Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Another Aftermath…

01/29/2015 Comments off

Entry 01/28/2015 07:47:35 AM – Mentat 863

So the first big snowstorm has hit the area and moved on. While I’m a bit hesitant branding it the “Blizzard of 2015” I can safely say it was a blizzard. While it wasn’t as bad as the Blizzard of 1978 that I can still easily recall, it was certainly worse than most of the snowstorms that we’ve had hit the area since I’ve moved back to the Tundras of New England in 2006. I know I’ll be going out there shortly, but refuse at the moment because I need to eat and then I need to have my coffee before I face any heavy activity that’s coupled with geniality with my neighbors. If I skip out on the coffee, the neighbors could face the Wrath of Michael™… An ugly monster that makes Michael Myers (of Halloween fame) look like Susie Homemaker. But I digress. The purpose of this is both observations and chastisements. To the media, to the Local and State Governments and finally to the Citizens at large. This is based on the observations and experiences I’ve had both as the teenager in 1978 and the middle-aged man that I now am in 2015.

While I know that compassion should be practiced in order to yield positive results, the issues that I’m going to address here require force, passion and strength to initiate the necessary breakings of bad habits in order to transform them to better habits. 

The Media

To Channels 6, 10, and 12… To the local AM & FM radio stations that contributed to this… To the Producers, Managers, Meteorologists and even Directors that control broadcasting of this information to the general public. Doppler weather and all these supposed tools boasted on each of the channels that are easily access to all you — the meteorologists to get pinpoint weather accuracy — should be able to tell you when the storm is going to hit, how hard it’s going to hit, and what areas are going to be impacted the hardest. Yet today, you’re no more nor less accurate since the Blizzard that hit in 1978. You still have an equal amount of misses as you do successful predictions.

There’s a saying, “A meteorologist can be more than 80% wrong, and still keep their jobs…”

With this in mind, this doesn’t mean that for rating’s sake you should be broadcasting up to the minute news on the storm beating the brush like hunters to cause the public to fall into a state of panic. Sure, you’ve been fortunate… So far… that injuries and/or deaths have not occurred by the panic that was caused by the sensationalistic reporting of this storm as “The Blizzard of 2015!” and then continued to beat on that phrase like teenagers to a new slang word from Urban Dictionary (or for you business types like the new catchphrase of new technology).

But, it’s only a matter of time before the panic caused by this sensationalism does in fact injure or kill someone.

The fact is, as I have reached the half-century mark I have seen that the social climate has indeed been more prone to panic now than what I remember of the 70s and 80s. While I would like to find and blame a culprit to this (and know it’s not 9/11 in this case, but it did contribute), the fact is that it’s a scary world and the irresponsible method for reporting the news all for the sake of ratings smacks of harum-scarum. Yellow-Journalism. The kind of sensationalism that creates needless fear, uncertainty and doubt (of FUD as I used to call it in various discussions) and causes people to draw the wrong conclusions at the wrong times.

So you channels and the news teams that run those channels missed the call in 1978 when that blizzard hit. I get it. But at the same time it doesn’t mean that you — the people that bring such news — need to overcompensate each and every year since 1978 by scaring people needlessly and witlessly?

It doesn’t take much for you (the meteorologists, directors or producers), to look out the window, get out on the streets, even drive in traffic to see the panic your news reports of this storm have created. Hell, get an intern to report it back to you.

Taking my daily walk around 4 PM on Monday night, I saw the panic it was creating by the traffic jams, the stops ups, the bottlenecks and the panic-induced anger in drivers rushing to get out of the city (of Providence). The routine horn-blowing that I heard when I was walking Broadway was mildly amusing, but hearing it when I was coming up Federal Street was extremely sad given it was near constant and could see on the streets that emptied onto Broadway that the traffic had completely stopped.

Finally don’t put the blame for your lack of responsibility of reporting to the masses that follow you. Don’t blame them for the panic that was caused. You’re equally responsible for the blame for the panic created with the masses for those news reports, interruptions and “up-to-the-minute” weathercasts that went out from the morning when it was discovered a storm was coming to well after 6 PM when there was about an inch of snow on the ground.

If you don’t think you’re responsible, ponder this. Screaming “fire” in a crowed theater means the person doing that screaming is liable for all damage and/or panic caused by the participants at that theater. When it does end up being proven a death or a number of deaths were caused by your shield clattering about this weather — in the Litigious Society – It’s only a matter of time before someone gets it into their head to sue the channel they were watching. Do we actually have to wait until this happens before you channels (and the teams that run them) learn to cut back and learn sensibility? You might think that you’re protected by the First Amendment and the subsequent laws that were made to cover the media… But in a Mommy Government keep it up and watch how those rights that have protected you whittle down to nothing.

Local & State Government

To the current Governor and announcements made in the early afternoon. I understand that you wanted to feel responsible for the voting public in the coming storm. At the same time, declaring a state of emergency and also putting a travel ban into effect at midnight from early afternoon smacked of the same irresponsibility that the News had about beating the public into a frenzy. Strange, I know that a state of emergency can be called at any time, yet my experience with them up until the 21st century has been that it’s done after the fact and not before. You (and your office) are equally to blame for the panic that I was seeing on the streets.

Don’t get me wrong, for the most part the state government’s answering to the growing panic was good. Though, it could have been better. While my suggestions that I have in my head smack of violating the First Amendment of government interfering with the media, I think something needs to be worked out between the state and the news sources in acting far more responsible for the current good of the public instead of one source causing the fires and the other source trying its best to putting the fires out.

To the Current Mayor of Providence, before you go patting yourself on the back on how well you did, allow me to point out something that continued since your predecessor: Angel Tavares. That is the irresponsible allocation of city resources to the plowing of the streets of the City of Providence. From my house on Piedmont Street in Federal Hill, I heard plows going up the street (on Piedmont) with some regularity well past 10 PM when there was nothing more than a couple of inches of snow on the ground. Having woke up several times through the night, I saw well into the early morning little snowfall or drifting until almost 5 AM when it began picking up. When I was out attempting to shovel exits from my door and the door of the house at 6 Piedmont St (where my mother lives), I could see heavy plows (the size of dump trucks) routinely plowing Atwells Ave.

