Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Benefits of Not Being Anonymous

or, "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet... Hard, Fast, and Apologetic Afterward"


I love anonymous bloggers. The mystery of who they could be, and if I might have already met them at some point in my life, and the openness of their stories (names excluded, obviously). It's great. but not everyone seems to agree. In some cases, a lot of negativity is hurled at these people who want to tell their stories and still have some privacy, and that's kind of depressing.

From the day that I started blogging, I've been out in the open. Even before then, on message boards like 9thWonders and a few others, I've openly listed my name, birth date, and the area that I live in. Maybe it comes from years of low self-esteem, but I figured that nobody would choose to track me down for murder-rape and any other bad things. Even my Twitter handle is my first and last name, just like my blog URL. I gave up on internet privacy a long time ago, and haven't had to worry about crazy people since... well, except for Kelly and Ralph, but I've grown pretty fond of them and their kids.

I think that the mystery of those anonymous bloggers, alluring in more than a few cases, is the problem and not just the draw. Most people aren't really the type to let a mystery stay as it is, especially not one as "minor" as who the blogger could be. Sometimes that results in wondering about your interactions with people ("could _____ be that cool blogger?"), and sometimes people unfortunately take it to the dark side, and get a little stalker-y.

The problem is that this "minor" mystery is only minor to these people. To the blogger, the mystery is their identity, their everything. Anonymous users can be - and have been - tracked down by their "fans", making the paranoid attitude towards the internet that much more reasonable.

For two years, I've aired out my "dirty laundry", on this blog and in the earlier days of Random Ramblings, and haven't had any problems. Maybe it's because I'm an uninteresting asshat (I'm willing to keep that possibility open), but the lack of mystery might have an effect too, even if my small readership never really thought about it that way.

How did I make the decision to be publicly me? Because I figured nobody would care enough to stalk me. What are my results? Local friendships, a visit from Australia, and a fantastic trip to the east coast, with a lot of fun spending time with Matt, Nikki, Sohail and so many other cool people that I met through them. I've had nothing but good come from my openness so far, and hope that continues.

So, to all of the anonymous bloggers - I'd love to meet you some day, if you're anywhere near my part of Washington, and I love your blogs. The internet doesn't all suck, and not everyone online is out to destroy your life. Keep blogging, despite your bad experiences, and I'll keep reading.

To everyone else, thank you for your impact on my life. You all are fucking awesome.


-----


In the interest of continued openness, I'm going to start sharing stories that I haven't told yet, or haven't told the whole story. I've got a few listed, so you can take your pick of which:

    • Life Without Religion
    • Worst Stripper Bar Ever
    • Never Again, Greyhound
    • Better Off Platonic
    • Verbal Diarrhea
    • When I Was "The Other Guy"
    • Stupid Orange Bastards
    • You Got Some Nerd On Me

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DELICIOUS: The "Muenster Mash"



You like the name? Maybe it's not as amusing to everyone else as it is to me, but it cracked me up when I thought of it, so it works for me. After all, I'm the only one that I have to amuse. :P

It may not be as seasonally-appropriate as my chicken noodle soup was, but it's another one that takes less than half an hour, and I'd say that it turned out better than the soup did. Just like the soup, there was something great about it: I had no idea what I was making when I started doing it. I pulled some eye round steaks, veggies and seasonings out of the fridge and went with what felt like a good idea.

INGREDIENTS:
Carrots
Celery
Green onions
Steak (cut is your preference, I used some eye round steaks that I had handy)
Muenster cheese
Hot sauce (optional)
Seasonings to taste

  • Dice up the vegetables, and then use a blender to get them really fine. I used the Magic Bullet that I got in July to get them pretty well tossed-together and minced up.
  • Cut the steak(s) into bite-sized pieces and toss it into a medium-sized bowl with the vegetables.
                     
  • Here's the part where you have to get creative on your own - seasonings/sauces to mix in with it. I've used two different hot sauces the two times I've made it, and both turned out great (the first was Laughing Bull hot sauce, and the other was Dat'l Do It "datil gold" hot sauce). I've also put a bit of soy sauce, salt/pepper, onion powder, and steak seasoning in mine.
  • Put your chosen seasonings/sauces into the bowl, cover it with some sort of plastic wrap, and shake the hell out of it to make sure that it gets thoroughly mixed. Then toss it in either a lightly-oiled pan, or a good non-stick pan and fry it up. Normally I like my steak to be medium-rare, but with pieces these small and this particular meal, there's not much room for anything other than well-done little pieces.
  • Finally, dice up some muenster cheese (or, if you insist on using another cheese, you can - horseradish cheddar would work well) and mix it in as it melts. I served my "Muenster Mash" on thick-cut slices of French bread, as seen above.

