Dumpster diving

Amanda (of the Beanery) somehow suggested, this evening, that Brian and I might be dumpster divers. She did not expect that we would take her idea and run with it: going on at length about the dumpster class system (most notable around the McDonald’s-level dumpsters, whose divers are markedly territorial), how you’d want to choose a somewhat upscale dumpster to dive—but not the most expensive, as that’s almost certainly been completely picked through before you’ve gotten there—and how a personal favorite of mine is the Circle Albertson’s. (This segued nicely into a brief telling of how Lee, Jeremy, John and I interrupted a drug deal behind Albertson’s many years ago… further confusing the truth and our lies.)

We added enough detail, and talked about it long enough, that Amanda started to get confused about whether or not we were joking. Being the consummate pros that we are, we never gave her the reassurance of us busting up laughing.

The end is effing nigh

Let’s review all the signs of the end-times, now that I’ve reminded you of the (censored version of) the most hilarious text you’ll find in 28 Days Later:

1) Brent has become markedly more extroverted. Chatty, almost. The last time I was this extroverted was back in early 2000, suggesting a six-year cycle to my extroversion. Indeed, now that I’ve spent more than a microsecond thinking about this, I also note that I was at my most introverted when I started this blog—back in 2003. Coincidence, or infradian rhythm?

2) Brent danced with reckless abandon. I’ve never—until last night—gone to a dance or practice thinking I’m just going to dance as much as possible, with as many people as possible. That’s pretty much the antithesis of the “Wallflower School of Dance,” which I founded back in 1999.

3) Brent updated his sidebar rotation for the first time in forever. This has only been on my to-do list for the last three months; with any luck some other long-standing to-do items might see progress in the near future. I actually feel like I have energy to take on projects, again.

If this isn’t the end times, then at least we know that the virus has spread to my brain.

I’m being bought out

The other intrigue of the last week has been the overthrow of my apartment’s current management, Sterling Management, by another group: F.P. Bowman & Company. I don’t know what Sterling did to tick off the building’s owner, but it looks like we lose as a result: office hours have gone to pot, and I suspect that mail hasn’t been arriving—we have indoor mailboxes—because our security-fob-enabled front door is no longer open during reasonable business hours.

I’m just glad that I don’t have any FedEx or UPS packages coming in the near future, until this whole mess gets sorted out. (Actually, I just hope it does get sorted out.)

To pile more intrigue on the fire, yesterday we got another note from our new management about how they were changing their name to IPMG, Inc. effective October 1.

I’m left wondering if there’s a plan somewhere that looks like this:

1) Take over management of a random apartment complex.

2) Change corporate identity.


4) Profit!

I’m not terribly keen on that plan, if it exists, because the profit ostensibly is wrung out of me.

Also reassuring is that the new management’s old website is a shoddy POS that is only accessible via Windows Internet Explorer (seriously, it consists of a handful of text and about three hyperlinks—which totally needs Microsoft-only technology*), and the new management’s new website doesn’t bloody exist.

[*How the hell do people make a living by producing this kind of shit? I mean, damn.]

zOMG I just discovered who’s responsible for these particular crimes against the Internet… and it’s the brother of one of my bosses. Time to not bitch about this at work, I guess.

Ah, the danger of living in a small town.

Turns out I chose “die”

Had a bunch of people (Andy & Julie, Myles & Betsy, Brian, Nate, Kevin) over on Saturday, before the football game. We mostly chatted and played Ninja Burger (with a smattering of Soul Calibur III in between), and then walked over to the downtown American Dream Pizza to eat pizza and drink beer on the roof—realizing a long-standing goal for Brian and me. (The last time we ate pizza on the room of American Dream was a few years ago, with Eric; it’s a fun place to eat—provided it’s sunny, dry, and warm out. Saturday fit the bill perfectly.)

Afterwards Nick joined the remaining crowd (Nate, Brian, and me) for another game of Ninja Burger (it’s actually fun, and not so complicated that my simpleton brain loses track of everything), followed by the inaugural play-through of Fury of Dracula. Nate made a more-than-competent Dracula, while the rest of us made a more-than-competent ragtag group of vampire hunters.