Sometime before 2:30 PM on Tuesday it appeared that a plow did make an attempt to go up Piedmont Street and stopped at 6 Piedmont causing a road block larger than a hook and ladder could push through; making it impossible to pass if there had been any fire on this street. Or even an ambulance if there were a medical emergency. Sure the fire hydrant that supplied this area of Piedmont street was in fact cleared, thanks largely to the high winds that whipped through the area, but would have been useless because of the wall of snow created by that one attempt would cause a stop and delay of the fire department trying to respond.

While it was nice that the trucks did resume plowing up Piedmont and Adams Street after 7 PM, waking up this morning, the residents saw that not only was the fire hydrant was completely buried but any sander that was plowing the street had the distributor for that sand and salt set too high and ended up sanding the banks of snow against the side of the road and not the road itself!

What a complete mismanagement of resources! As I said this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this. I’ve seen this in the years I’ve lived in the Valley and had to trudge up Federal Hill to make sure my mother was doing all right. Plows pushing about the streets when there’s little snow, and then disappear when the real storm starts. Because of this poor activity and mismanagement of resources, I get the distinct impression that the Department of Public Works was told to “look busy” at the beginning of the storm and then told to back off until much later.

This is how you save money? By looking busy when the accumulated snow is low to the ground and then disappear when the real storm hits?!?

Quite the change since I was in elementary school and through junior and senior high school (and after the Blizzard of 1978) when I recall seeing the plows out on the streets when there was more than 4 inches of snow accumulated on the ground regardless of the time. It didn’t matter whether it was 10 PM, 2 AM, 4 AM or any other time of the day and night. When it was a hazard to drive, the Department of Public Works was out plowing — regardless of cars (and parking bans) out on the street.

These employees knew of the hazards and the responsibilities of doing their job. They knew that it was potentially a 24 hours a day on-call job and worked them. They knew that it was also for the safety of the city and the residents coming in and going out of the city. And talking to a couple in recent years, I know that these plow operators smile when they mention how much money they get for being on-call. So it’s not a matter of initiative that they do what they do; it’s a matter of being authorized. So that blame falls on you — and your office — to getting it done correctly. While I might not be a fan of you or your predecessor, I know in the past other mayors have been able to “getting it done”, so it raises the question: What’s your excuse?

You want an attaboy? All right, I’ll give you one… For you, your office and the Department of Public Works for putting Adams Street back on the plowing map. While it seriously needs salting, both my neighbors and I have commented that this year, “was the best we had seen Adams Street in a long time…” Had your predecessor gave that road the same attention during his time in office, my mother wouldn’t have spent the first five months of the 2014 year in the hospital and housebound for the broken hip she had suffered from the 6 inches of snow and ice that were left on Adams Street last year for being neglected from routine city plowing because there happened to be no houses facing onto that street. Don’t worry though, we’re not the sort of people to bring the city to court for this neglect. We prefer to bitch about it when the time’s right. And the time is right.

This attaboy is conditional, of course, because the Department of Public Works is also responsible for the Atwells Avenue Bridge above Route 6 that always is a safety hazard for any pedestrians trying to use it as they make their way to the Supermarket during the winter. It has been done in the past by the offices that answer to you. I remember this from my teenage years and traveling to the Almacs that was at the bottom of that hill.

Because believe me, there’s a hell of lot of pedestrian traffic over that bridge at all times of the year. You, anyone from your office or from the Department of Public Works are invited to stop by the bridge to see the telltale signs of that walking traffic on the bridge as the footprints turn to ice from defrosting and refreezing from November to April.

That attaboy is also conditional in your involvement in motivating the landlords and property owners of the City of Providence for doing what is required of them for the sidewalk areas of the streets where their property is located. As I recall from growing up and living in several cities in this state that the landlord and land owners of any properly within the confines of any city are responsible for keeping their sidewalks — not just their driveways — clear for pedestrian traffic. I recall it being taught to me when I was a teenager that I had to shovel the driveway and sidewalks for my step-father’s house. Because failing to do so entailed fines toward my step-father to the sidewalks abutting ALL his property.

I know the initiative with fines (and prison sentences) work having experienced it first-hand being a tourist to San Francisco and Los Angeles and watching drivers stop the instant my foot hit the crosswalk on the street. This happened regardless of the color of the pedestrian crosswalk signal. Quite impressive given that we have laws here in Rhode Island that state the Pedestrian always has the right of way, and can still be hit by drivers ignoring the crossing pedestrian.

Post Edit: I just came in after assisting my 80+ year old landlord with clearing pathways through the snow for his property and he informed me that he had received a notice from the state that fines can reach upward to $500 for violations for not making a clear path on the sidewalks for pedestrians. This is several years old… Make sure – Your Honor – that you enforce these laws. Issuing such threats are useless unless you follow up on them by issuing fines against all transgressors, not the ones you can easily find. After all, this is the Information Age; if I can find he name and contact information of a landlord for a property in question, so can you.

The Rest (That’s the citizens of the City & State)

No amount of cussing or swearing can be done by me to express the level of disgust I have for my peers and the residents living in this state (and the tri-state area) that I encountered before this storm. The panic shopping, the panic driving to get home before the storm hit, the road rage I was seeing of people as they were stuck in traffic. The complete selfishness and lack of empathy that occurs during the storm. And no amount of being friendly banter or joviality after the storm is going to salve this disgust.

As I’ve said I’m 50 years old. More than 40 years of it has been in the State of Rhode Island. In my lifetime, I have endured 7 hurricanes, more than 12 tropical storms, more than a couple of floods, a couple of tornados (some of them here in the Rhode Island area), and in my lifetime of travel, a typhoon, a waterspout and almost had the pleasure of encountering a tsunami. I have survived these in houses more than a century old, in tents (yes, one of them occurred when I was a teen and camping with the Boy Scouts at Camp Yagoog when I was a pre-teen), when I was driving, leaving work to head home to Woonsocket in a little Datsun B210 that had as much weight and traction as a bicycle on an ice skating rink. And of course more snow storms, ice storms and blizzards than I could shake a stick at. Yes, including the Blizzard of 1978 when I had the pleasure of riding for my life in a bus on icy and slippery roads. Where the bus driver was Christian enough to say, “get on, I’ll get you home” when I never took buses to junior high school because I didn’t live far enough away from the school or my family couldn’t afford the fees along with the school’s tuition (this was Mount St. Charles Academy). So yes, I’ve survived through my fair share of storms.