So, here's another delicious meal that satisfies at least a portion of everything in the food group, including fruit if you use the datil pepper hot sauce like I did. I definitely recommend using the hot sauce unless you absolutely can't handle hot sauces or peppers - but if that's the case, you should avoid my cooking-related posts anyway, because I put the stuff in almost everything!

I've been working a little too much to post more often, but I might have some exciting news to share soon. I'll keep you posted, and you'll also be able to see my contributions to the Grays Harbor Down blog, a community project started by a friend of mine!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DELICIOUS CHICKEN SOUP


I MAKE IT.


It's (almost) winter, it's cold as hell, and I got the idea to make some chicken noodle soup to enjoy. Chicken noodle soup is great comfort food, and eating my delicious soup while writing my guest post for Reynard City was a pretty good time. I'm a firm believer in being as comfortable as possible when reading or writing. :)

There are two great things about this chicken soup, aside from how good it turned out: (1) It was my first time making my own soup, and (2) it didn't take that long to cook. I mean, if you've got half an hour - or less, I was cooking distracted - you've got a great soup, prep time and all.

INGREDIENTS:
Chicken broth
Chicken breast
Celery
Carrots
Green onions
Egg noodles
Salt, pepper, seasonings to taste

  • Start off by cooking your chicken. There's lots of ways to do this, but the one that I chose was boiling. You have to be careful with this one, though, because it can lead to your chicken being really dry if you don't pay attention. I filled my pot with water, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and some finely-diced green onions.
  • When the chicken is cooked all the way through (165°F as measured with a meat thermometer), empty the pot through a strainer, so that only the chicken is left. Let it cool a bit, and then cut it into bite-sized pieces.
  • Chop the vegetable similarly, or to your preferred size. Some like 'em big, some want them so diced that they barely know they're there. Me, I like them just a little smaller than bite sized.

  • Put your chicken broth, chicken, and raw veggies into the pot, and cook on a low boil, covered, for about 8 minutes.
  • Uncover and add the egg noodles, cooking an additional 7 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked.
I didn't put any portions for the ingredients intentionally, as I figure it's kind of up to you how much you decide to use. I used just under a pound of chicken, about 50 ounces of chicken broth, one carrot, two sticks of celery, and six or seven green onions. A little garlic might've been good, and for my tastes, it needed a little pepper. But overall, it turned out great, and I'm looking forward to making a bigger pot of it soon.

I'm going to be cooking a lot more, as often as I can. What do you guys think? Should I start putting recipes on here? :D

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

I love when it storms.

I'm not talking a little more rain than normal, I mean a full-on storm. You know the kind: the wind and rain are beating on your windows, the lights flicker a little, and just a few quick seconds outside will have you nearly drenched, if not blown away.

To some, they're inconvenient, and some hate the prospect of a power outage. I own some flashlights though, and have books. The sound of the storm outside is soothing, and I could easily fall asleep.

I work graveyard shift tomorrow night though, so I won't let the storm sing me to sleep. What I will do, I think, is make some coffee and write. I've got a snowball's chance in hell of making it to 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, but I do have the start of a novel, and some new ideas.

:)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This is just going to be a quick post. I'm on break at work and not really supposed to be using my phone, but oh well.

If you've wondered, I'm doing well so far. Still soul-crushingly broke most of the time, but my landlord is understanding and letting me pay what I can, when I can. If only Verizon were as accommodating....

I'm still working a lot, but not always graveyard now, which is awesome and lame at the same time. My work schedule's been all over the place, which means I'm exhausted a lot of the time, but such is the price of being a wage-slave. My one-year mark is closer than it feels like, and as of late March, I'll have a week of paid vacation to return to New Jersey with. I'm so eagerly looking forward to seeing everyone there again!

Anyway, it's back-to-work time! I'm going to try and get a real post in soon, but until then, be well. :)

#end

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Writer's Block: A guest post from @ReynardCity!


This is one of a couple upcoming guest posts, from the great @ReynardCity! Check him out, and check out the Reynard City comic! I'll be posting over there some time soon, too!


Breaking Writer’s Block

In some ways I blame movies. Usually movies depict writers furiously staring at typewriters or with waste paper baskets full of rejected prose. They then have some kind of moment of inspiration, usually from a moment of pain or joy that occurs in their personal life.

This is understandable, as essentially stories tend to be about drama and conflict. However we don’t tend to think of this with other jobs. If you’re a carpenter nobody thinks you build tables in a moment of furious creativity. As boring as it is, working on your “craft” is not just something people say in interviews.