My first comment, after poking through a few of the vampire hunter profiles: how in the world are we going to defeat Dracula without a single Belmont among us? Immediately after uttering my question, I happened across the Van Helsing card. [This being based off of the literary Dracula, however, Van Helsing isn’t some action movie hero.]

The worst part of the game was that we started playing at about 8:30 pm, and finally killed Dracula at 3:30 am. Wow.

The game took so long that I wound up taking power naps in between determining the fate of my character (Lord Godalming, or… uh… Lord Gayforvampires, as we wound up calling him) in the eleven-to-midnight range. Good thing, too, because I was there and ready when it came time to kick Dracula’s tail. Godalming, it seems, is as close to a tank as you get with the vampire hunters.

Of course […], all I know about the Dracula novel I learned from what I read of Dracula Blogged. That’s a sad note for humanity.

It might not surprise you to learn that, after that late-night stunt, whatever virus had been lingering in my body pretty much came back with a vengeance. Monday was a total wash (I managed to exercise before falling into a coma for the rest of the day); Tuesday was only marginally better.

Today I stood my ground against my boss [so much for a genial, no-stress process] in negotiations for compensation for the work I’ve done (it helps that they need me more than I need them). Time will tell if logic and fair-play win the day. This evening I went to dance practice and danced most songs that I could dance to, with a variety of follows. Summer actually noticed, and commented that I “was finally dancing!”

Yep. This school year is the year of dance. As in actually dancing. Once I get the whole “actually dancing” thing down, I’ll move on towards my next goal: actually dancing well.

Highlight of the dance evening: repeated Jan Ken Pon (or, to be pedestrian: rock, paper, scissors) with another guy over which one of us would dance the last waltz with Janis. I lost after some five ties, uttered blast!, spun around to find another gal—Mai—asking me if I’d like to dance, and seamlessly segued into a gracious acceptance and a fun waltz. Seamless, I tell you.

Blog or die

So I’ve been sick. My body has been ravaged by some virus, which has oddly left my head well enough alone.

It started with extreme heartburn and a total lack of endurance for any physical activity. On Monday it further manifested in pain in my upper left arm. On Tuesday the pain had spread to both arms, upper and lower; Wednesday brought the pain to my fingers.

I usually have some sort of pseudo-arthritis in my right index finger, as well as something similar (gout? But I’m not that old!) in my right big toe. [That one’s made dancing a bit more challenging than it used to be.] Having that sort of pain in every bloody finger was a vision of a future I don’t ever want to see.

As I mentioned at the outset, though, my mind has been unaffected by this. Good thing, too: this week has seen a database upgrade (not easy when you’ve never done one before), bizarre crashing related to the upgrade (tomorrow’s fun puzzle), and the looming threat of negotiations to see if I’ll ever be reasonably compensated for the good I’ve done at work.

I hate the traditional idea of negotiation. I much prefer walking in with a fair deal, and walking out with a fair deal—there’s much less stress (and more mutual respect) that way. But, no: you gotta low-ball ’em at first, just in case you can pull off highway robbery. Your gain is directly tied to their loss, and—hey!—their loss doesn’t hurt you at all.

In more-pressing news, these drunk guys and girls have been stomping the fuck out of the hallway outside my apartment for the last hour. Holy heck. I guess they’ve decided that they can only drink out front, and they can only listen to loud music while in the apartment—and they’ll be damned if they don’t experience both alcohol poisoning and ear damage before the night is through.

To those people I can only say: Godspeed on that alcohol poisoning thing.

Hold up. Judging by the noise, one guy just puked off the side of his porch. One down, lots more to go.

Thank goodness I live on the top floor.

Not a doll house

It's like a doll house, but it's not!

Brent vs. Nature

HOLY SHIT ginormous spider against the wall a foot away from my bed.

I’m not big on killing things, really. But damn damn damn do huge spiders that invade my living space need to die. My conundrum, however, is that the only thing that rivals my hatred of medium-plus-sized indoor spiders is having to kill them. The entire experience is a losing one, no matter what I do; I get chills up my spine either way.