I’m still alive. I’m still in good health and pretty sane through all these storms.

Yet the amount of panic and rage I was seeing was disgusting. Between people rushing to the markets for Milk, Bread, Eggs, Bottled Water and even Junk Food for the coming storm. To people screaming out the windows at the people in front of them when they weren’t moving fast enough. To people riding their horns thinking this will make those in front of them move faster.

At one point during my daily walk, I was telling the people screaming or yelling out the window of their cars or beeping their horns in rage that the traffic’s blocked all the way up to the on-ramps of the highway they themselves were aiming for. The dirty looks I was getting (for having a wan smile on my face) were amazing.

The thing is, this is New England! The weather here frequently makes local and national news. The calamities that come (and go) through the years is as tumultuous as it has been capricious. It’s the kind of drama remembered by ourselves, our grandparents and the old timers that have told us about what it was like when they were children. New England doesn’t have the sort of calm and lazy weather as San Diego has. As Florida gets when it’s outside of Hurricane Season. We don’t have the sort of calm 4 seasons weather written about in books, seen on our favorite shows on television, or heard about in stories. Sure, these idyllic seasons happen sometimes, but at the same time we New Englanders know about Mother Nature’s tantrums. And year after every year, like clockwork New Englanders panic because they’re like Chicken Little thinking the world is going to end because of some blizzard (in the winter) or hurricane (in the summer) or some flooding (in the spring) is about to strike. Like this is the first time it’s going to happen and proceed to act like Rhode Island is going to slide into the Atlantic with this (or that) storm’s passing.

I can deal with the whinging, the whining, the complaints that come with the threats of city and state stopping weather. This is New England — that’s what we do as well: complain up a storm about the things out of our control. But this panic? Ugh, it’s both tiring and draining. It accomplishes nothing.

Don’t like the weather? Think it’s better elsewhere? Fine. Leave. Find somewhere in the world to settle where you think the weather’s idyllic. Where it’s predictable. Where it’s what you want to look forward to. Because don’t for once think that this is the LAST time this sort of storm is going to happen in your lifetime. It continues to happen and has, long before The Year with No Summer.

You’re going to find where you thought was idyllic has its own issues. I can tell you from experience the mass migration of Midwesterners to the Atlanta area were quite shocked that Atlanta got snow and ice in the winter — worse than the state they left and made worse because the Department of Public Works there was in crappier shape than the area they left. Believe me, I told them when the Midwesterners bitched and moaned about the ice and snow that if they were looking forward winters with no snow and ice when they moved to the area that they should have kept going until they saw palm trees along the highway. Yes, the Ice Storms in the Atlanta pale in comparison to the ice storms we get here in New England. Four of them happened in the 10 years I lived there. Then there’s the heat (and humidity) of the South and Midwest. The mud slides and the forest fires of the west coast. The flooding and hurricanes of the Mid-Atlantic. Nowhere you go in the country is going to be the sort of “nice” you dream about. And best (or worst) of all, you’ll probably end up back here (like I did after a decade in the South), because yep… Something about New England always calls us home. Even if that call means coming home in a pine box.

So suck it up and deal with it.

Because you — the public — are as much to blame about this panic as the news that beat you into the frenzy they did with their sensationalism and ratings grab reporting the “Blizzard of 2015” every 10 minutes. Because of whatever delusions you had going in your head that such weather we just survived through never happens here. Or the delusion that makes you think this won’t ever happen again.

I’ll say this as I wrap up. Because if you’re reading this — you’re still here. You’re still alive. You still have power, and an internet connection, and television. You have heat, running water, and the ability to cook. Hell you still have some working phone in the house to contact others you care about to ensure they’re doing ok and/or heading to them to help them out if they can’t care for themselves. And if any of these comforts and amenities are out — if you’re older than 25 and younger than 80 — you know how to handle yourself through the lack until it’s restored. Because no amount of panic is going to make these things magically come back on. And not amount of rage is going to make people restoring those services move any faster.

So again, suck it up and deal with it.

And with that… I’m off… I need to use the soapbox I was on to help with kindling for the fireplace. Until the next time.


Winding down for the end of the year…

12/23/2012 Comments off

Entry 12/23/2012 11:16:47 AM – Mentat 672

prig: [prig] – noun 1. self-righteous person – Related Form prig·gish- adjective

So the smarmy old bastard has decided to come up for air from the various gaming because, well… it’s that time of year and he positively hates all the Christmas Cheer. Couple this with the fact that there had been some things that were left to be done, that hadn’t been done, and wanted to come by to write about it just because he could. Yeah… I know I’m talking in third person. Force of habit when I’ve made my decision to trolling the teenagers in an MMO just because they can’t work in any other color than black or white. It’s even more amusing watching the pre-adolescents get their knickers in a twist when instead of working with pronouns like “you” or “me”, you start using “one” instead… Seems that the neural wiring hasn’t been quite completed to realizing/recognizing one can be used in place of “I” and sets their teeth on edge. So much so that they occasionally will declare the conversation forfeit and then ignore the offender with all the power of the Pope calling marriage equality “a threat to peace and security”… Rather amusing that given he was in charge of the Nazi Boy Scouts. The irony was not lost there, believe me. But I digress…

I’ve been sitting here the last couple of days wondering whether or not I should write a sort of end-of-the-year wrap up, but to be honest, I’m not up for the rehash that comes from dealing with the bullshit that caused me to move from the left apartment to the right apartment. Mostly because I’m rather tired of having to think about or even speak about the deadbeat that’s still living there. Sure there’s other things to be spoken about — but honestly there’s only just so much I want to mention about the construction project with the landlord (pictures are around — they can be found on my Facebook and Google+ pages… Or was it my Twitter? Eh, they’re out there to be found somehow. I might move them to my Flickr account if I’m sure that I’ve moved them to my PC here. Right now, I can’t really be assed to look to see if they’re in the usual sync directory. I know — I could simply open up Windows Explorer and actually look — but I’m sort of on a roll at the moment, and I’d rather not break stride to look.

