Monday, January 31, 2011

Disjointed Ramblings With No Discernible Thread (a.k.a. "Normal")

I just can't seem to get around to updating this site on a regular basis. I start out with good intentions and positive thoughts about how I'm going to post at least once a week or maybe even twice a week! Holy shit! And then I get all mixed up in my dumb life and I neglect the site. It's not like I forget or anything. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I become keenly aware that it has been X number of days since I last updated and I'm disappointing literally 10's of people (ok, maybe just 10). Before I know it, I've created this mad pressure in my own head about what the next post should be and how it should be a hugely funny/interesting story about how I did whatever with whomever (awww, yeah. Homey whips out the "whom". boo-ya).

But the days pile up and I still can't think of anything even remotely interesting to write about so I....don't. I simply don't write anything about anything. I even went so far during one of my "whooo-hoo-look-at-me-I'm-gonna-be-all-super-creative-and-I-have-all-these-ideas-and-they-come-out-of-my-head-so-fast-that-I-can't-write-them-down-quickly-enough-and-I-need-to-have-some-sort-of-way-to-get-these-great-ideas-onto-the-internet-so-that-people-can-ignore-them" that I went and bought myself a micro-recorder thing. No, seriously. The idea was that I could simply just record the thoughts that are too precious, fragile and fleeting to try to get onto paper or even a computer text file (or, gasp! a fucking blog post) because of course I'd ALWAYS have this recorder thing with me at all times right? I mean, look how small it is! It's totally not inconvenient or unrealistic at all! So I bought it. I've used it as I had intended exactly zero times. I'm a moron. I did record my cat snoring once though. So that's a win right?

Speaking of cats, Molly has a problem. A pretty big problem actually. She has a tumor in her little head. In her right eye specifically. I may have mentioned (I can't remember and god knows I don't actually read this) that her eye changed color last year and although the doctor said, "Meh, that happens, no worries", we were worried all the same thank you very much. Her behavior was different (more aggressive than usual) and The Wiff took her back to the vet to get some scans and shit done. Turns out the eye is cancerous. Lovely. So tomorrow (Feb 1st) she goes in to surgery to have it removed. I'm going to have a pirate kitty. Poor little girl. I'm actually really worried about it but since I'm also completely shut down emotionally and don't know how to express how I truly feel, I shall minimize it and move on. Hold on a sec while I turn this stress and angst into a little hard ball that will eventually eat its way out of my chest....there we go.

So, winter. Can we talk about winter for a paragraph or two? The snow has been such a fucking asshole this year. I know that in '94-'95 and '96 here in Boston there was more snow than blah blah blah I don't fucking care. Back then I didn't have a car and I lived in an apartment where it was someone else's job to shovel this shit. Now it is my responsibility (unless I'm in Miami, right Amy? Wheeeeee!). I am old and decrepit and quite honestly I have run out of places to put the stuff. The snow piles on my sad little postage stamp of a lawn are taller than I am. The snow bank at the end of my driveway is the size of one of those huge SUV's. And this week we're supposed to get even more snow. Great. I give up. Just keep snowing on me. Make my roof collapse. I don't care anymore. I can't fight you Mother Nature, you win automatically. I can't even flip the board (which is a great tactic usually when losing a game).

Last week it snowed too but I didn't care because I was in Miami (ok, technically I was in Coral Gables but fuck you, that's close enough). I never "got" Florida but I moved a little closer to being able to understand it. It was lovely I must admit. The weather was in the mid-70's with moderate humidity. Not oppressive but just enough to let you know that yea, the air might be a little "thick" fat boy. I won't bore you with details about the conference because quite frankly you will not care. I'm in this industry and I had a hard time caring about all of the lectures and presentations. There was one presenter who we were told who's journey to Miami from South Africa had taken 40 hours. Well I can tell you right now that that motherfucker should have stayed home. Holy shit. I've never experienced something that mind-numbingly dull in my life. And this from a guy who read The Simarillian on purpose.

First of all the guy was super nervous, so right off the bat he got my sympathy vote. I feel you mister. This is gonna suck for you. Don't worry about it. Head down and press on through ok? I'm here for ya. Then he started speaking in that weird sort-of-German-but-wait-isn't-that-more-of-an-Australian-vibe accent of his. His stutter was so profound that it was painful. I get it mister. Stutters suck. No worries though, we're not going anywhere. Move through it. Keep yer chin up! He then proceeded to go through each of his slides bullet point by fucking bullet point in such soul-crushing detail that I slowly moved from sympathy, to boredom, to indifference, to finally bare knuckled hatred in the span of 50+ minutes. At the end I didn't want to be glad he was done because I thought I might have been hallucinating and he'd be going back up to go through the thing all over again. I might have died if that happened. I certainly lost all interest in the next speaker I can tell you that much.

