that have occurred since the last time I sat down to write includes some of the following insanity:

For Emancipation Day, I have deleted my account from Deviant Art.  The straw that broke the camel’s back on that was watching the management of a chat area I used to frequent either tripping over their tampon string or channeling the worst possible elements of Scorned Woman Syndrome.  I watched with horror as my perspective of the place transformed to a niche area for sanity and artistic good nature to exactly as it’s been laid out on the Encyclopedia Dramatica entry.  While it was a good 8 years there which I had been introduced to the site thanks to Damion — after that incident of ban-hammering people for the slightest transgressions — I felt it was long since time I moved on.  While I’m in a lull when it comes to fractal art at the moment, my art can typically be found on WordPress and Flickr where I continue to maintain my presence even if it’s a shadow of my former self.

Thanks largely to the media circus of the Presidential Elections here in my country, I’ve been avoiding sharing my opinion on any of the normal sites that I still frequent as well: namely Twitter, Facebook and Google+.  There have been times I’ve considered completely deleting my account from Facebook given my family and at least 1 friend has gone of their rockers and posting/re-sharing based on ad hominem feelings against the candidates.  And there have been more than a handful of times none of them have done any fact checking their re-shares, which is enough to get my knickers in a twist as I’m sitting there and having to perform the fact-checking necessary for peace of mind.  What’s funny is that I tend to either respond to completely superfluous wall-entries, or food if only to prove I’m still alive.

I think this dour attitude of mine started on Twitter when a former work-mate had been blasting tweets in a deluge fashion neither fact checking either, or worse, simply whinging for the sake of it, about government, about freedoms curtailed and even about first world problems.  There had been numerous times during his tweet spamming that I thought about commenting sharply in his direction, “…if you want change in government, become an activist…  don’t blast your woes in 140 characters hoping others will make those changes for you…”  Instead, I tried out the feature of Muting and have been happier with the clear lack of noise and friction from that part of the world.

Consequently I’ve been doing the same on Facebook with moderate success.  Still, the impulse to delete my account there exists even if it’s a bit quieter.

I have (once again) lost complete interest in television.  While I don’t tend to watch too much I think I’ve completed watching to the last series finale two shows since the beginning of the year:  Shadowhunters and The FlashDaredevil I gave up after episode 3 into the second season because while Jon Bernthal was believable in his role of Frank Castle (Punisher), there was something off-putting about the intensity.  I believe it had something to do with just how bloody angst-riddled the character was.  I never got back into Jessica Jones because every episode I watched of that, I felt like I needed a bath…  in Clorox… to get over the feeling of just how dirty I felt watching it.  Anything else, I stopped my re-watches to try to get back into the shows after a long hiatus from them…  All because of the amount of tropes I was catching in them snapping the back of my ability to suspend my disbelief with a sickening crack.

The biggest disappointment out of my television woes goes to Legends of Tomorrow having bailed on that show after the second episode.  While I was sort of looking forward to seeing Arthur Darvill again since his departure from Doctor Who, the reality distortions of him playing Rip Hunter — (ex-)Member of the Time Masters — were just too much for me to separate the juxtaposition from Time Lords and Doctor Who.  Well that and watching (Wentworth) Miller and (Dominic) Purcell being together since Prison Break also utterly distorted my ability to suspend disbelief as well.

Movies have suffered worse since March.  While I found myself morbidly enjoying Henry Rollins’ performance in He Never Died, remember liking the humor of Deadpool, and waiting patiently for Brenton Thwaites to being shirtless in Gods of Egypt (it didn’t happen); my interest in Allegiant disappeared within the first five minutes when the movie had to establish that the outside world announced those living in Chicago to come out of the walls (which never happened in the book).  Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice within 10 minutes where they had to retcon Affleck in the Metropolis destruction scenes from Man of Steel.  I shut that movie off when there Affleck is, squatting down giving the girl a hug and looking all angry at the fight between Zod and Superman that recalled this skit from Jack Whitehall.  Yep, I bailed faster than you can say, ‘off like a kelly-green, polyester prom dress…’ And as far as I can tell — there’s nothing on the horizon at the moment that I would want to see — and that’s not going to be changing in the months to come.

The deskside has been converted to Windows 10…  finally.  Two days before the deadline to boot.  I wanted to do a clean install on the system drive without taking up more space with the messy conversion from Windows 7.  I also wanted to confirm that with the Product Key I have for Windows 7 Ultimate would convert to Windows 10 Pro.  It did.  Well that and I wanted to ensure all the bugs I had experienced with Windows 10 on my laptop would have been completely smoothed out by the time I got it on the deskside.  With it, I still have more than one language pack loaded in (English and Japanese based on my experience with both), Bitlocker, and the Policy Editor for passwords and password control (among other features too numerous to mention based on Active Directory skills I’m familiar with).  Since installing Windows 10, I’ve also set the password locally (in spite of the mistake of installing an app from the Microsoft Store that had changed my login to my Hotmail account).  So we’ll see if the password change reminder is working correctly with Windows 10 as it stopped working in Windows 7 a long time ago.  Now all I have to do is get all the specialized words in the custom dictionary loaded back up…  Something that never made the backup from the old system to the new.  Eh, a small loss on the whole if I do say so myself.

My UPS of 8 years is beginning the slow process of dying the slow death and the battery is no longer working according to spec.  While I’m sure that I could get a replacement battery for the thing (and install it on my own), the fact is that at least 2 of the plugs in the back (on the surge suppressor side) have suffered damage of some sort or another and are no longer operating properly so, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  While the replacement UPS (same make and model) should be in sometime this week, I need to play extra-carefully running the PC and Air Conditioners in this house ensuring I neither brown-out or blow a fuse.  When the house has a brown-out and tries to draw power from the battery as a boost, it will shut down the UPS (and the computer) abruptly; pretty much the same as a blackout.  The alarms will sound, I will check to ensure it’s not a blown fuse and then I have to take 20 minutes to reset the UPS and then bring the PC back up.  Not fun.

Summer has been annoying here in the Tundras of New England.  There have been a few moments where the weather’s been beautiful for the summer months, there have been more times where the raging humidity has made it impossible for me to either sleep or exercise.  While it hasn’t been as bad as I remember living in the South more than a decade ago, as I’ve become acclimated to the weather of the north — there have been more than a few moments where I felt like I should be melting onto the sidewalk because the heat and humidity.  Since taking the medications for Hypertension, I swear I’ve become far more irritable with the high humidity than I used to be last year as I seem to want more comfortable temperatures around the house.  Hence the want for running the A/C whenever possible.  In fact, since I’ve become more used to taking these medicines and being more aware of the body changes, I could swear I can tell the difference between a Northern Thunderstorm and a Southern.   Northern storms are wet, cooler and don’t have half of the amount of heat and ambient humidity as they are in the south.