All right, I’ll mention that the work’s been fun, even different. After the 19 year old that I was that promised that I would never ever work manual labor (as I was working the shipping/receiving department of a warehouse at the time) and that office life was more for me, realizing that the weakling that I was isn’t as weak as I thought I am now. I even appreciate the fact that I can pick up and handle more weight (mass and even bulk) than someone a decade younger than I am that’s been doing it most of his life. Not too bad for someone middle-aged I would think. Sure, there are moments when I’m sore as hell, and that either my right wrist or right elbow feel like they’ve been dislocated or sprained (and both have been at least once or twice in the months that I’ve been helping), but at least it allows me the luxury of passing out and having dreamless sleep for at least 6 – 7 hours a day. And that’s certainly a good thing given the dream states that I often have.

The worst part isn’t actually working for my landlord as I thought it would be from the stories that I had been told; in fact, if you listen to what he wants he’s pretty easy to please if you debate the issues intelligently. No, it’s the landlord for the property that he chose to have this gallery at that’s the real problem. That man (who I’ll call E for the moment) is a paranoid megalomaniac that thinks that he knows everything to be known about building and construction. The biggest problem with this is that any and all of his ‘ideas’ on what should be done and how things should be built within the space have no grounding in common sense, physics or construction techniques (otherwise known as reality) and will throw hissy fits over the smallest thing that he has planned for the space or the building. He also has the strong belief that absolute fealty should be given to him and every word that is uttered out of his spewing mouth. I think the worse is that he decided on berating me while I was in the middle of six different things and suffering from the noise stuck in my head as I was battling a moment with my ADD. So much so that I exploded on my landlord telling him that if “…E were to ever to do that again, it’s going to take six people to pull me off while I’m shoving his crutches down his throat to shut him up permanently.”

As I understand it, I was so loud that he could hear it through a couple of metal doors, a hallway, and two cinderblock walls because since then he had been remarkably restrained whenever he talked with me about any issue that he wanted relayed to my landlord (his tenant) and in spite of the glaring looks I give him whenever he feels the need to talk to me. Let’s hope that this keeps up into the new year or there will truly be hell to pay if he ever gets in my face like he did that day.

I absolutely and positively love (read: hate) my neighbors on the first floor. Loud, obnoxious and pigs both of them. While sure, I understand that keeping a clean house is near to impossible to do with infants and toddlers and the smell of diapers overpowering the day before garbage pick up is expected… There is however positively no excuse for throwing their paper flyers all over the ground on the way into the house after mail delivery, Do they actually do this in the hallway? No, it’s done on the back stoop instead. Jim upstairs routinely got fed up seeing that and would pick them up and throw them into the hallway to their apartments. Seems that after that going on for about a week, they stopped, but I suspect it’s only a matter of time before that habit starts up again. And of course, there’s also the way that the lazy sods won’t drag their garbage out to the street when the bins have been put up for morning pick up on Fridays. So what do they do instead? They’ve put their garbage into the recycle bins that are left in the parking lot rather than walking out 25 feet to the street and putting it in the bins instead. One of them uses the “I’m disabled” card, but that doesn’t exactly fly well with me, given that he bikes everywhere regardless of the temperatures outside. And the other — who apparently spends the better part of 4 days at a gym working out for the definition that he has — can’t seem to carry his groceries from Price Rite across the street — uses a cart and then leaves it there in the yard until either Jim or I brings it back. (Yes, that’s stopping in 2013, as I’ll make a hell of a lot of noise about it when it continues).

Then there’s the amount of noise from EJ (below my apartment) since whatever it was that happened between him and his girlfriend/wife/whatever at the end of the summer. Seems that from about 9 in the morning until 10 at night we get to hear the sounds of rap music as it rumbles the house. I’m fortunate in that I typically run with earbuds while I’m on my computer (and occasionally if I go to bed early while listening to my iPod) but I’ve heard from Jim and Julian (in the apartment above me), that they can hear it just as clearly as I can. Lucky them in that they’ve bought a house near in the Capitol Hill area and are moving out entirely at the beginning of the month (maybe February) and will no longer have to put up with any of it. He’s had some girlfriend over routinely though I suspect that might not be lasting much longer given the amount of screaming and yelling I’ve heard going on nightly when I get home from working at the gallery/garage. We’ll see though and I’m sure I might talk about it if it happens to spill out into the parking lot while I’m home.

Quite the change since Hector and his tribe used to live in three of the six apartments here. Sure they were slobby as hell as well, but they were really quiet when they were home not to mention kept their mess to their apartments. Makes me almost wish they were still here given they rarely complained about the amount of noise that I made when I was home (heh, they complained more about the deadbeat and his walking around the place like an elephant trying to perform ballet than me). At least the noise there was contained to once a week of one of them playing really bad music (on a Sunday) in the morning when I was trying to sleep in.

As I mentioned in fragments (and scattered comments) on Twitter and Facebook — I’ve done the routine cleaning of the lists everywhere and over the course of the next week or so I’ll be cleaning up the social media fat for the coming year. This means that if I haven’t spoken with you over the course of the 2012 year or found that my conversations with people have been too one-sided for my taste, off you go. I’m also considered dropping several sites along the way as well given that I find participation with them to be more work and less enlightenment. Of course, that meant a load of fun when it came to my phone as I found that for some reason it didn’t want to let go of people that had been removed from Skype, personal contacts, Facebook and of all places Google+ (strange given that Droid and Google seem to have the friendliest and tightest integration than Apple and all its apps combined). And in spite of several forum solutions, ended up having to wipe the phone back to factory default settings. That of course worked like a charm and now my phone seems to be running a hell of a lot faster without all the band aid patching that has been going on with all the apps that needed updates. Seems to be taking up less battery life as well (another good thing).