Historically I’d get around this by letting my sister discover the spider, freak out, and get my dad to kill it. It’s more socially acceptable for females to behave in this way, it seems. My backup plan has been to vacuum them up (normally, not with tools—the idea being that the brush should do the job that I really, really don’t like doing), though Marin’s always hated that idea.

Those options were not viable tonight, as I no longer live with my family, and vacuuming at 2 am isn’t exactly de rigueur in an apartment building. Plus the fucker is literally a foot away from my bed (have I mentioned that?), so feigning ignorance and going on with life is just asking for trouble.

I’ve read that some spiders can bloody jump. ZOMG. That knowledge just makes everything worse—some things I am happier not knowing.

So I’m left sweating bullets, engaged in a cold war against this monstrous creature. He doesn’t bloody move, no matter what I do to try and spook him; perhaps he knows that the corner against the wall is more-or-less a safe zone.

Or, at least it was—until I constructed a crude spear out of an unused tension rod, a paper towel, and a rubber band. Sucker never saw it coming, though I sure as hell didn’t like doing it. Chills, man. I hate that.

I then figured I might as well vacuum the carcass up (tools being quieter than the regular vacuum, and the process taking all of three seconds)… so my room is now mine again. For the moment.

But, yeah. I’m pretty much a wuss when it comes to killing things.


We totally just had a fire alarm, complete with the ear-piercing shriek of some newfangled alarm system. (As a fellow apartment-dweller lamented, I miss the old fire alarm bells that they had in elementary school.) No word yet on what the cause of the false blaze was, or when my hearing will return.

I (erm) was just getting out of the shower when the alarm hit, so that was lots of fun. Highlights included:

1) “If those sprinklers that are in every room go off, I’m not going to be happy. I’ve got a $4,000 computer in my place,” said Guy A. “But I’m buying insurance, so I guess it’s not that big a deal.” My response: “If those sprinklers go off, I’m going to be paying my insurance bill.”

2) Guy B works at UPS in the evenings, and recommends that you never ship anything via them. Guy A quips “Universal Package Smashers.”

3) When the shrill alarm shut off, the three of us (there was one gal outside, but she didn’t bother chatting, nor joining us) wandered back inside. We met a handful of firefighters who were headed towards the stairs, who we asked (while turning around, since we knew the answer) if we could head back to our rooms. They BSed with us: oh, no! It’s totally not safe! Look at the smoke filling the hallway as we speak!

I have absolutely no regret about missing the false fire alarm events of the dorms.

My biggest beef about my apartment

The neighbors behind me can be rather noisy.

Train tracks maybe twenty feet away from my apartment

Lies my friends told me

Moving out of your parents’ house is going to frickin’ blow your mind, man. I’m far too boring for that to happen; it’s been more of the same, but in a different place—with a handful of new things to keep track of. More disruptive than living on my own was moving, quite seriously.

Really, the only significant freedom I’ve gained is the freedom to have Brian over without having to first ask if my family would mind. Woo. (Hot chicks could change this—attention, hot chicks!)

Something about peeing without having to shut the bathroom door. My bathrooms (yes, I have two (!)) both all but face big ol’ windows that have a pretty good view of Ninth Street (a fairly major street in town), so this… isn’t really an option.

You’ll notice how awfully quiet it is. The constant parade of friends that come by fundamentally introverted nature of my person hasn’t really noticed this. The first couple days—when I didn’t have internet, cable TV, or any magazines to read—I did feel a bit cut off from the world; now that I have a cable modem, basic cable, and a subscription to US News, I really haven’t noticed/minded the quiet. I guess it helps that my family is still all in the same town, so it’s not like I can’t see them often.

Yeah, I really should have titled this post “Lies Eric told me.” My bad. (In fairness, his observations were from his college years, with his parents in a different state… and he’s a far more interesting person than I am.)

I really am glad I can go home and see my folks and pet my dog and cat, though. While I really don’t want the responsibility of owning a pet (no-pet-clause of my lease notwithstanding), I really do love dogs and cats. My folks are pretty nifty, too.

For Lease

Creepy, decrepit shanty behind my apartment complex. Mad scientists preferred.

Spooky abandoned shack for lease

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