I don’t want to say blocks don’t exist. They do exist and they often come in distinct categories. I will go over common problems and offer possible solutions. Like studying for an exam, it’s up to you to find something that works for you, but most of these will work at some point…

“I want to write but I don’t know what to write”

Strangely enough this is probably the one I’ve least come across. Most people have ideas it’s just they’re not always sure what to do with them. If you are at this point, think about the things you like. If you like comedy, then write comedy. If you want to write about your life, write about your life.

I think the mistake people sometimes make is taking “Write what you know” too literally. You can take elements of real life and apply them to fiction. I don’t want to be too indulgent or self referential but there are moments of my life or elements of people I know in Reynard City.

One of the key things is to have something to note ideas down wherever you are. It could be a simple “What if?” or even a sentence. Generally I find the best ones will keep coming back and won’t go out of your head.

A good exercise for this is a brain storm. Put a word in the middle of a spider diagram (eg “sitcom”) and branch out words associated with it (eg “family”, “misunderstanding” etc) Don’t worry if you think the words aren’t “relevant”. It’s all part of the process.

“I want to write a novel/poem/sketch and it’s not working”

This is almost the opposite of not having an idea. This is where you love a concept but you immediately decide it needs to be a certain thing. However ideas are not always concrete.

If your novel isn’t working, consider trying it as a short story, a comedy sketch or a monologue. Ideas can change form over time, sometimes fusing with other ideas. In other cases, sometimes they need to be separated. For example I recently made two sketches separated from one that I wrote because the two halves had such ludicrous contrast (one was about a husband and wife, the other about a henchwoman reporting to a villain)


“I want to write but I can’t get started/don’t want to/am tired”

As boring as it is, the solution to this one is often routine. There are so many distractions to writing that it can be easy to forget what you were meant to be doing. This is why you need to establish what you do in a day.

I’m lucky because a number of family members are self employed. This means there is no boss telling you what to do so you need to do it for yourself. Essentially you need to create a working day.

You may say “I’ll write a chapter a day/3000 words etc”. If that works for you, then good for you! However in my experience if I get started on something I want to keep going and personally there is nothing wrong with that.

It is also equally important to put relaxation into the routine. This may sound contradictory but I find it means you have points in the day where you can switch off and not worry. Ironically this is often the time when ideas start happening.


“How do I know if it’s any good? What if the person I send it to steals my idea?”

My personal advice is complete a first draft done as soon as you can. That initial rush is not something to be afraid of, it tends to be the most fun! However the real test is what you do after that initial rush.

If you don’t have anyone around to give feedback then a good trick is to stop writing for a couple of days. You can then reread your work in a less biased way. It is important to be as neutral as possible. Always think what you are trying to say and how the story is constructed and whether it works or not. At this point “good” or “bad” is irrelevant. It is purely construction.

This is when you do the next draft. If you are happy with it, now is the time to offer feedback. With collaborative projects like the comedy society and the comic I am lucky because I NEED to work with these people, as they will be making these words come to life, either via art or speech. This is when you know if it doesn’t work as they’ll usually ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. If you are worried about copyright, put a printed copy of your manuscript in a sealed envelope and sign the date. Post it back to yourself via recorded delivery so there is evidence of the date (keep hold of the receipt as well).

Another good method is to read your work out loud or get someone else to do it. Don’t make the mistake George Lucas made (“You can type this sh** George but you can’t say it” moaned Harrison Ford. Then again his sh** made multiple millions, so it’s your call.)

I don’t want to sound preachy or that my way is the only way. Some elements will work better than others. Some people will need snacks and coffee to hand, while others will keep working until their break time for their sugar/coffee/alcohol hit. Some people like music in the background, others find it distracting and want to focus.

What I will say is don’t let the routine overshadow the work. To do lists are good, arranging your work into categories and using a fancy highlighter to indicate what is shopping, work break and writing less so.

Some days will be harder than others, I won’t lie. On those days this is when you should go for a walk, read a newspaper, watch a film. If possible read a newspaper you don’t always buy, watch a film from a genre you wouldn’t normally choose, find somewhere out of the way that you don’t usually walk to.

There are also a number of excellent books that help provide you with ideas and structure. Ones that I have found useful include Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg (especially creative exercises), Comedy Writing Secrets (I’m sorry I forgot the name of the author and lent the copy to my bro, I would look it up but I have other writing work to do, got to practise what I preach!), Story by Robert McKee (brilliant for screenwriting structure, especially the case studies using scenes from classics such as Chinatown and Casablanca) and The Hero’s Journey by Christopher Vogler (Perfect for character and story structure).