I also seriously need to clean up my whitepaper and IT-related news feeds next week as well. While I’ll admit that I’ve been half-reading them the last six months, I’ve noticed the ever so disturbing trend that even IT-related news suffers from both sensationalistic journalism as well as positively no fact-checking before publication. It’s not so much as the errors are minor, the errors are egregious enough that I can recognize they’re wrong by their simple mentioning. And further — a good majority of the articles that I’ve read seem to be entirely too slanted by sponsor/advertiser agenda using one’s clout as a journalist to sway public opinion, rather than personal bias against something.

I’m also thinking that I might put in one last review before the end of the year as well. Over the last year I’ve found myself completely immersed in MMOs and in the last year I’ve seen some pretty interesting things going on there. Enough for me to want to go off on a tear on my opinion of communities that I’ve found in each of them. That and perhaps a bit of the game as well. We’ll see if I’ll have the energy between Christmas and New Year’s to talk about it anyway.

I think I’m going to wander off to have something modest for lunch, and then it’s off with my mother to a friend’s house to check out what the problem is with her futon. Until later, perhaps.

[Last Edited: 12/23/2012 06:34:02 PM]

So my mother’s friend was nowhere to be found, and we ended up not hearing back from her after a time, so my mother invited me over for a quick supper before she had to rush out to her adopted daughter’s place for a quick Christmas Party get-together. Not that I minded at all; I don’t mind the quick walk up to her house and back after a meal… It’s always a good thing to get out of the apartment for an hour or two before I wind down for the remainder of the night.

At least at the moment I’m changed into the comfy clothes, relaxing for the moment and trying to finish watching an indie film that I started watching much earlier while I was writing this entry. While I appreciate the over-all theme to the movie, I find the dysfunction of it trying to hard to being “artsy” to be extremely underwhelming and off-putting. Don’t ask me the name of it — I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Heh, at this point I’m just wanting to get to the end so that I can say, “there’s 95 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.” Heh, even if most of those 95 minutes I was happily doing something else… But still.

Well that will be it for the time being… All talked out and wanting to find something a bit more of quality to watch before I head to bed. Until the next time.

The thing I miss most about me…

12/09/2012 Comments off

Entry 12/08/2012 07:19:29 PM – Mentat 671

“Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.” – George Bernard Shaw

It’s been quite the day gallivanting all over two-states running chores and what have you with my mother. During one of the longer stints in the car — not because of the distance, but instead because of the amount of insane people trying to do their Christmas Shopping — I was reminded that it has been a long time since I’ve tried to write anything substantial or even qualitative. Part of the reason is because I’ve been sort of dead inside. Not because of the humdrum or the day-to-day living that I’ve done, but instead because of the amount of anger and rage that I’ve had since moving out from the deadbeat that still lives next door. Part of the reason has been because of the chaos that I’ve had to deal with from one human being that I didn’t think would effect me in the way that he had, and then trying my damndest to bury the chaos and return to the semblance of peace that I’ve become accustomed to. And finally, part of the reason is because I’ve been doing everything in my power to avoid being me.

Strange thing that. I’ve hardly been able to escape me in the four plus (almost five) decades that I’ve been wandering around the planet. Even in my moments of attempting to delude and/or fool the world — there had been a strong part of me that was there either staring out at me in the mirror or around at the world going on around me. And yet, now… It’s been a blank. A wall somewhere between the center that I’ve been used to being near and the man that I am right now. It’s not always a blank wall. Sometimes it’s a wall of unbridled fury. The fury that comes from being betrayed, and used, and even stolen from (be it in fact, or even in feeling). Sometimes it’s a noise: the sort of noise that comes from something going round and round until it sounds either like a cacophony or white noise, but neither one nor another.

And no matter for me just how far I tried to run away (from self, from whatever’s eating me, from even the responsibilities that come with this life): how far into the world of denial (either to the world or self-denial), there’s always been a part of me that absolutely, positively refused to wander out of the realm of reality and into the Netherrealm of delusion. But that didn’t mean that I wouldn’t try to get as close as insanely possible.

So as I was sitting there on Route 1 in Attleboro — either on the way to or from GI Joe’s — and talking about nothing in particular and what it was that I wanted to do when I got home from shopping, I realized that the thing that I missed most wasn’t my actually sitting down and writing. It’s the peace that I used to get sorting my thoughts out into written words and for those moments (and the time before I eventually went to bed to sleep the wild and borderline insane dreams I call “normal”), having a sort of peaceful calm not to mention making of the chaotic jumble of flotsam and random thoughts that life often throws in our directions.

I realize that it’s extremely hard to find that peace when one is doing everything in their power to avoid everything else that seems to be between where I am now, and where I want to be by the end of a journal entry. I admit that I find myself blaming my ADD entirely too quickly. The thing is though I’ve had ADD for the better part of 20 years and comparing it now with when I first started feeling its effects after the grand mal seizures stopped, it’s far more manageable now than it was at the end of my relationship with Darin. And I know it’s not from the extended periods of anger and betrayal of living with the deadbeat. Sure at the time of the betrayal was the sort of frightening that I had the time that Eric (aka the First Asshole), but the same amount of time has passed (more actually) and while I did go through the emotional crash that happens afterward (stories there, but for another time), I’m on the other side and… well… This is just a shade different.

Perhaps it’s because I’m older. Perhaps it’s because with age, I don’t bounce back quite like I used to. Perhaps it’s even because the environment is different. I mean sure back then — like now — I’m living on my own. But the difference between now and then is that I’m more reclusive: a thousand times more reclusive. Not to mention that I don’t quite have the same support system then I as do now. I mean sure, I have family — and they’re certainly more supportive now than then — but I don’t have a tenth of the friends in the area (as a great majority of them are scattered all over the world). Not to mention that my approach to dating is a million times more discriminating.

Sitting here going from one show that I’ve been watching to another and in between writing parts of this entry — I realize that I need to make due with what I have to the best of my ability. Not so much as to try to recreate the environment that I once had in the efforts to heal/salve the hurts and or pains that I’m currently going through, but instead, “…to bend like a reed in the wind…” and accept what I have in the here and now to heal/recover/salve/whatever is needed to being less of a runner, and more of a fighter. Well at least fighting without the want to throttling the life out of users and thieves and pathological liars (or in the deadbeat’s case, all of the above).