Because of this and the fact that I’m warned against prolonged exposure to strong direct sunlight, walking has become a more difficult now than during the Autumn through Spring Months.  Because of it, I’ve done my best to keeping busy when I can, and definitely adjusting my intake when I can’t.  I’ve slacked more than I should and while I’m not getting 10,000+ steps a day, I try my best to keeping as active as possible with the 250 steps/hour challenge currently being offered.  This has been making Moe pretty damned happy as he seems to like being picked up and  held over my shoulder as I walk around the house.  About the only thing he doesn’t seem to like is being in the rooms with A/C on.  Something about it being cooler than usual along with the noise that they make seems to be off-putting to him, so off to the un-air conditioned bedroom he goes during the day.  Doesn’t seem to mind the heat other than the occasional loneliness of me not being around so he’ll make his way out of there to check up on me.

And with that, I’ve covered everything — pretty much — for the last couple of months.  Off to meet the day as I always do..  On the bridge of the USS Retrospect fighting enemies of the Federation or being a Tenno checking out the Origin System of the Orokin.  I haven’t decided which as both entertain me more than television ever could.

Coming up for Air

06/22/2015 Comments off

Entry 06/22/2015 12:11:24 AM – Mentat 929

I know, I know — no art…  Less of that lately (I’ll get to that in a minute), and a rather banal come all-over-the-place journal entry.  Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve written and some of the things I’m writing about seem to be “…the story already in progress…”  But then again since I’ve pulled my diary offline and written privately, those are the breaks.

So now that I’m entering into Monday morning and looking at the calendar, I’m reminded of my out-cry on my way in to work this evening that Emancipation Day is 3 days away and I haven’t thought of anything I want to be free of for the prior year.  Well other than perhaps the fact that I’ve had to wash quite a few freakishly odd queerfolk out of my life the last month alone:  Michael in Apple Valley who was coming off not only a few fries short of a Happy Meal™ but also somewhere between abrasive and abusive (verbally, definitely verbally).  While it was charming for a while, I got tired of hearing things like, “are you that gullible?” and “You have monumental baggage” routinely enough that it was a friendship that didn’t build up the person, but tore ’em down in order to make oneself feel better about it. Not that he was feeling any better really — he was damned busy whinging about not having a boyfriend and then doing nothing to modify the way modern queerfolk go about the whole dating thing.

The other man (I’ve had to watch out of my hair) was from Mississippi (I think his name was Richard, but I can’t be assed to remember it really) who seemed jovial though vapid in his e-mails who I suspected was a bit of a freak (of nature) only to have him turn out to be a real freak of nature with his sense of humor comments that didn’t feel the least bit jovial or jocular.  More like desperate, cloying and the sort of creepy that leaves you feeling like you need a shower afterward.  What I mean is that quite out of the blue from the usual conversation he starts asking for nudie pictures and making assertions of marrying him.  Uh, no thanks I don’t like marriage jokes when the conversations have been light (and vapid) and didn’t lead down anywhere that would have called for such intensity.  And let’s face it — anyone asking for nudes of is asking for trouble from the likes of me.

Although the true irony of that whole conversation had to do with the fact that the only reason why he started chatting me up had to do with the fact that I went checking out his profile while wearing the flag-mod hat and checking to see if the profile was another one of the cavalcade of fake users that routinely come onto OKC.  The only reason I was chatting with him is that his profile seemed to only point to wanting chat — and who am I to deny a good chat to anyone that wants it?

Then there was this kid (AKA under 30) that was trying to chat me up for god-only-knows what reason.  Seemed to be the sort of kid that lived off the attention until I noticed that his location changed from Fall River, MA to Bum-Fuck PA which sent up the usual warning bells of a fake user.  Tried to pull me over to KIK which is an automatic block as I can’t stand that bloody program (seems to be geared more towards those sort of vapid and attention whore sort of teens and 20-somethings that have nothing else better to do with their time).  Seriously, no thank you — I’ve had more than enough people of this caliber in my life, I don’t want any more of them.  Hell and what’s left of them in my life I don’t want them in there anymore…

About the only one that I’ve been entertained with has been the guy from New York City, but even then it’s more one-sided than I like.  Eh, I’ll give that a bit more time and see how that plays out.

In other news, one of the gifts I worked on buying for my birthday was a FitBit.  Part of the reason was I wanted to shed carrying around two phones (iPhone from AT&T that the contract has been cancelled and the Droid that I’m currently carrying).  The other part of the reason was I wanted to have something that integrated better with a fitness and health conscious program for tracking calories in and out.  While I don’t like the whole cloud integration for the program (it’s currently held on the FitBit.com website) I’m really liking the investment I made with the Fitbit HR.  While I haven’t used the actual caller-ID integration between it and the phone (apparently I need to load up the program for it as phone is not supported for direct integration) everything else about it seems pretty accurate…  Well other than perhaps sleeping.  It’s marking my restlessness as times that I’m awake and the thing about that is I’m not really awake.  My eyes didn’t open and I didn’t register anything consciously.  I think it’s just because the movements that I do through the night are enough to raise my pulse into the consciousness zone and that’s enough for it to mark me as awake.  Still though, it’s better than the Sleep Time app which seems to monitor not only my movements, but Moe’s as well.  And my cat has a nasty habit of getting up a whole lot more than I do.  While I might not be getting the full 5 day charge (I’m noticing it’s about 4 days according to YMMV) it’s not as though I need to wear the thing down to nothing as I’m close enough to both the charger and the dongle that I can sync and charge the thing up with little effort.

Oh yeah, the other thing I like about this unit is the fact that it works with a vibration for the alarm.  I saw Matt Inman over at The Oatmeal raving about the Taptic Engine in the Apple Watch and gave it a go with the silent alarm on the FitBit HR.  When I have slept long enough to catch the alarm, it actually wakes me up…  Though I suspect that the reason why I’ve been up a majority of the time before the alarm is because I fear I’m going to sleep through it.  I haven’t, but that doesn’t stop me from activating the Wonder Twin Power™ of self-consciousness.