When reading these books don’t look for a “formula”. They should be an aid to your writing, not a crutch. If you include them as part of your routine eventually you will be able to do your own exercises and will gradually find working practises that allow you to work at your own pace.

It is also equally possible (and I include myself in this) that you have work in the day or night. This is not an excuse. I have worked 50 hours a week in a pub and still found time for creative work. I have known people who work nights on long factory shifts so they can raise money to work on creative projects.

In short, creative writing, art or anything of that nature is not easy. However if you can find a routine you should be able to get the most from your ideas in the long term. Good luck!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

So, I got robbed at work about a week and a half ago.

I waited to post about it until after it was in the local news so that I couldn't be in trouble at work for spreading things like that around, which bosses don't much care for. Pretty understandable, but when it's someone like me who is a Twitter-maniac and a blogger, it ties my hands to want to say "Holy shit" after it happens.

The good news is that the robber was caught, after robbing a Sterling Savings Bank about 35 miles away from my work, in the town of Oakville. He's being charged with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon (he had a folding knife of some sort), and claims to have been doing it because of his kids.

It sucked, and a lot of the people that have heard about it have expressed a lot of concern, which I appreciate. I just wanted to finally mention it on here, because I don't like NOT being able to talk about things on here. Work's still going on, and since it had been ten years between that robbery and the one prior, I have a feeling that whenever the next one happens, I'll be long-gone from 7-11 by then.

NOW FOR OTHER STUFF:

I'll be having a couple of guest bloggers on here soon, and they're some people that I've enjoyed getting to know over the last year or more. One of them wrote a few posts for Random Ramblings during its day, and writes her own blog, the great Red Dot Diva blog full of geekiness, pop culture awareness, and overall entertaining stuff.

The other guest poster is the creator of the Reynard City comic, which you should read if you haven't already. There are so many cool things coming out of that (dare I say it?) franchise, and I'm looking forward to it -- follow @ReynardCity on Twitter for occasional updates about something involving "side-scrolling" and "beat-em-up".

I'll be posting on their blogs as well, and if anyone is interested in post-trading some time, let me know! I've been itching to blog-swap for a while now, and would love to help more of the bloggers that I enjoy more of an audience. So, send me an email or comment here if you want to swap!

Now I have to get back to writing. It's kind of all that I'm doing when I'm not working or sleeping. TO THE WRITER-MOBILE (aka, shoes).

Friday, November 4, 2011

So I think I might fail NaNoWriMo...

But before @wAonLdeIrlCanEd and @Barnababe2010 start sharpening their stabby things to make good on their threats, that doesn't mean that I'm giving up. In fact, I'm far from "giving up".

I'm just coming to the realization that, with a full-time graveyard shift job that I can't write during, and the amount of sleep necessary for me to be able to do that job and keep shoplifters and the like out of the store, I don't think I can commit. As it stands, I have just 2002 words... which would be great if it was day one, or if I was planning on writing 2000 words a day for 25 days this month.

So while I'm still going to TRY to finish NaNoWriMo, even if I fail, I'll have a decent start to a full novel. And without the "during November" limit, I can definitely finish and get publisher-submission-ready with it. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's official: I've gone insane (NaNoWriMo)

Happy NaNoWriMo day! At roughly 1667 words per day, it's time to start writing. Only problem?

Real life.

This year will (hopefully) be the first year that I complete this crazy "50,000 word novel in 50 days" challenge. However, I work graveyard shift, in a very direct customer service job. Unlike my last two attempts, I don't work a desk job that gives me time to write. Still, I was pretty impressed to get most of the first chapter hand-written last night, even though it was moderately busy.

Since I work graveyard, it's time for me to crash now, and get to some heavy writing when I wake up in the evening. To my fellow NaNoWriMo writers: GOOD LUCK!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yay! Real mobile blogging!

Ever wondered just how much blogging it'd take before you got sick of me? We can find out now! I have a new phone. YAY!

It's an LG Enlighten, with the Android OS. And, unlike the Blackberry that I had, there are actually GOOD apps available for it. Blackberry's kind of the red-headed stepchild of the smartphone world, which I didn't care about when I got it.

Now I have a very capable Blogger app, so I can churn shit out anywhere and any time.

But for now, I have to go to work. So, Android users, what are your must-have apps? Or even just some apps you think are fun? Leave me some recommendations to check out when I'm off work. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So, I almost got hit by a truck today...