Anyway, I think I’ll come back to write a bit more on this tomorrow. Right now, I think I’m going to finish up watching another show (Haven) and then head to bed. I’ll be back.

[Last Edited: 12/09/2012 08:12:45 PM]

Back for the moment, and feeling a bit more at peace with some of the admissions that I had made yesterday. Though for a while this morning I was feeling pretty vulnerable. Part of the reason was because of the dementedly weird dreams that I had after a bit of soul searching last night (can’t remember them at the moment, and not going to really try to remember at this time of night). Part of the reason because this morning I was hitting at least five different tangents at once. While I did pretty well sitting at my mother’s place while having dinner and having Toy Hunter on the television, I found myself getting seriously annoyed listening to the over-acting of the host. Seriously I couldn’t tell what was worse… Listening to the inaccuracies or the way people were seriously stupid about what collectibles (and how much they were worth) they had in their hands. Seeing shows like this, I’m reminded how much of a desolate wasteland television has become and makes me wonder whether it’s going to take another decade before Hollywood and Television Stations realize that their “reality television” took the last exit from reality back at the turn of the 21st century.

I have quite a bit to think about the next couple of weeks. While I might try to put this down as a New Year’s Resolution for 2013, I realize as I think this in my head that I should start working on it as soon as possible. If not because there’s some of time constraint. No, instead it has everything to do with the less I push it off, the less likely I am to try to glaze it over and forget about it until some other time. And this is something that should be faced in the here and now. Not in the tomorrow, and certainly not for any regrets coming up when I look back at yesterday.

This time I’m off… A little gaming, a little movie watching, and a little music before I pass out in bed later on. Until the next time.

Picture of the Day 01.01.2012

01/01/2012 Comments off


As part of one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided that it would be sort of therapeutic for me to use the camera on my cell phone (and a bit of my imagination and not-so-sharp-eyes) to capture a moment in time in my wanderings outside of the house (and more importantly getting out of the house as often as possible – even during the winter). These will be by no means professional (or quality) even in my most deluded imagination.

Hopefully though, they might in fact be insightful…

This is the other end of my street here in Providence, RI, USA as I decided to say, “to hell with it” about making my own coffee and instead hitting the local Dunkin Donuts to get an iced coffee instead. While the architecture of the area is extremely reminiscent of the turn of the 19th to 20th century, a lot of these houses are in serious disrepair and abandoned. It saddens me given the history (and past culture) of this area and of the city on the whole. Here’s to hoping this area will go through a revitalization as the Broadway area did during the mid 90s.

Entry 03/27/2011 01:33:07 PM – Mentat 607

03/27/2011 Comments off

If there’s anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.” – Zaphod Beeblebrox, H2G2

Blah to this cold weather…

Blah to the insolence I’ve been getting from the Hellbeast as I’ve had to get up to do laundry…

Blah to doing the chores that I routinely do on Sunday…

Blah… Just blah…

Friends and family keep telling me to be patient and keep calm as Spring is right around the corner, but seriously the teaser of warmer weather that we got in the Tundras of New England last week where the temperatures reached to almost 70 F (21.1 C) was enough to wake up the dormant bear and seriously wanting to open up the windows more, and perhaps get some bike riding in just to work off some of the pent up energy that’s been building for the last three weeks. I’m sitting here regretting the fact that all I did was open the windows for a few hours and sat there for a bit near the open window reading and with the cat on my lap; instead of getting out for a bit and feel the warmth and chill of the air. To basically feel as though the illusion of spring was in fact right around the corner instead of the reality that Spring is actually still almost a month away.

Of course it doesn’t help matters any looking at the weather forecasts for the next 10 days and the only time I’m seeing anything close to 50s F (10s C) will the one day that we’re getting showers. Which is actually more winter-like weather in the south than spring-like weather attributed to the North. If anything, it makes me more crotchety because I feel as though the winter’s never going to draw to an end any time soon. I’ll try to persist on through and hope that the forecasters and charlatans that we call meteorologists will might be wrong and there will be more warmer weather in the next 10 days… And if not, then I’m going to have to man-up and just deal with the cold for a bit to work out my winter-blahs impatience.

I had an interesting talk with my aunt yesterday when we had stopped for a late lunch as I volunteered to go with her to BJ’s Wholesale Club, as my uncle wasn’t up for hobbling about the central heated and air-conditioned comfort of a pseudo-warehouse shopping experience because he had spent the day before hobbling about a funeral mass, burial and wake. It seems that my aunt’s back to taking a full pill for the geriatric diabetes that she’s been suffering through for some years and the pill that she’s taking it one of those one-a-day, long acting prescriptions that’s used to control her sugar levels. One of the side-effects that she’s having is that about 4 hours after she takes the pill, her sugar plummets hard and that she starts suffering from various side-effects that I suffer through because of hypoglycemia. She was telling me her sugar levels have reached a level of 43 causing her to suffer through various forms of disorientation, dizzy spells, sweating and palpitations, and extreme tiredness once her sugar levels are normalized. Yesterday though she tried to say she has always had issues with saying certain words, I did catch her with one symptom that I recognize all too well: difficulty being able to speak coherently.

The problem is that she doesn’t know how to eat properly and worse, she doesn’t know how to watch out for the routine warning signs and take the proper steps when the prescription kicks in and her sugars begin to drop. And so, as we were sitting there eating a bit of a late lunch and after I stressed to her she needs to talk to her doctor about this particular pill and seeing about alternatives or different dosages with it, I explained to her some of the dietary habits I’ve had to adopt since I had been diagnosed as hypoglycemic when I was a toddler. Although there seemed to be one problem that she has with her diet that I don’t and couple this both with what I understand of diabetes/hypoglycemia in my family and our dietary habits is causing her issues later in the day: her intake of High Carbohydrates as a means of abating her low sugar.