I missed Providence Pride this year.  I’m not in the least bit surprised about that given 1. I was working that day and 2. I thought it was the last weekend of the month of June and not the third weekend when it was celebrated.  No big loss there in any case.  Though it did give the bus lines a bit of a problem given that Route 1 that I usually take the day I have to work over-time had to temporarily re-route away from Dorrance Street.  Although it was funny given that when it was heading down Washington Street I thought I had accidentally gotten on the Northbound bus instead of the Southbound.  But after that scare from the re-route, I was happily heading down to work for a couple of hours overtime to cover while the fuck-up second shift person can have his added time off for Father’s Day.  No names mentioned (publicly of course), but if you ask me, I’ll more than happily tell anyone privately.

Waking up today was like waking up in the Crotch of the Bible Belt:  I felt like I needed SCUBA gear in order to breathe properly.  And without the necessary exhaust vent it’s not as though I can run the portable AC unit for the time being.  At least the good news is that sometime this week the vents covers that I had ordered from Haier (that didn’t come with the package I purchased) should be in by the end of the week.   So hopefully, I’ll be able to run the A/C during the hottest parts of the summer.  And it’s looking like the humidity isn’t going to be going away any time soon.  Not sure what that’s all about, but it’s enough to annoy me.

Work…  I have positively no words for that circus.  Between the politics and the personal conflicts going on between the Manager and the Supervisor it’s a royal Charlie-Foxtrot.  All I’m doing for the moment is riding it through and hoping that it’ll clear itself out one way or another.  While it’s nice to being Nightbreed again and management is only seen sparingly the changes that seem to be going on boggles both the conscious mind and the imagination.  And that’s all I’m going to say on that subject in a public setting.

And with that — I think I’ve covered everything for the time being.  I’ll close it here for now and hopefully sometime this week, I’ll don the hat of the Mad Scientist™ and try to make another wallpaper.  Until the next time.

Moments of Thought (during a 4 KM walk)

12/03/2014 Comments off

Entry 12/03/2014 06:40:38 AM – Mentat 811

Nothing like completely screwing up my sleep patterns in one day.  I laid down early last night listening to Psychobabble and then the Relic Radio Podcasts that I collected yesterday.  Ended up listening to the first one (from the Science-Fiction collection) from beginning to end (20 minutes), then when I moved onto the others (Thriller, Suspense and the straight on podcast), I fell completely asleep during each and every other podcast afterwards.   Oh sure, I woke up at the end of each and every one, start the next, get comfortable and then **BANG** out like a light once again.  So all in all I drifted in and out of sleep during each of the podcasts.  I remember listening to the last of the podcasts at 11:30’ish last night.  I stayed up for a couple of hours then went back to bed only to wake up again at 10 to 6 of which I’ve been up since.  Sure, I got something like 9+ hours of sleep, but thanks to the program I’m using, it doesn’t count.  Bloody annoying that…   But that’s what happens when one is working with a program and all the various quirks that it comes with.

Now that my mother’s home from the doctor’s office and about to start her morning chores on ironing what little clothes that need it, I’m sitting here having a rather interesting time trying to come up with the energy for some of the thoughts that I’ve had watching and listening to some of the various podcasts, YouTube videos and stray thoughts that usually assail my mind during the early evenings and especially when I’m taking my 2.5 mile (4.02 km) walk through the neighbourhood.

I’ve continued to mull over the lack of “neighbourhood” in the urban sprawl of Providence and in its place is what retail companies think “neighbourhood” should be.  Especially now that my walk routine’s changed a little bit and surfaces along Atwells Avenue near to De Pasquale Square.  I mean Broadway has never truly felt like a neighbourhood.  It’s almost always been completely renovated from Residential to the sort of Commercial zoning synonymous with Doctor’s/Dentist’s Offices and…  ick…  Lawyers.  What little retail stores while being a Ma & Pop of some sort or another, don’t really give the feeling of a neighbourhood store (that I remember from my childhood).  About the only exception to this is the Sutton & De Pasquale Street block on Broadway (where DASH Bicycles is).  Between the bike shop, the gaming store and the “corner” pizzeria there, it definitely has the right sort of “neighbourhood” feel I used to get when on the Hill 20+ years ago.

But Atwells?  No sir…  Taking the walk through the neighbourhood here and what I remember of the neighbourhood when living here  is near completely gone.  Sure, there’s the old tattoo parlour and Sicilia’s Pizzeria at Dean Street..  Sure there’s the corner mart diagonal from it…  Sure there’s even Caserta’s on Spruce (a block off of Atwells)…  But the rest?  Ugh!  Restaurants and Boutique stores up the ass and especially in De Pasquale Square itself.  There’s some stores that I remember from 20 years ago — but they don’t seem to be open much anymore.  Like the old Federal Hill Liquors (which the security shutters are closed on all the time), or the Jamaican Dive Restaurant (where the laundry I used when I was living with Darin used to be).

What’s worse about it is the fact that with the invention of the leaf blower — a lot of these trendy boutique store have the nasty habit of blowing everything away from their store fronts, instead of putting it in one pile to pick it up (and throw it out).  This of course leads to a metric shit-ton of various flotsam — leaves, paper trash and bags) to end up in the neighbourhood immediately behind and around the storefronts to look polluted…  And more importantly changing the various old-age and character flaws of the neighbourhood to look…  Well, more depressed than it should.   It’s sad really…  Having moved up from the Valley (just a few blocks difference) and what I end up in is hipster and trendy hell.

As the saying goes, “the more things change…  the more they remain the same…”  At least when it comes to the conformity of retail…

Then there’s the other thoughts I had yesterday during my walk on how much has changed with being a queer in the new millennium.  I remember back in the mid 80s, the generation before me had been blaming my generation for dropping the torch that was handed to us.  I remember vividly at the time my generation had been accused of “resting on our laurels” by not continuing fighting for the rights of LGBT folk in the USA.

Sure, when it came to getting states to pass laws for domestic and partner benefits (and turned it into a hell of a fight with the hydra forcing groups & activists to approach companies instead of states), DADT has come and gone…  DOMA is being stigmatized and given of feeling of being a blue law as Domestic Partnerships has been passed in many more states.  Or my personal favorite, watching how coming out episodes went from “After School Specials” to Coming out become statements of the every day on YouTube.  Of seeing queerfolk being queerfolk without the mockery, the spectacle and even the mockery from 30 years ago…  Love & Hate and annoyances….  Or my personal favorite the bickering that happens in love.  You know what I’m talking about when it comes to every couple:  the really intense sort of comments (snide or otherwise) made at the other that makes anyone watching extremely uncomfortable.  I don’t mind them of course, they remind me of the times when I was in a relationship and know it’s not as bad as it looks.