It's not nearly as much fun as it sounds - and, unless you're an idiot, getting hit by a truck shouldn't really sound fun to begin with.

Tonight was a productive night. I decided to take the #Occupy movement and apply it to my own situation: #occupymyroom. I'm tired of my stuff taking up all of my bedroom, and feeling so disorganized, but not doing anything about it. Now, my room is sort of worth occupying. I came close to calling in a hazmat team, but no cops. Hooray!

On a serious note, though, I did almost get seriously injured today, and I'm not happy about it. I'd walke from my place to the nearby 7-11 for some grub, and then was walking from there to my grandma's to get online for a while. Crossed a street with a truck a half a block away, and next thing I know, it's sped up and I'm jumping out of the way as he takes the corner VERY sharply. Fucker almost hit me, and since he was driving a company truck for a local-ish construction company, I'm still debating whether or not to call and complain to them.

Now, I'm going to drown my anxiety in some glorious internets, and figure out something new and stupid to do that WON'T get me nearly seriously-injured.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I really need to stop trash-talking

Or "I'm a curse to sports teams".




Image from totalprosports.com

If you don't follow me on Twitter or talk about hockey online, you might not remember that I'm a hockey fan. The Canucks are "my" team, whether I'm happy for them or wondering what the hell happened to them, I'll be rooting for them all the way.

. . .

And I think that's the problem. So far this season, if I'm talking shit to fans of other teams, the Canucks LOSE to those teams. Granted, it's still really early in the season, but it's happened each time so far. I talked shit to Nick and Em before the season opener against the Penguins, and the Penguins beat them. Just a few days ago, I was trading trash-talk and talking about how the Canucks were going to beat the Flyers... and then they didn't. Both games were good games, but what happened when I kept my mouth shut and actually missed the game against the Oilers last night? THEY WON.

I'm just going to silently root for the Canucks, and not talk shit with anyone other than Flames fans. And Islanders fans, because... fuck the Islanders.

-J


P.S. One of the cool people I've gotten to know online has been featured as Blogger's "Blog of Note" back on the 12th, for his second time. Go check his blog out, and follow him on Twitter. He's an awesome guy, and has been a strong proponent for peace lately. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm not dead!

Although I can see why you'd think that, since I've been really inactive on here, with no real excuse for it. I'll be sure to submit myself for a public flogging soon, but for now, let me go over the last month -- (MONTH?! Nobody told me it'd been a MONTH since I blogged last!) -- and update you all. :)

It's October! One of my favorite months, because it's the start of that magical time of year when you can say that you want pumpkin pie or other magical pumpkin-flavored things, and people don't look at you funny. Seriously, are there many things in this world better than a good pumpkin pie?

Another good thing about October: 
creative pumpkin carvers
Image from whatthesooke.com

Other than enjoying the occasional bit of pumpkin-related awesome, I've been working a lot, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's great because I like that whole "money" thing, and being able to do grown-up things like "pay bills" and "pay bills" and... is there anything else I do with my money? Come to think of it, not really that much. I do get myself the occasional fun thing, like a CD or a book. The most recent CD purchase? Textures' "Dualism" album, which is AWESOME.


TEXTURES!!! MOTHERFUCKING TEXTURES!!!!!
You guys, I've been enjoying this CD far more than I should be. I've even taken it to work so that I can use the CD player at work instead of listening to the crappy radio stations we have in this area. So far, nobody has complained, so I'll probably keep doing it until I get tired of it. Or until I get a new CD, whichever comes first -- and I've been looking at the latest album from 3, so that might be soon.

So, that's the long and short of things lately. Lots of work (still working the graveyard shift at 7-11), lots of jamming out to Textures. All in all, I can't really complain too much.

I've also been prepping for NaNoWriMo -- my third attempt, and I'm determined to succeed and not let Real Life stop me from finishing again. I've got an idea that I really like, and I'm already eager to start writing on it. This is my year, and I'm going to have a novel by the end of November... or at least part of one, since I think 50,000 words might be a little short. Depends on how much story I can tell with this idea. :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Hello!

 

Know what it’s like when you keep meaning to do something, and kind of forget? And by “forget”, I mean “just don’t do it”? Yeah, that’s been what’s going on. Well, that and…

 

It has been HOT AS HELL the last couple of days.

 

This wouldn’t be a bad thing, but I sleep during the day. Really, the sun should’ve taken shit like that into account when it said “Hey, I’ll make the thermometer read ‘HOLY FUCK’ in Grays Harbor!”, because that’s inconvenient as all hell. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like waking up sweaty and gross because of how warm it’s been.