The take home messages are that I should be more open to going somewhere warm during the winter months (something I've literally never done before) and that air travel still sucks ass. American Airlines is equivalent to taking a city bus for 3 hours (except a city bus doesn't have the potential to fall out of the sky). I spent the bulk of the flight home wishing foul, awful things on the family seated behind me and their 4 screaming children. If any of the wishes have come true then I'm sure I would have seen something on the news by now. I also wanted to stab the guy seated next to me several times. Why? Well I had the window seat and he was jammed in the middle seat between me and one of my co-workers. He clearly wanted to have a window seat because he kept leaning forward and into my space to look out the window. Dude, look, we're on the right side of a plane that's going up the east coast of the United States. Guess what's out that window? If you said "a shit-ton of water and not much else" then you are correct. Sit the fuck back and I'll let you know when we pass over some land that you couldn't identify if you absolutely had to, ok? He was also one of these guys who when the plane finally came to a stop he bolted out of his seat so he can get into the aisle as quickly as possible. Yea, know that we're basically in the back of the plane here right? It's gonna take a while skippy. Ah people, how I loathe them.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sure Would Like to Hear Some Music

The radio in my car suddenly stopped working last week and I have yet to figure out why that is. I did the usual checking of the fuses but they all seem to be in order. I disconnected the battery and then reconnected it (on the advice of a car guy on the internets) in the hopes that it would do something. I guess it is the car equivalent of turning your computer on and off to see if that helps. It didn't. Right now the radio sits in the middle of my dash like a dark rectangle of shame. I'm sorry I failed you radio. I do not know how to fix you because I lack the skills to diagnose the problem and repair you. I'm afraid that I will most likely just replace you. Please don't look at me like that. No, I don't know if it's just a loose wire or some other "simple" thing that made you up and die. I don't...look, I's just that ... can I get a word in here? Thanks. I am sorry radio, but you have not been working since December 30th and I have to tell you; if I have to go through another week of commuting without music to distract me from the realization that I will have to do this for many, many more years...let's just say I'd rather not think about that right now.

There are other problems in my house that keep reminding me that I am not an electrician or a plumber. The house is fairly old (1920's) and the wiring is, for the most part, suspect at best. We have replaced a bunch of things (including everything in the kitchen and the actual electric panel in the basement) but there still is a large amount of sketchy plugs and shitty ceiling fixtures as well as switches that may or may not do anything. As of this writing there are exposed wires poking out of what used to be a switch for the overhead light in the spare bedroom (I have at least capped them so that no one can zap themselves accidentally. You'd really have to work at it to get electrocuted at this stage up there). We have substituted a floor lamp as a "temporary" solution. However, it has been there for months now. It's pathetic.

The plumbing issues stem from a lot of DIY work that previous owners have attempted in years long gone. There is a veritable spider web of pipes in the basement that I find daunting. Near as I can tell, most of it can be eliminated and replaced with a couple of relatively straight runs but again, I should point out that I have no actual experience with plumbing. Maybe all those crazy dips and bends and runs that go nowhere are essential to keeping everything working properly. Probably not but I don't feel like I'm qualified to say for sure. A couple years ago I bought a plumbing starter kit in anticipation of venturing down there and making everything shiny and new. But once I realized that open flame and heavy metals are involved I retreated back upstairs to my computer and have not made any attempt at "fixing" things down there.

Why so skittish? Well two main reasons: 1) Electrical work if done improperly can burn your goddamn house down. 2) Plumbing work if done improperly can flood your goddamn house. If I had someone with the skills who was willing to walk me through doing some of this work I'm fairly certain I could do a lot of it. But as of this moment, such a person does not exist. I know people who do know how to do some of this (actually, I have a cousin who is a fantastic electrician and has done work in the house before but he's super crazy busy and it's hard for him to find the time. Plus, he has a family and lives in New Hampshire so I don't like to impose), but it's not like they live next door to me. For any of them to help it'd basically be a giant pain in their ass. And so, I have not asked. Will I ask? Dunno. Maybe. But for now I'm just ignoring the problems in hope that they will resolve themselves. That'll work right?

And now for some conversation whiplash: I feel like doing an 5-Song Shuffle. You know the rules right? Of course you do. Get your iPod or whatever you use to listen to your tunes and put it on shuffle. Write down the first 5 songs that come up without skipping any. No cheating now. If something hideous comes up, that's on you. Please leave your list in the comments section. I know that there's those damn squiggly letters that you have to enter but that's to prevent crazy spam messages from appearing in the comments section. Ok, here goes:

The Gap Band –  Early in the Morning (oooh, a STRONG opening! I want a shiny silver suit with fringe too! flaming drumsticks! wheeeeee!)
The Walkmen – Another One Goes By (ow. MP3 whiplash)
The Clash – Tommy Gun
Jay Z - Never Change
Semi Precious Weapons – Magnetic Baby (such a fun, poppy, goofball band)

Hmm, not too shabby. Ok, bye!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Could You Pass Me the Remote?

My vacation is over. I was on holiday from December 22nd through yesterday, January 3rd. Today I am back to my old routine and I gotta say; I'm not thrilled about it. During my vacation there were days where I was certainly quite busy. Either I was visiting with others or doing work around the house (not to mention the nearly 4 hours of shoveling I did on the 27th. I so wish I had a snow blower), but what I will remember most fondly from this time off was how I brought laziness to a whole new level. I'm talking sloth of epic proportions. I slept in most days and there were several days where I just stayed in and played video games while wearing my pajamas, pausing only to get more coffee and perhaps to bathe (I'm not an animal for crying out loud). It was glorious. If I had had a couple more days off, I think I could have reached a point where I could have become inanimate. The Wiff for the most part accepted my inertia and did not try to get me to actually do things. I appreciated that immensely. I needed this past couple of weeks of dormancy and now I'm ready to rejoin the living. I have a business trip to Miami coming up this month so here's hoping it's not 35°F and raining when I get there.