I know there’s still a really long way to go…  A hell of a long way to go still…  But perhaps what was always needed was viewing it all from the every day instead of when I came out 35 years ago and only being a taste of it given to middle of nowhere America in the form of news snippets on Gay Pride.  Make them see it’s not all about deviations and parades…  But instead the everyday and the ordinary…  Even if folks like me see the color that might be missed by everyone else.

There were a couple of other thoughts, mainly the sort of thing that I find myself reminiscing about things in my personal past.  Like how Battey Street off of Broadway seems to have gotten longer than when I was living in the neighbourhood.  Or how the houses in my neighbourhood are certainly weird and wild and of course pre- and Post-Victorian odd…  With sections of the building jutting out or the wild window work (like some of the houses I’ve taken pictures of during my 2012 picture of the day and might again for 2015…).  Or how many of the houses have preservation plaques on them (especially on and just off of Broadway).  Or finally the quirkiness I seem to stumble across while I’m walking….  like the church off of Tobey that has French Services (this is a predominantly Italian & Spanish neighbourhood now).

That about it for the time being.  Off to simmer a thought or two.  Until the next time.

My Usual Disgust with the Entertainment Industry

10/22/2014 Comments off

Entry 10/22/2014 06:43:43 AM – Mentat 769

The interesting thing about starting the slow cooker the first thing in the morning is that there’s no casualties or catastrophes while I cook.  Everything gets down without too much mess, spill and most of all: bloodshed. I seem to take my time, get everything prepared and of course Moe loves it as he tends to run around the house more than getting up under me curious as to what it is I’m doing.  I did this last week when I made the Sausage Stew and while I only began shedding tears after cooking (because I did the stupid thing of rubbing my eyes after preparing and didn’t wash my hands), there again was no scares from Moe and no bloodshed.  All in all, I’m definitely going to keep to this schedule for the safety of it all.

This is going to be an early morning for me.  My mother’s off to the doctor’s early this morning and now I need to get ready to watch the Monster Child until she gets home.

Heh, I get my cuppa in this morning and instead of finding myself happy, chipper and percolated — I find myself crotchety, curmudgeonly and just brimming with vitriol.   I admit it’s because of the shows that I had been watching last night during quiet time with Moe in the crook of my arm.  I mean I know I went into the shows that I was watching fully knowing that they had an entertainment half-life…  Hell most of the shows that I’ve been watching have been touched by who I like to call the Abrams’ Ass-Licking Crack Monkeys:  Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman…  So really, I should know what I’m in for given my experience with them having their hand on shows like Alias, Fringe, Lost (though truth be told, I avoided that one like the plague because it just wasn’t my cuppa from start to finish)…  Yet here I am feeling like the older ‘man’ in the YouTube video EA in a Nutshell exclaiming “why does this keep happening?!”  I mean sure, on the one side it’s not as though I’ve actually invested the time; I binged on one, and the other I gave the first five episode to get a feeling of it.

Sitting here thinking about it, I can only attribute it to the shock to just how unoriginal the episodes turned out to be.  With Scorpion I now know what it feels like to be either a doctor or nurse watching shows like Bones or Grey’s Anatomy in that the medical jargon is just over-glorified technobabble.   In this case the whole part of the “enabled” or otherwise known as the ultra-intelligent…  Only problem with this is that the actors and the writers aren’t that intelligent and are trying too hard to work with the stereotypes of that intelligence.  Basically they’re the nerd kids that had always been picked on in the schoolyard and keep to that mentality even as adults.  That and they hobbled the characters way too much — leaving even the one with the ability to read people through body language and nuance — a bunch of dysfunctional messes that can only be held together by Walter O’Brien.  What’s so uninspiring about this is also that it’s supposed to be based on the true-life person Walter O’Brien leaving the show feeling like a fantasy world much like Temperance Brennan in Bones.

In The Blacklist nothing like getting slammed in the brains with a MacGuffin while watching the recent episode called The Front that comes right out of the J.J. Abrams play book from a 2001 episode of Alias.  400 year old manufactured virus that was created by opposing forces for germ warfare…  ugh, I couldn’t listen and watch anymore after that.  Hell, I’m giving up on the show after horrendously over-used plot device…

People wonder why I haven’t owned a television since 2004.  This is why.  It’s easier to watch it in binge without commercials and give up the show when it’s reached the end of its entertainment value.  Treat it like a mindless diversion when Moe has decided that I had been away from the house long enough and with the colder weather on it’s way in, sitting with me in quiet contentment.  Heh, I love my cat, though it’s not possible that I can do much else with him when he’s sitting in the crook of my arm between me and the keyboard.

On the other hand, I know that there are no original stories, plots or writing ideas left in the world,  yet why is it with television recycles and regurgitates them  faster than you can say, “*sigh* really?”  It raises the questions, 1. are producers that scared of taking chances?  and 2. are they truly the uninspired and unoriginal hacks that everyone in the entertainment industry accuse them of being?

I understand time constraints…  You’re running a series on network (or even cable) television that spans 22 – 26 episodes a season (year) hoping it to be some sort of breakaway hit that will last 5 – 7 seasons (and sometimes even more).   I know that there are also certain constraints about what can and can’t be shown on television (which I see is still eroding slowly) as well as the routine requirement for one (or more) PSA-like episodes…  But do these writers and producers need to stick to the same predictable plots and performing the same things over and over not entirely unlike the old travelling swindler selling snake oil to cure everything one ails from?

It makes me wonder whether or not certain cable television shows as well as the BBC have it right in that (other than perhaps soap operas), they cut down the the season to 8 – 13 episodes instead of the full year.  I’m not even going to waste my time trying to figure out or even offer advice or suggestions on how to handle all the schmoozing (or what I’m more prone to call ass-kissing or ass-licking depending on the veracity of it) that seems to go on within Hollywood.  I see enough of this in my local politics and there it needs to definitely stop.

Ultimately I know the only possible way of controlling such entertainment is to vote with my remote:  change the channel, stop watching it, sometimes even writing the network if necessary…  And while I’ve done that, it makes me misanthropic wondering how my peers and others that watch television can put up with watching such shite and call it entertaining?    I’m going to chalk it up to one of those mysteries of the universe I might never truly fathom (even if I sometimes understand).

In other news, I just received a call from my mother after her doctor’s visit and then the hospital for another mammogram and now she’s off to Miriam Hospital for some sort of emergency surgery because of a blood clot.  I didn’t ask the details, though I suspect it might have to do with the occasional swelling she had in her left arm from the PICC line.  So I wished her good luck and will check with her again later on after the surgery when she’s conscious and talking to find out the details.