 

 

So, to update you guys on the last few weeks…

 

My friend’s wedding went well! There were a lot of people in the wedding party, including my friend’s daughter as the flower girl, and another friend’s kid as ring-bearer. It was good to see so many of my friends again – I’ve been friends with the groom and all of the groomsmen since junior high!

 

 

Beyond that, I’ve just been working a lot, and writing as much as possible. I’m almost halfway done with the first issue of my comic book pitch, and am prepping for NaNoWriMo again! I’m also brainstorming an interesting project with James Riot, one of the RRTV contributors!

 

Also, there’s been a couple videos for that, so go check them out! One’s from Emily, and the other is from me. Here’s the links:

 

Em’s video: Canadian Stereotypes!

 

Mine: SPACE IS AWESOME!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Random Ramblings TV!

THE FIRST RRTV VIDEO IS UP!


The editing work was quick, so it's not much of a video this first time around, but I was a little pressed for time (and much later than planned!). But, now that it's up, you can expect more! Nate and Em are both tweeting me about videos that they are wanting to film RIGHT NOW, and I've got sooooo many ideas.

It'll probably be a few weeks before I have a video up with lots of editing work on there, but I think I might try a "Riverside Vlog" soon. Maybe even tomorrow, since I have the day off because one of my long-time friends is getting married.

Anyway, my battery is dying, so we'll see if I can get any more ideas rolling around after I get home, plug in, and cool down. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I HAVE INTERNET AGAIN! ... sort of.

"Reunited, and it feels so goooood!"


Sure, it means that I have to set up my laptop in the kitchen, plug it in behind the microwave, and deal with the occasional drop-offs that come with only having one bar of signal, but I HAVE HOME WIFI AGAIN! ... sort of.

After picking up a connection and being amazed that I was online, I started walking around with my laptop, checking for where the signal could be coming from. Turns out that one of my neighbors has unsecured wifi (and is okay with me leeching it every so often), and the signal drops off the least in this corner of the kitchen. Look forward to more frequent blogging, because I am BACK... until my neighbor objects, or until I get internet of my own and then am MORE BACK!

In other news, Random Ramblings TV is coming soon! I've got introductory clips from some of the people contributing, and I'm editing them together, to be up (on a different site) on Friday. There will be vlogs, and videos, and hopefully some fun times to be had. For more on that, you can ask me on Twitter (@justinbarlow), or check out the fledgling RRTV account (@Ramblings_TV). The intro video goes up on Friday (the 19th)!

Now, I'm going to go listen to Textures and finish doing some necessary shit around the house.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Under the microscope

I came to an odd realization this morning: I think too much.

I don't mean that I think about meaningful things, or even useless things, and I'm not trying to make myself sound smarter than I am. What I am trying to do is come to terms with this 'flaw'.

One thing that I love about some of the blogs I read, sites I visit, and friends I keep, is how in-the-moment they seem. Maybe they're neurotic about it on the inside, but what comes across to me is that they don't overthink everything like I do. To me, it feels like they LIVE. They REACT. They don't try and think too much, eliminate any "what if" situations, or concern themselves so much with the end of something. It feels like they just let themselves be a part of the experience, not concerned with the end.

Somewhere, I forgot how to do that. I forgot how to get wrapped up in the whirlwind of things going on. If someone jokingly proposes an on-the-spot game, I wonder about the technicalities that could cause me to win or lose. If someone tells me "Oh, I saw _____ today", I ask why they told me or what the point of the story is.

It seems like there are only a few situations left that I DON'T overthink everything: when I'm angry, when I'm buried in work, and when I'm being creative (writing or cooking). Even then, if something draws me out of what I'm doing (like my neurotic obsessive-compulsive attitude about time-checking), I go right back to the 'what if' and all the other overthinking.

Any ideas on how to fix this? I can't be cooking or writing constantly, and I'd rather not be angry or buried in work all the time.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

AUGH! and other frustrated noises; another update!

AAAAAUUUUUUUUUGH!

Google Apps has become kind of a pain in the ass to deal with, now that they've updated it. Google+ won't let me back in with this account -- so I made a new one -- and above all, it was trying to tell me that my email address (justin@justin-barlow.com was being used by me as a person and me as an organization. Which apparently does not fly with Dark Lord Google.

So I do its bidding and try and basically merge the data from the "personal account" and the "organizational account", but that's not good enough. Now, logging in to Blogger with my email address said that I had no blogs, because they were under the "personal account", and justin@justin-barlow.com was now the "organizational account". Long and frustrated story made short (ish), I created another email address and through tricks of cleverness and awesome-y goodness, I got my Blogger info and settings moved over to the right account.