When I begin to notice my sugar getting low the last thing I tend to eat when this happens is Heavy/High Carbohydrates. The reason why is that it’s a complex sugar that stores first and then breaks down later. While this isn’t a bad thing, it can often mean for me that I will continue to suffer the side effects of low-blood sugar before I begin to normalize. As I told my aunt, while eating something with high carbs can help with normalizing sugar throughout the day, by the time you’re already feeling the effects of a moderate hypoglycemic attack, the last thing you should be looking for is high carbs. Simple sugars from fruits and vegetables, proteins, some fat and whole grain breads should be what’s on the menu. I explained to her why a PB&J is more my best friend than glucose tabs any day. It’s quick to get into the system, the side-effects can pass as quickly as ½ hour and you can be on your way without the fear of having to go to an ER for a glucose IV drip. Further — add this to the high carbs that my aunt tends to cook come supper time, while it might help me get through the night without issue — for her it usually means that she’s looking at her sugar readings at 200+ both by the end of the night as well as in the morning before her next dosage of her prescription.

As we were finishing up out lunch and heading out to Franklin, MA (to BJ’s), I admitted to her that since coming back to being a Daywalker, I’ve noticed my sugar levels tend to drop a hell of a lot more than they did when I was working at night. For example, when I used to work nights, I would get up between 6 PM and 7 PM at night and after a quick/modest breakfast of cereal with milk or oatmeal, ride a mile to the bus stop, and another 3 from the stop to work, picking up an iced coffee along the way (a big no there as caffeine saps sugar, but it’s one of those vices I refuse to give up). By 11 PM (5 hours after I woke up) which was my first break, I usually had either granola or oatmeal bars. Three hours after that (2 PM) I would have lunch which was pretty much a “meat & potato” type meal (combination of heavy carbs, proteins/fats and simple sugars/vegetables) . Three hours after that was another break and Pop Tarts. And after an 8 mile ride home that took an hour, four hours after the last break I usually had something simple like a salad with or without some sort of meat to it.

Heh, of course sitting here writing this out after talking about it, I realize why my sugar’s plummeting more the way that it is. I’m eating traditionally like I would if I were a Daywalker instead of Nightbreed: My lunch is the equivalent of a simple supper, and my supper is actually the heavy lunch that I used to have. Because of this swap out, I’m noticing that I’m having serious sugar drops at 2 PM and then again at 5 PM (just prior to actually sitting down and having supper). So it would seem that come next week, I’m going to have to swap around my meals and see if that abates the sugar drops that I’ve been catching myself having.

Now if it were only just that easy for my aunt.

I’ll be back shortly. I’m off to take a quick power nap.

[Last Edited: 03/27/2011 06:28:47 PM]

Now that I’ve gotten in a nap, got caught up on my queue (Fairly Legal and Fringe), and had the last big supper for a long time to come, I’m sitting here realizing that I’ve worked out the problem with why my system crashes the way that it does because of the video driver. It seems that during boot up time, if the PATA drives are already on, the system’s sure to crash. When during boot up it does a diagnostic on the PATA drives, things work out for the best without a crash or any sort of init weirdness. This is why when I reboot in the morning after it’s been sitting idle for 6 – 8 hours it never crashes, but when I’ve been moving files and playing hard on the workhorse that it does.

So the next time I need to reboot, I’m going to drop into the BIOS and check a couple of settings between the PATA diagnostics and the NVRAM and see whether it’s something that needs to be tweaked. I suspect because I had updated the video card (as this is a significantly different video card than the one I had loaded in prior), something isn’t quite right in the settings causing it to crash the way that it does. And if worse comes to worse, I’m going to try the old tried and true method of reset. Shut down. Leave off for a minute or two and then start up and see if that fixes the problem. (Just love that self-tech support).

As for the rest…

Yesterday on the way home from shopping with my aunt, we made a stop at Warehouse Liquor and picked myself up a six pack of Bass… Something that according to my checkbook — did sometime toward the end of August for a fifth of bourbon — and in the right sort of tipsy that can only happen when one is a lightweight, found myself confounded with all sorts of feelings and emotions that I’ve been doing my best burying just beneath the surface for apparent and obvious reasons.

For you see, once everything had been mashed up and brought up to the surface, I realize that the issues that I have going on involve old elements and an older story. The story of desiring the one thing I cannot have. Instead of moving on like a typical human being should. Instead of finding alternatives to that one story — I find myself holding a torch, patiently waiting for some sort of change that what I cannot have can slowly become what I can. The thing is that I know better. Too many years of it in my life holding the torch for those that I feel strongly for, and those feelings aren’t in the least bit reciprocated had in the past ended in frustration, anger, and even a shade of hostility (more as a dramatic means of moving on from the situation for that “clean break” feeling). And still I continue with the same willful and even hopeful determination that I can.

I know the reason why too. Another old story there that feeds into all this holding torches and wanting what one cannot have. One that stems from the decisions that I had made in 1999 when I had a choice between someone that lived 1,000 miles away and someone that lived only 60 miles away. One was shy the other seemed alright, and I ended up making the wrong decision between those two of which affected my life for the next 4½ years and even now, 12 years later. So since then, when I meet someone I can relate to, is extremely nice and even gentlemanly regardless of age, locale, and temperament I will hold out for them, waiting patiently. After all, the last thing I want to go through is another abusive or even desolate relationship.

I don’t know… Sometimes I think I do the right thing in breaking away cleanly. I tend to handle the unknown far better than I do when comparing the difference between the known and unknown. I’m also less likely to compare that which I have in my life (even if it’s wanting more) and those that I’m trying to learn. Other times, I’m not sure whether I’ve needed to learn the lesson about love/intimacy, attraction and friendship and think what I do is simply the easiest answer for myself.

It’s just one of those things that I find myself routinely struggling with. To the point where everything — even my life — often feels as though it’s at a standstill.

Then there’s the creative muse that seems to sit just out of range from me, smirking in that capricious sort of way. Like she gives me something to work with and yet it’s just enough to whet my passion to wanting to write a story, and yet failing to give me enough to work with. Take for example — the sequel to Companion that I wanted to do. I can see writing it and I can see some elements that I can work into the story given the way that I had ended it. The problem with that is the theme to the story that I’m trying to write about is Fighting for what’s right no matter the odds is something I’ve never really experienced before. In my life when it comes to that crucible — that point in a relationship that one needs to prove what’s right in order for things to end happy — it has never happened to me/for me. Either the break up occurs anyway, or they simply didn’t feel the same way for me as I did for them and things just end.