And that’s about it for the time being.  As the Monster Child went out early, I’m sure that the excitement he’s currently demonstrating is because he’s both bored and the fact that he had gone out earlier than usual this morning.  I’m off for that, have lunch and continue to watch the dog.  Until the next time.

A Couch Potato’s Review of Godzilla (2014)

09/17/2014 Comments off

A Couch Potato’s Review of Godzilla (2014)

I know that it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and written a review on anything, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been watching the good, the bad, the ugly, the awful and the truly toxic Hollywood (and various independent productions) have to offer. No, it just meant that I haven’t had the want, the desire, the panache or the gumption to critique them publicly. There’s been a couple of movies and even a book that I tore into in my journal, I decided as a sort of “return” I was going to sit and give a go with the American Re-Remake of a B-Movie Japanese Cult classic. While I might not go into the blow-by-blow details of the movie as I used to, there will be some spoilers based on the scenes that I had issues with.

The long and the short of it is that American Directors and Producers just don’t quite get it. They came close in this movie – certainly infinitely closer than the abortion of a Roland Emmerich film at the turn of the century. The problem is that there’s too much cultural differences between Japan and America that makes it near to impossible for Americans to truly get it. That and of course, Americans suffer a really bad problem with what I like to call the “wouldn’t it be cool, if…” Syndrome in trying to one up everything that they want to touch. This movie is of course no exception to that syndrome as this movie tried to also pile in way too healthy heapings of American Heroism (otherwise known as Individual Heroism), a Love story, and the usual hippy like fervor against all things military.

So I’ll admit that I didn’t actually buy this DVD. I decided on taking advantage of The Pirate Bay with the exclusive intent that if this movie was good enough, I’d actually spend the money on getting it from my local Wal*Mart or cheapskate store that sells them when they reach bargain bin. The first thing I noticed of course – besides the glowing praise of a good DVD rip – as the anger (and disgust) form leechers from around the world that Americans were once again trying their hand at a Japanese Monster Movie once again. One of the most comical comments I read was the one that said, “Bryan Cranston’s in it, and any movie that has Bryan Cranston in it can’t be bad…” The response to that was, “[Cranston] dies within 15 minutes of the film, and after that it blows chunks…”

I chuckled at it while I picked up the magnet for it and while watching it, realized it wasn’t entirely true. Cranston’s character was pronounced dead at 42 minutes into it.

Sure there were some names in this film after Cranston dies – the scientist played by Ken Watanabe, the Navy Admiral played by David Strathairn – but on the whole, it was a film of mostly unknown and untried actors. So far, that’s about right given that Sony (then Toho) Studios but I think the true reason was because anyone that remembers the names that worked in the Emmerich Abomination™ (Reno, Savant and Broderick) would run away from the thought of doing a remake for the sake of their careers and unborn children. Or as an agent would tell the actor they represent, “Take my advice and if anyone asks why you didn’t audition for the role, tell them… you weren’t available…”

Unlike the Emmerich Abomination™, it was decided to have two different monsters in this film: Godzilla and a male (and female) MUTO (Massive Unknown Terrestrial Organism). Americans missed the mark here, but this is because of a cultural difference more than anything else. The Japanese love giving everything a label or a name that stands out. Mothra, Gyaos, Gamera, Hedora and on and on and on. Americans love their acronyms. So instead of giving it a name – usually done by the scientist – they gave it an acronym clearly indicating that they’re not going to last.

One of the points American Producers and Director seem to have finally clued into was that Godzilla wasn’t actually the villain. Barring the original 1954 release that was more a warning of the hubris of man that caused a creature to make the potential extinction of mankind – like they did in the Emmerich Abortion™ – Godzilla was there mucking up the US Navy and San Francisco to get at the MUTO to “restore balance” to the planet. While this message was more than a bit heavy-handed – something only Americans seem to love to do – at least the scale, fire-breathing monster didn’t go all hating on the silly Homosapiens that often were in its path.

Another thing that seemed to have been missed is how the scientist was pretty much ignored by the military. While it’s not entirely surprising given that a majority of Hollywood’s producers, directors and productions houses absolutely abhor the military (by making them appear as tank-brained, war mongers) at least it seemed that the military was out for the common good of the people. While this might come close to what I remember of the military in the tons of monster movies I’ve been watching since I was a child, it still gets a mark against it as Americans don’t seem to entirely understand how the military still deferred to the scientists that had been studying the monster(s). Then again this is definitely a cultural difference that doesn’t translate well to American Individualism.

I find myself torn on the level of panic and the amount of focus TPTB had on the “little people” in this film. What I mean is the hero’s medical wife, his son and the people that were being evacuated from the epicenter of monster destruction. This also includes the Golden Gate Bridge and Levi’s Stadium (or was it supposed to be AT&T Park? I don’t know and frankly I didn’t care to stick around to check it in the credits) where the survivors collected in the aftermath. While I understand the importance of showing panicking humans when it comes to a rampaging set of monsters destroying the town you’re living in, there seemed to have way too much focus on the twanging of the good old heart-strings of family reunions. While it has always existed in the monster movies I’ve watched, at the same time it seemed too focus on the individualism of the panicked instead of simply using them to show the orderly evacuation of the affected people from the epicenter.

And finally, the TPTB missed the “magic” of Godzilla. While they did a good job trying to show how unstoppable Godzilla was, they seemed to have spent too much time trying to establish the reality of an atomic mutated, unstoppable, fire-breathing monster from the prehistoric past, they missed the point that Godzilla was never really… well, real. Making him real was too surreal. And in doing that it ruined any magic we might have remembered of Godzilla from our childhood.

Bottom Line: While my vitriol went down as the movie progressed, I couldn’t shake the feeling that while this was a better attempt at an Americanized version of the Japanese icon, Americans still aren’t quite getting it because of a combination of cultural differences and what I’ve seen of my generation trying to make what they grew up with… well grow up with them. They miss the biggest point in that some things don’t need to be matured: and this was one of them. It’s worth a one-watch, but “owning” it? No, it’s really not worth it.

Preoccupations, Distractions and Drama

07/26/2014 Comments off

Entry 07/25/2014 01:02:38 PM – Mentat 706

As the month is coming to a close, and the laziness of summer is still upon me I’ve got to say that what we’ve gotten for the summer so far has felt quite atypical to me. While it’s had its typical moments of heat and humidity; there have been quite a few days like today: the free of humidity sort of days after a storm front has cut through the Tundras of New England. This is the sort of thing that I got rather used to living in the Crotch of the Bible Belt (Atlanta, GA) and during the winter. The difference though is that the amount of humidity during the summer feels infinitely more oppressive than getting it in the winter.