Aside from the frustration of trying to figure that out, it's just another night. Usin' the interwebs to catch up on things and pretty much keep myself awake so I can sleep before work tonight. There are some good things on the horizon, though!

After two and a half years without home internet access, I might have internet again soon! Since I'm getting full time on a regular basis again, I'm going to start paying off the (very) past-due $200 that I owe Comcast. That, and a $100 deposit, and I can have the internet/tv/phone combo hooked up. Only one I care about from those three is  the internet, but with mom there and unable to live without TV, that's a necessity. And hey, a land-line might make it so she'll ease up on the cell phone minutes.

Then there's also my ongoing attempts to go to New York City Comic Con this October. It's not a sure thing yet, but I'm making the effort to see how much it'll cost and how much I'll have to save. The cool thing is that I've gotten one offer to stay with a friend while I'm there, so that's out of the way without having to spend money for it! Of course, I'll cook for them like I did for Matt when I was on my trip in April. Have to show my gratitude in some way!

So, anyone want to donate to either the "Get Justin to NYCC" or "Get Justin Internet" funds? :P

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bonfire pictures! And, an update

I promised pictures of the bonfire, and here they are! Sure, it took me ten days to get them up. But only six or seven of those days (okay, maybe eight) were my fault. You should know this: I work a lot. I think I’ve mentioned that. So, here’s the pic-spam!

 

DSC_0632

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Chrissy

 

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Me, kicking ass at Ladder Golf

 

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Nar (Adam’s dad) taking a picture to make him jealous

 

 

Lorali says that there are still more pictures to come, so I might be adding them as she sends them to me. Or maybe I’ll start using my Flickr account, and I can just link there from here. Hmm.

 

Anyway, the last week and a half hasn’t been too extraordinary. I had my busiest night (250+ customers) on Friday at work, and then had a couple of days off, which was pretty nice. I ordered a copy of Mistborn: The Well of Ascension, which should be arriving very soon. I’ve been going through Mistborn withdrawals, since the first book was so good.

 

And in super-exciting-for-me news, which some of you might know from me mentioning it on Twitter and Facebook, I’ve started scripting the first issue of my comic book pitch. That’s going to probably consume a lot of my non-work time, but I’m also going to try to have a little bit of a life, since I’m starting to not be CONSTANTLY BROKE. Which, you know, is pretty nice.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bound by Blood, Fire, and Stone

Last night was, in a word, fantastic.

I love living in a small town, because it affords us the freedom to do things that would be much harder in a big city. A great example is last night, spending hours around a fire-pit with Chrissy (Adam's wife, mentioned yesterday), Nar (Adam's dad), his wife, and Adam's younger brother.

Being able to get out of town and sit around a fire, roasting marshmallows, playing games and catching up on years long past was fantastic. As I said yesterday, Adam moved away unexpectedly during elementary school. What I didn't know until last night was the reason why and that, at Adam's request a while later, his dad had tried finding me for him. Last night brought so many memories back, from Adam and me getting in trouble as kids to him contacting me again about 7 years ago.

I don't have any pictures yet, because my cell phone was dead and I'd forgotten to grab my camera -- I was sleep-deprived and in a hurry -- but I'm hoping to get some soon. Nar's wife, Lorali, had a Nikon camera (DSLR, not a point-and-shoot like mine) and took plenty of pictures. I've asked for some to put up here, so we'll see what I can do! :)

Tonight, it's back to work, for the next five days. I'm making some iced tea to bring with me, because it gets really warm in that store. :)

--Justin


P.S. Keep sending me blog recommendations, whether it's your blog or someone else's! I've gotten some good ones so far!


("Bound by Blood, Fire, and Stone" is from Demonic Resurrection's 2010 album 'The Return to Darkness')
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Meeting of the Minds

Today's kind of exciting! Lack of sleep set aside, I get to meet someone super awesome! Here's the short version of a long story:

Back when I was a kid, in early elementary school, I had a couple of awesome friends: Mike, and Adam. One of them (Mike) moved to Montana when I was nine, and Adam moved to Missouri the following year. Fast forward through middle school and high school, to some time before I moved out to Ocean Shores in 2007, when I still lived with my grandparents. This guy shows up on the porch asking if "Justin Barlow still live[s] here", and when I identify myself, it turned out to be Adam. He was in the area visiting his dad, remembered where I used to live almost a decade before, and decided to see if I still did!

