Brent vs. Nature 2: Nature’s Revenge

I’ve been lucky inasmuch as my house hasn’t been invaded by insects. My folks’ house featured a good number of silverfish, which wasn’t much fun back in the day—I don’t like bugs, but I don’t like killing them, either.

I haven’t been lucky in that my house has become a battleground between me and motherfucking spiders. Not tiny or wispy ones—behemoths. Horrifyingly large, mean-looking spiders. I can’t let them live, because they would surely kill me in my sleep, but the process of killing them costs me years off my life. (None have been quite as large as this one, but they’ve been ~75% of his size.)

I’ve been encountering one every other day, on average. That would be a pleasant rate to encounter slimes in the Alefgard countryside, but this is more like having surprise encounters with a Red Dragon with every step I take. It’s been bad enough that I’ve begun classifying these invaders as angels… though my poor memory has prevented me from both numbering them properly (since I don’t recall how many I’ve faced) and referring to them by name (since I could never remember the angels’ names, anyway).

Who needs sleep?

I’m never gonna get it. Especially since I keep having bright ideas like “let’s tweak the sidebar layout a bit, so the links aren’t just hanging in space.”

And then it was “well, I’ve been meaning to put new pictures into the sidebar rotation for a year. Might as well do that, too.”

And then it was 3:45 am.

Catching up

I’ve been behind in just about everything for the last, oh, four months now. Time- and money-critical tasks got done (e.g. paying the rent), but that was about it.

So how have I decided to turn my sorry ship around? By applying a modification of the broken windows theory. An incredibly stupid modification.

See, my anime blog RSS feeds are one of the things I’ve neglected for-fricking-ever. The dumb things spiraled out of control months ago, and have been silently growing larger and more imposing in one of the many dark, neglected corners of my life.

So yesterday I started cleaning those suckers out. I have not declared RSS bankruptcy, instead opting for catching up through hard work and guts. Well, as much hard work and guts as is required to sit on my ass and read up on Gurren Lagann. (Actually, the hard part is keeping all the names and stories straight. Oh, and continuing to focus my eyes.)

Results so far? I now have some 300 posts to wade through, down from over 1,000 at the start. Woo.

Future targets? My finances (I caught up on them once, only to ignore them for another couple months), and taking out a nasty, nasty bunch of blackberry plants that intend to make my home their home. Also about ten other things that I can’t think of at the moment, but that still weigh my psyche down.


Where You At?

Back when I started this blog, I had time on my hands. Not so much, these days.

If I could save time in a bottle

the first thing that I’d like to do

is to save every day

’till eternity passes away

just to spend them right now

So, let’s see what I can dredge up of the past, tonight:

Three weekends ago, Brian decided that a price drop (and threat of reduced backwards compatibility) was reason enough to pick up a PS3 (or PSTRIPLE, as we’ve somewhat-fondly begun calling the system). On the way to Salem (he also jumped on a sweet bundle, thus the need for a road trip), we encountered a traffic accident that stopped I-5 dead. Forever.

To pass the time, Brian tuned in and cranked up 880 AM: mariachi music.

We even considered writing 880 AM – CRANK IT! on a piece of cardboard and trying to get others to do the same.

It took that long.

And then, on the way home, Brian’s car died just short of our exit. As in “pull over to the edge of the interstate and Praise Jebus that Brent has AAA.”

Brian has begun referring to this as The Curse of the Triple. I prefer to curse his car.

Been dancing, but with dance practice being held from 6–8pm and my tendency to work until (or past…) six, I haven’t been getting much dancing in. Been trying to write a backup program that I can trust*; that’s been somewhat slow going. Not the least of my concerns is with my own ability to program—should I really entrust my data to my own creation?

[*NEWS FLASH: Mac backup programs suck, especially if you like to do incremental backups. Also, the Mac is in a bad way when it comes to decent email programs. I will pay money for these things!]

Since I’ve never really been on the fansub wagon, I just recently got my first taste of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni—and I’m digging it. Start off with a hint of what’s to come, and then return to small-town charm/humor and let things grow from there… it’s like the B-grade horror flicks I used to watch, except with some actual quality. Quality B-grade horror flicks (would that make them A-grade horror flicks?) are still a quick way to my heart, it seems.

Of course, Brian fell asleep** when I played it for him and Nate. Still, killer lolis get my vote.

[**For a few seconds. Due to overwork and undersleep, he claims, and not as a reflection on the quality of the show. I like to sporadically remind him about it.]

Hot dang! Dreams!

I almost never dream. I also (generally) have a junky memory, make terrible conversation, and am usually the least creative person in the room. My pet theory is that all of these are actually related, as symptoms of my brain lacking in one of two ways: either it sucks at creating pathways between related neurons, or it sucks at actually sending electricity from one neuron to related ones. Either way, firing one neuron doesn’t generally get a rise out of any related neurons, meaning that reliving memories, remembering memories, making conversational leaps from one topic to the next, and putting things together in new ways is a bit more difficult for me.

Think about this: I live with The Awkward Pause every day of my life.

I mention this not to complain, but to highlight the significance of what I’m about to say next: I had three dreams last night.

The first one is lost to the mists of the ages (you might say that I forgot it…), but the other two stuck with me. One featured some sort of bacteria or virus that killed people using the figurative death of a thousand cuts—so many tiny cuts that you bled to death. (I suppose that infection would kill before blood loss, in reality—but reality need not apply!) It was horrifying to watch the entire world fall to this disease; it was terrifying to hole up in my house and hope that death didn’t visit me.

I’d describe it as a combination of Stephen King’s The Stand and the “guilt” virus from the DS/Wii game, Trauma Center. Maybe a bit of the “empty London” scene from 28 Days Later, too.