So there’s a couple of things to cover from the last time I sat down and wrote a journal entry. Sure, I didn’t write or even create all that much in the last couple of weeks; mostly because the temperatures has been swinging like a pendulum between beautiful and absolutely fucking miserable. Sure I have air conditioning and while it’s not the sort of necessary BTU’s to keeping the whole of the house cool (and dry), closing certain doors (and curtains) keep the vital rooms at least comfortable to sit in for the duration of the day until the sun goes down and everything outside is cooling off appropriately.

Fun thing about that was that I learned where the threshold for the fuses for the house are. Didn’t experience it the first couple of times I experimented, nothing really annoying occurred — and so I thought that the electrical balance for the household was better than my mother’s. Then when I was warming leftovers in the microwave and sitting at the desk waiting patiently for it to finish while the fans were running and the AC was quietly pushing cooler air into the kitchen, everything in the house shut down or went blank. A quick rush to the basement and fighting the eroding stairs and busy cobweb spiders, I was able to reset the power without my UPS trying to turn off my computer after an allotted amount of time (to conserve battery power). So like my mother, I need to shut off the AC if I’m going to use the microwave to warm up my food or else everything will shut down.

Then there was the beginning of the week where at 3:30 PM, it was time to go for a walk with my mother and her monster child Jack. My mother’s been walking the dog more the last couple of weeks to get her out of the house for some exercise and to get her used to walking the dog when I’m not around. Normally I’m just there for moral support and to teach my mother the commands the dog’s gotten used to (I don’t use heel or stay, as I use Stop and Go instead). Also to teach her how to handle the dog when he decides on going ape-shit (and more importantly how to avoid the potential). Of course, it doesn’t help matters any as the last month of so, Jack’s been getting more hyper and spastic about the potential of seeing dogs (or more importantly anything larger than an English Sparrow that he could bark at and/or chase) during the 3:30 PM walk.

My mother, Jack and I were in the parking lot on Adams Street on the way to the field off of Marcello and Atwells, when I was dawdling between Adams St and my apartment as I was indecisive about going back to the apartment about a piece of mail I was expecting and catching up with the two of them heading toward the field. Deciding against going back to the apartment, I was a bit behind my mother trying to get nearer to her and the dog when Jack saw another dog and its owner in the field and went completely ape-shit.

Needless to say that my mother wasn’t prepared for him going insane and bee-lining at the dog in the field and while she was braced, Jack pulled her off her feet and proceeded to drag her down the remainder of Adams Street and onto Marcello before I was able to get hold of him by the harness and get him to calm down a bit.

The poor man that was walking his dog in the field looked completely mortified at the fiasco, apologized and tried to get himself and his dog as far away from my mother sprawled on the road as he possibly could.

Jack only calmed down enough to get him back to the house after a couple of swats to the nose, and I only did so at my mother’s request. Though getting back to her after putting the dog at the house did I realize her ankle wasn’t the way it’s supposed to. We both had hoped it was a sprain, but given the shape of the ankle along with the connecting bones — my mother was more sure it was completely broken.

She was also scraped up along her right hand and arm and a bit of her shoulder from the pull down and drag across the asphalt. The thing about my mother (and her mother — my grandmother (RIP)) is the way that if they’ve had an accident in the street, they stay put and not move… In spite of the fact that they’re in the way of any incoming traffic. If I didn’t know any better she did it expecting the police to suddenly show up and witness it as a crime scene or something.

Hell, I tried to convince her when she was insistent I head back to her place and pick up some band aids, towels and antiseptic to move her ass to the sidewalk and out of the road while I’m getting the stuff… But of course she won’t have anything of it. She stayed where she was and waited for me to get back.

A few minutes passed between my going back to her place to pick up what she requested, and getting back to her while she was checking the cuts and scrapes she got from being dragged across the road. A few minutes after that it and after the call to her husband telling him he’ll need to find alternative transportation as she was unable to drive because of her right foot being broken and needing to go to the emergency room.

Then came the final part of the ordeal — supporting her while we hopped and hobbled our way from the corner of Marcello and Adams street to the car in the driveway. Sure, it’s less than 170 feet (51’ish meters) but when you’re trying to support someone that’s stubborn about help and tiring rather easily – it might as well have been a mile.

Fortunately for us, one of our neighbors was on his way to the garage so that he could take his motorbike for a spin and he was gracious enough to help us get her to the car so that she could sit there waiting for her husband get back to the house so they can scoot off to the Emergency Room of the nearby hospital (Roger Williams Hospital).

The final verdict after almost 4 hours at the ER: She had fractured her ankle, completely removing the tibia and fibula from her anklebone. After seeing the orthopedic doctor about it yesterday — it looks like they’re going to need to do an ankle reconstruction involving pins and a plate which is going to be performed this Monday.

My aunt on the other hand, hasn’t exactly been the model of compassion through all of this, as my mother’s pulled me off my aunt’s request for me to head up to the trailer park of the state (Woonsocket) to set up her e-mail so that she can read it in off-line mode. Stories there on that, but I’ll save that for another time. This of course will open up the same old BS with her when I do eventually go up there that will start with such things as, “When uncle…” (her brother) “…calls, you drop everything to help him. But you don’t do the same for me.”

What she always seems to forget is that Uncle calls and schedules something a week (or longer in advance). He always sets which date it’s going to be. None of this, “is this day good… is that day good…” never makes noise about picking me up at my apartment in Providence to bring me to his place out in BFE in Foster/Gloucester (and yes, that’s pronounced GLAW-stah). He basically understands the three-day rule because he lives by it as well. Nothing’s ever sudden or off schedule and if it is, it’s pushed farther ahead.

My aunt doesn’t though. Not in the least. Everything must be dropped immediately and if the schedule can’t be done when she needs, well… manners fly out the window.

My mother talked with her this afternoon on her way back from the CAT Scan and my aunt completely forgot (read: ignored) her pissy attitude from the day before.

[Last Edited: 7/26/2014 4:39:53 PM]

Finally comes the last part of what I’ve been doing during my down-time/lazy days of summer here in the Tundras of New England. I’m not entirely sure how I want to label it; but it’s been partially educational — and I have gotten quite a lot of entertainment from it. Partially it’s been an obsession with me trying to understand (and unravel it). Partially because of the fascination of how such things attract so many people (usually youngins) to watch, subscribe and comment.

What I’m talking about are Youtubers.