I mean sure I can write it however I want and end it in a way that I’d like it to end… the problem is that my method of writing involves being able to relate to the feelings and then writing them into the story in a manner that other people can end up reading (and ultimately relating to). Without being able to personally relate to the situation I don’t think that others can or will either. Let’s face it — Talos — is certainly proof of this given that when I went back to reading it for editing and continuing to write the story; the happy and strained relationship between the two protagonists was unreal and unbelievable even by my broadest standards of writing.

Well, that’s about it for the time being. Off to fold my laundry and listen to some more music before I pass out for the night. Until the next time.

Entry 03/06/2011 12:19:31 PM – Mentat 604

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Hurray that we’re getting a bit of a heat wave here and warming things up enough that I can actually turn down the heat and open up a window for a little bit…

Boo that it’s also causing a new section of the basement to show a bit more flooding than I had expected at this time of year.

Unlike the last couple of years where I could clock precisely where the water would be coming into the basement and causing a bit of puddles to avoid while it dries out, this year they’re showing up in new places where in previous years no water ever showed up at all. While it was good that I was able to catch it before the flooding was able to take over a majority of the basement, at the same time I’m thankful for my intervening with my uncle as to where the raised pallets were to be placed in the front of the house. He had originally wanted to put it on the west/outer wall of the room where some of the spillage/flooding was going into with me wanting it on the east/inner wall. My reasoning was because the way the floor was poured in the basement would put the water towards the edges/foundation and it would make it easier to handle if we had another basement flood it would be easier for us to move things to “higher ground” while having the sump pump running. Had we left it the way he said, half the front part of the basement would have standing water halfway into the room before I would’ve seen it. As it is now, it’s only a tenth of the way into the finished areas of the basement and is pretty easy to contain with the use of a wet-vac.

Not that I’m patting myself on the back for forethought or anything. *smirking*

So last week I got a hair-brained/half-baked notion of merging my journals to one location (well technically two; the desktop and the laptop) for easier access. See, in the past because of computer calamities, hard drive crashes (and improper backups), and even natural disasters that have been inflicted on my paper journals, I had made it a habit of making “volumes” — yearly copies — that I would squirrel away onto CDs and DVDs to prevent the potential loss. Now that this system has been running well (of sorts) for a couple of years, and my laptop has been mostly flawless as well (in spite of the spill it took back in May 2010 when my bike axle broke as mentioned in Entry 569)… It seemed logical not to mention convenient given that now I can do a search on something and find it, instead of having to pull out the archive CDs/DVDs and then forcing OneNote to open them individually…

The fun and challenging part was moving the 2004 journal in as it was originally written in the journal portion of Outlook’s PST. I was able to convert it in about 2 hours and even then it was a strain on the eyes as a good portion of the 2004 year was in the Dungeon Truetype Font and rather small for the resolution my current monitor. Prior to that though? From 1995 – 2003 I was using a proprietary program called ActiveDiary, which hasn’t actually been supported by the programmer since 2002. While I’m fairly sure I would be able to move it, I’m not entirely sure the earlier program for it would be supported within Windows 7. Maybe sometime this month, I’ll give a go in loading it up in Windows XP VM and see if I can’t access it. Hopefully the password I’m remembering is still the same for it… if not… Well at least I have since 2004 readily accessible.

For grins and giggles, I decided to see what it would be like to print as a single PDF all my journal entries from 2004 to my last entry… Comes up to a modest 950+ pages. Glenn says I have too much to say…. Given it’s my life and the events therein, I think it isn’t enough really as looking at some entries from 2005 and 2006, I know I intentionally omitted some information/events going on in the day. 2004 though? Eerie experience looking at those entries. I barely remember half of the things I said during that year (which is also the year after Rick had moved out and I know I wasn’t exactly in my right frame of mind). Still, it’s interesting reading, and a majority of it (Entry 155 and on) can actually be found on my WordPress Account).

Cricket celebrated her 14th birthday Friday by being a complete Clingon. While she’s calmed down over the weekend, Friday I couldn’t have shaken her off with a sledgehammer or flamethrower. Heh, in fact she’s sitting on my lap right now as I’m taking a break from checking/vacuuming the water in the basement while I’m writing this journal entry and having a bit of crumbs from my Red Hot Blues Corn chips. Crazy cat…. She’s worse than a dog sometimes; anything that will end up in my mouth she’ll eat as well. Further, it doesn’t seem to stop at vegetables and grains like when she was younger. Spinach & Cheese Calzones, Spinach Pies, Pizza Crust, she’s even shown interest n Ramen Noodles and corn as well. At least the good thing is that she’s eating her food and mine for some months now, if only she could gain just a bit more weight back.

Oh, and out this week is an update for iTunes to that I was expecting to see since the announcement of the iPad 2. Fixed is the problem that I had reported in Entry 600, with iTunes restarting automatically because of the third party hook in MSN Live Messenger 2011. Didn’t even realize it was fixed until I made the mistake of setting how information about the song I’m listening to on so that I could prove to Glenn I was listening to something while he was.

Also out for updates within the last couple of weeks was Java to Version 6 Update 24. Admittedly I wasn’t in any rush to fix Java in spite of the fact that I did get my routine warnings on it, only because I don’t use Java half as much as I do Flash and Shockwave (as I tend to run NoScript along with AdBlock Plus and pretty tightly controlling what sites have access to Java, Flash and Shockwave).

So with these updates, I fired up the old laptop and was able to update and synch up everything. After all, with the weather warming up I plan on being out of the house more and when I’m out of the house more, I tend to do more mobile writing and file moving from my camera to the laptop for organizing for upload when I get back to the house.

Well, that’s about it for the time being. Off to fold my laundry and watch another episode of Athena: Goddess of War on Hulu. Until the next time.

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

02/06/2011 Comments off

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.