The other dream had me waking up (in a ground-floor apartment) to see an arab man peeking in my window. When he saw that I was awake, he ran off. Thinking that odd, but otherwise writing it off, I continued with my day… only to learn, later, that a fatwa calling for my death had been issued.

Talk about a downer.

Needless to say, dream-me was paranoid for the rest of my dream-day. Nothing happened, though, beyond me sweating bullets.

(And, no, I have no idea what dream-me did to deserve that.)

Awesome T-shirt and other tangents

While walking out of 7-Eleven yesterday, I had the distinct pleasure of holding the door open for a guy in his 50s wearing my new favorite t-shirt. It was a basic black shirt* with the following text printed on it:

cleverly disguised as a responsible adult

[*Now that I reflect on it, wearing a black shirt this week is pretty psychotic—we’re in the middle of a nasty (for us) heat wave…]

Holy smokes. I had heard this decade referred to as the noughts (though we spelled it naughts, perhaps incorrectly) back in the late ’90s. What I didn’t put together, until I read it today**, is that we could also refer to this decade as the noughties. [**Yes, that’s the kind of thing I read for “fun.” I need to get out more.]

Proof of how old I am: when I was yearbook editor, we made the call to use the term “naughts” in the yearbook based on the word of exactly one writer on staff—without any verification that it was actually correct. While we had internet access back then, it was mostly used for email and idle entertainment. (In this golden age, there was no spam (!); the closest you would get would be your friends being asses.) There was no Wikipedia to do any sort of spot-check. There was no Google. My favorite search engine, back then, was AltaVista.

I sound old to myself.

I’m still blown away at how the internet has changed from a curiosity into a major facet of everyday life in under a decade. I have a hard time remembering(/imagining) life without it, now, but it wasn’t that long ago…

The Everybody Spams Channel

At least ninety-five percent of the time my Wii is on, it’s turned to either the Everybody Votes channel or Wii-mail. (Andy’s girlfriend, Julie, has dubbed Wii-mail the Everybody Spams Channel—an apt title, at least for us.) I think I’m doing this Wii thing wrong.

When ASX hits 6.25, I want you to buy 100,000 puts at 6.20 and do NOT FUCK THIS UP LIKE LAST TIME.
Who comes first? Bros or Hos?
Why did Sara dump me? Too ugly or too dumb?

To whom it may concern

Making the Fourth of July a Wednesday is un-American.

Don’t we have some sort of House committee that looks into these sorts of things?

Brent casts LIFE1 on his blog. Brent is a piss-poor mage.

Still not dead, but holy crap is my life in shambles. Tomorrow I am to attend a bachelor party for my friend Myles, which will cost me most of my weekend. Weekends appear to be the only times I have to fight the growing chaos. Growing chaos will win. QED.

The fourth and final reason why I’ve been neglecting this blog is also the most substantial of the bunch: I bought a house. Finding the house (though my sister and mom did most of that work), closing on the house, buying a washer and dryer and fridge for the house, cleaning and moving my stuff into the house, transferring and setting up all the appropriate services to the house… that’s all been done. It’s been an exhausting couple months, really.

Brian’s landlady, Wendy, informed me that I am now a landed gentleman. I suppose I technically am, though it’s not much land and I’m not much of a gentleman.

There’s still miles to go, though. Having my stuff in the house doesn’t mean that I have it put away. I now have to sweat the hordes of weeds that are overtaking my yard. Most troubling is the fact that my finances are in shambles from the move; they certainly can’t stay that way for much longer.

I did finally change my desktop picture to something summery, though. I have ambitions of doing the same for the sidebar pictures in this blog. (I had ambitions to do the same last summer, too. *cough*) As things settle down and I start to regain balance in my life, this blog should start picking up as well.

It certainly is summer here, though. Shorts have been broken out, and the college kids have all left for home. While I mourn the departure of the (ever-younger) college gals, I really do love the peaceful quiet that fills their void.

Season finale

I’m a fan of House. I all but set aside 9-10pm on Tuesday nights in order to get my fix. I can’t say that I’ve watched every episode (most, though), nor do I claim to devote a ton of the rest of my life thinking about the show. I do have a respect and admiration for the character that I have a hard time articulating, however.

There’s only one time a year when I’ll spend a few minutes looking for message board posts about what people thought about a show, and that’s when the season ends. I enjoy reading people’s speculation for what will come next; some people devote much more energy to a show than I ever would.

House’s third season ended tonight. So I took to the internet to see what people were saying, as usual. What they were saying is irrelevant here; what stuck out to me was how much more these people got out of the episode than I did. It’s rather embarrassing: on one side was theme, motivation, insight; on the other side I was all but drooling on myself.

If my real-world performance for assessing character and motivation is as impaired as my TV-world performance, then I should never be responsible for another person in any capacity. I do that bad.

My saving grace is that TV-world is not real-world. Despite my general disdain for the “different people learn in different ways” line of educational theory, I came head-to-head with my own learning blind-spot in seventh grade: TV. We would watch educational videos, and then take a quiz on them afterward to give us motivation to pay attention. I consistently got Ds and Fs on those quizzes. I was not a D or F student.

I was never happy with those scores, so I focused my entire energy into watching and absorbing those videos. (I also tried taking notes during the video, but there was just too much information flying by too quickly for me to capture it all.) No dice: Ds and Fs plagued me throughout my seventh grade educational TV quiz career.

I literally could not remember what I had been watching ten minutes earlier. That was incredibly frustrating. But it now leaves me an out for my stunning inattention to huge details on one of my favorite TV shows.

…I guess that’s good.

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