Truth be told, I can’t exactly remember how I stumbled across the ones that I did… Part of it I think had to do with how YouTube gave me random recommended when I was sitting at my computer and looking for something to watch without committing to watching something for hours. The rest of it had to do with my ending up in bed at the end of a day, and popping YouTube onto my iPod Touch and watching a bit of something as I either fell asleep – or worse – the random bouts of insomnia I’d get from suddenly waking up at 2 in the morning and not falling back to sleep until almost 4 AM.

Almost two weeks into this momentary obsession (and just the other day), I talked to Glenn (yes, my favourite attention whore and friend) about the discoveries I had made…. And of course being the sort of curmudgeon-in-training that he often is — went off on his usual tear of how fake and pretentious the lot of them are, using the usual disgust and sneer that he has for anyone (and anything) that caters to the 14 year-old girl mentality that he hates dealing with so much in daMN chat and on Tumblr, I personally gibe him relentlessly on it because of how he hates the competition for Queen Attention Whore™ that he gets from 14 year old girls. Well that and he’s so much like a 14 year old girl sometimes. But I’ll digress from my usual argumentative banter with him as this paragraph is sure to cause him to respond later on.

Then again the discussion Glenn and I had about Google/YouTube’s secret algorithm as I linked earlier is probably the culprit between why I ended up with the recommendations I get versus the recommendations he gets. I had been a bit more blunt about it, snarking the ever living shit out of him stating his love of crap videos and checking out the kind of garbage that 14 year old girls squee on is why he ends up with the pretentious, oftentimes fake and extremely controversial YouTubers he gets to watch. I thought about mentioning names as examples, but I won’t.. It’s about tastes and opinions and unfortunately for Glenn sometimes, he gets it in his head to chase after the things girls squee over so he can snark them, deride them and sneer because of his superiority instead of finding the sort of people and channels that would help with a more positive opinion.

While I only subscribe to 2, I find myself watching quite a few more for various reasons. Following is that list of YouTubers I watch regularly and/or subscribe to:

  • Oli White. The first YouTuber I officially subscribed to (though not the first that I watched). Something about his nose and jaw line reminds me a lot of Callum. While Mr. White’s not as tall as Callum (a few inches shorter), there’s also something about his perfectionistic approach that I can strongly relate to. I honestly think it’s going to be interesting to witness when Mr. White reaches the culmination of life experiences that will either change his views to being more of a perfectionist or less. I strongly believe less of a perfectionist than more, but in any case it’ll be intriguing to watch.
  • Tyler Oakley. The amount of energy this man can produce is staggering. While he describes himself as Ellen DeGeneres’ doppelganger; with the glasses that he wears, Mr. Oakley reminds me more of a young Peter Billinglsey from “A Christmas Story” (Ralphie). With the amount of energy that he has and the way he can remain so exuberant in front of and behind the camera he reminds me a lot of my adopted son Keagan. The guild I was part of on Rift (I still am, but not playing that game as much because of the summer and the amount of heat that game generates with my PC) would label him “Out the Window Gay”. Sure they mean it in a good way and have referred to me the same way once or twice; but I’m not quite out the window as they think I am. And certainly not as much as Mr. Oakley can be. Combine this with his enthusiasm that I find watching his channel the most infectious.
  • Marcus Butler. Admittedly I first thought he was Australian until I started watching him more and realized he was a ‘southerner’ (Bristol, UK area). It was thanks to my experience with watching/chatting with Londoners, Cornish, Midlands, Geordies and the Welsh that hearing Mr. Butler talking that I finally got a handle on the various accents of the UK. I’m not exactly sure what it is about Mr. Butler that I keep watching him. Something about his personality or the qualities that he projects that reminds me of someone (or something), but I can’t put my finger on what it is. It’s enough for me to maintain curiosity until I figure out what and why.
  • Joe Sugg. And indirectly with his sister, Zoe. There’s something about Mr. Sugg’s snarkish attitude that I find amusing. Even hilarious at some points. It’s also comical the sort of competitiveness that Mr. Sugg has with his sister. That and Mr. Sugg’s use of some (British) slang is enough to keep me on my toes. Oh and he’s an easy mark for practical jokes. There’s something about the straight man that I find enduring.
  • Doug Armstrong. The second YouTuber I subscribed to, mainly because of some of his extremely easy, no-nonsense cooking he does on his channel. Well that and his absolute love of cheesecake and deserts.. And anyone that loves cheesecake at his level can’t be at all bad.
  • Louis Cole. Pronounced (Loo-EE as opposed to the typical American Lew-ISS). Quite possibly the only YouTuber that took me quite a lot of his videos and a long time for me to warm up to. And I believe he might actually be the third that I subscribe to watch regularly. He reminds me strongly of the hippies my parents used to hang around with when I was a child coupled with the Radical Faeries I used to hang around with when I lived in Atlanta, GA. I think I was sort of put off with his “relaxed” attitude but realized that this was only a veneer to a very subtle easy-going’ish come adventurous approach that he actually has to everything. That and his love of coffee. Instant respect right there.

There’s so many others, I could mention I watch, but instead I’ll just give honorable mentions. MarkE Miller (who is the first YouTuber that I actually watched) along with his boyfriend Ethan Hethcote, Connor Franta (though there’s something about his Wisconsin/Minnesota attitude that puts me off. Well other than watching this video which has me cackling with sadistic glee), Good Mythical Morning, Alfie Deyes/PointlessBlog, Troye Sivan (and yes, he has an Australian Accent), Caspar Lee, Sawyer Hartman (although I find it camp when he and Tyler Oakley have their drinking contests), Joey Graceffa (from the Tundras of New England, even though he has a habit of hiding the Yankee accent when he’s in front of the camera) and finally Will Shepherd

Thinking about it as I was proofing this part of the entry, it’s like the old Public Access video channels on local cable television back in the day when I was used to watch it living here in Providence with Darin (early 90s). To answer the question I have in my head and knowing a couple of my friends would ask — would I do it? Would I put my memories to video? Nope. It won’t ever happen. I like my old-fashioned method of writing. I’ve been writing a journal since I was 17. I don’t see any reason whatsoever to change on this either. When I can’t type because of arthritis, I might consider it. Until then I will remain in print.

That’s about it for the time being. Off to make supper and perhaps to blow up things before I pass out with Moe. Until the next time.

Cat, Health and the general wackiness of another year

05/03/2014 Comments off

Entry 05/03/2014 12:01:11 PM – Mentat 697

Good ol’ Moe. During my being the pack mule for my mother yesterday, I had the opportunity to pick up a replacement cardboard cat scratcher for him (as he had dug to the bottom on the two ends that he uses). So I loaded it up with a little catnip as the same incentive to using it instead of the rug in the kitchen. It looks like I used too much because he stayed near to it like a drunken addict. He turned it over twice to get the catnip all over the rug and floor. He tore the corrugated part of the scratcher out in order to get to the catnip at the bottom and chewed on it — getting himself high as a kite in the process. I had to put it out of range for him last night because I wanted to sleep without him going mad on it. This morning, I put it back down on the floor and he ignored it for the most part — mostly because I think he found the house cold from my leaving the windows open through the night — but when I was getting ready to leave, there he went at it again. Not for long though — it seems that some of it got onto the rug as he happily was rubbing himself into the rug. Heh, the funny thing is that he looks dusty and dirty again, even after I got him brushed clean.

In other news for my happy little pain in the ass. He’s eating the wet again… Well sort of. He licks all the gravy out of the wet food and leaves the chunks of it. I learned to puree the remaining wet food with a bit of water and by the next morning — it’s all gone. Oh I know, this is the sort of thing that’s indicative of gingivitis. It’s not though as he also gets a small bowl of kibble — and he also finishes the kibble in about a day/day and a half. So in the end — he’s eating well, drinking his fill (without the constant trips to the bathtub faucet), and burning out his energy with playing daily. Heh, now if only I can get him to stop being such a scaredy cat whenever someone comes to the door (family mainly) or call out to him when he’s sitting in the window — and he’ll be more amicable to the world at large.

In the land of Computers and annoyances… I had to swap out my flavour of Linux from Mint 15 to Xubuntu 14.04 (LTS) on the laptop. Those of you that have me in your Facebook feed probably saw my message of anger and annoyance at the Mint team that did a slack-ass/lazy re-branding of Ubuntu 13.10 to Mint 16. Those of you that didn’t — let me put it to you this way — the same problem that I experienced when trying to load up Xubuntu 13.10 on this laptop transferred to Mint 16 (code name: Petra). That is the constantly running display (and constantly running processor) dimmer problem — in spite of the scads of complaints about it with people on the Ubuntu forums.

Xubuntu 14.04 seems to have worked out that problem, except for the dimmer when swapping to Screen-saver as it seems to act up then for a bit. But as I don’t normally need to worry about screen burn-in when I’m at the laptop, I simply chose to disable the screen-saver and went directly to shutting off the screen after 90 minutes. Problem solved there.

Consequently, because of the roll out of the new version of the Linux OS, Syncdrive — a Google Drive Synchronization program I used to use on Mint has been blown out because it’s requiring a version the Libboost that doesn’t load in Ubuntu/Xubuntu 14.04. I tried loading up 1.54 for Libboost and that didn’t work. Tried to go back to 1.49 and it wouldn’t load up because remnants of 1.54 remained on the system even after being totally removed through synaptic and terminal. So I blew away the operating system one more time and decided it was high time to go look for an alternative sync program given the maker of Syncdrive only does this part time (and uses too many stop gaps until he has time to work on the problem). Enter Grive.

Grive has an auto-sync function that while I think runs a bit more than my Drive does at home — at least I can shut off the notifications and let it do it’s own thing without the mother-monitoring that I’ve been doing with it since I’ve installed it. And so far has been running to the standards I expect of both the not-installed Syncdrive and the Google Drive for Windows. I’ll check in with Syncdrive to see if they’ve addressed the problems I’ve experienced and corrected its installation.

Then there was the black-screen that I used to get on the desktop playing certain games… Turns out the nVidia forums are all abuzz about that blaming the newest version of the video drivers for this problem. Seemed to happen more commonly (like at least once a day) when I left the default audio drivers (that I don’t need) installed. It’s still there, but not as common. If it happens during a missions in any game, I’m going to do what they suggest and roll back to the drivers from January, 2014 as I didn’t have any problems with them in the time I didn’t upgrade (until the end of last month). Though so far *touching wood* it only happens when cutting between cut scenes.

As for me… It’s May… It’s spring… it’s just a little more than a month away ’til I turn ½ century old. Christ on a Drunken Rampage… 50… Hard to imagine I made it this far eh? As getting to Middle-aged 5 year ago, I’m probably going to take it in stride. Sure there’s been some annoying bodily changes, but at least I’ve got my health still even if my sanity sometimes feels a bit frayed. Though that’s something I’ll think more about next month as it’ll be less than 2 weeks before my birthday.

Last week I had a hell of a reaction to the left-over ham I had in the fridge. Something about the type of nitrates on it caused a reaction in my mouth (and more specifically gums). The remaining primary tooth that I have; the gums holding it in place reacted to it, causing me pain whenever I tried to chew on that side of the mouth. Not too hard to switch to the other side (after all, I’m left-handed and the left side just as natural for me as the right), but at one point a couple of days ago, I ended up having an allergic sensitivity in my mouth when I tried having a sliced chicken breast sandwich (another form of nitrates). It felt like I had Novocain without the annoyance of drooling from it. At least during the day… At night, was another story. I was drooling like a teething infant. As of yesterday it’s all passed. The tingling/numbness is gone and I can chew even the hardest things I usually eat on the right side of my mouth without pain or discomfort. Good thing too — I was getting tired of eating oatmeal for breakfast in the morning..

I’m still getting used to the neighborhood here, though I can see my mother and I are going to probably start a crusade against Tammany Hall across the street on Atwells Ave. Seems that closing time during the weekends now that the weather’s gotten warm enough to leave the windows open during the evening and night — the folk there are getting louder and louder. We’re not talking the usual noise one expects when a place is clearing out at closing time. We’re talking the type of screaming, car banging, engine revving asshattery that shouldn’t be going on in a mixed commercial/residential neighborhood. Since my mentioning the drunken slapper that was screaming at her car demanding that it magically opened it’s doors… We’ve had racing up and down Atwells (that eventually involved a high-speed police car chase), a parade of cars and horns at 2:30 in the morning. A fist-fight that involved banging someone against a car on Piedmont Street (side street off of Atwells Ave), and the general sort of ruckus that if it were in any other neighborhood — police would be involved immediately. Sad too given we have another bar right nearby (Lili Marlene’s) and the clientele there are and always have been quiet… Even at closing time we don’t ever hear much of their clients leaving for the night. They just leave quietly at closing time. More on this in the future, I have no doubts..

Well, that’s about it for the time being. My mother’s on her way home from her errands (mix up/mess up from out run about yesterday), and I should be packing up. Until the next time.