Nowadays, Adam is serving our country as a United States Marine currently on deployment, and is married. This is where the awesomeness of today comes in; his wife, C., is in the state to spend time with her in-laws, and I get to meet and hang out with her tonight! I'm excited, as I've talked on webcam, on the phone, and online with Adam and his wife many times over the years, but haven't yet met her. The only way it could be better is if Adam were to be back from his deployment sooner, something that I know C. would agree with me on.

Aside from that, I had a super-busy night last night at work. It's a little unnerving knowing that last night will apparently pale in comparison to the beginning of next month. Finished watching "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" with Tony (mentioned yesterday as "T.") this morning, too. It was a fun movie, not sure about rewatch value yet. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was awesome in it, and I could see myself being interested in watching a sequel if they decided to make one (with the same cast).

And that's about all I've got this time around. I'm excited to meet C. in person tonight, and will make sure to take a picture or three so that you all can meet her too!




(("Meeting of the Minds" is from Bad Religion's 2010 album 'The Dissent of Man'))

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mischief and Epiphany

So my first solo graveyard shift last night was a mix of good and bad. I can't really get into specifics, but I was pretty irritated with the second half of the night.

Tomorrow is something I've been looking forward to for a while now -- I get to meet my friend A.'s wife, who came to Washington to meet some of her in-laws. I've known A. since I was very young, and can't wait until he's back from his overseas deployment. But for now, I get to meet C., who I know to be pretty damn awesome.

I've also got an agreement with another long-time friend, T., who works for the same 7-11 stores that I do. He's driving me to work on the nights that we both work, and also picking me up in the morning. If this morning was any indication, hangouts are sure to follow -- with today's and tomorrow's consisting of watching G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Oh, and Portal, which I've finally started playing on his PS3. And by "started playing", I mean that I had to start a new game less than a minute in because I broke it.

Somehow, in one of the first levels, while carrying a companion cube backwards through a portal, the portal closed after I had gotten through and before the cube had. But the cube wasn't left in that chamber, it actually disappeared, nowhere to be found at all. T. and I still don't know what the hell happened, other than "I broke Portal". I did better when I restarted, though, and had a lot of fun playing the little that I have so far. Minus my hatred for camera-controlled games (which is the main reason for my hatred of first person shooters).
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One thing that I forgot about...

Recently, I did a Factory Restore on my computer, to clear out a few issues it was having and, really, because I just felt like it'd been a while since the last one. As usual, I kept a list of the programs I wanted to re-install, some of the preferences I wanted to re-adjust, and just the general stuff to remember. I did forget one thing, though: my FeedReader program.

I've talked about FeedReader over on Random Ramblings, but if you don't know about it, it's an RSS feed program. I use it to follow most of the websites that I follow, except for those that don't have an RSS feed, which I fall way behind on (I'm looking at you, @CarbonAndSpace!). I remember some of the ones I had in it, and have gotten a few recommendations, but I'm always looking for more, since a large number of my feeds don't update more than once or twice a week.

So, please, give me blogs and webcomics and all that stuff to check out. I love finding cool new sites, and if I like your blog, I usually end up talking about it eventually. Leave links in the comments, or send me a reply on Twitter with them! :)
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Stumbling In

I've decided (after my two days training) that I'm not a fan of 7-11 graveyard shift. On top of helping customers and keeping fresh food up and cleaning the store, there's an entire (pretty lengthy) page of graveyard shift chores - anywhere from four to ten per hour, as it's split up on the page by each hour of the eight hour shift. The person training me said that I definitely won't be able to do everything every night, so it's comforting to know that I don't HAVE to, although I'll still try. I might learn to like graveyard shift more in time, but ideally, I'll be back on days eventually.

And that's pretty much consumed the last couple of days. If you've never worked graveyard shift, it's kind of a pain. More tiring than days are, even for the same amount of hours, which is all about the circadian rhythm. Pain in the ass, is what it is. Working graveyard shift pretty much amounts to work, sleep, rinse, repeat. I'm going to try and find something to do in the mornings before sleeping, and in the late afternoons after waking and before work, so we'll see how that goes. I'll probably go for a morning jog to make it so that I really pass the hell out.

Some recent good news, that I don't think I've blogged yet: an end to my (current) debt is in sight!

After the (not-so-mysterious-anymore) Random Mystery Deposit from my old work, that enabled me to pay my cell phone bill and keep my checking account from closure, I found out that I'm caught up on rent -- with another few paychecks between now and then, which means more than enough to cover it. And the collection agency that has been on my ass about the (ridiculous) medical bills from my trip to the ER last summer for wisdom tooth pain has lowered my payments, the last one having been returned as "Insufficient Funds". I told them back in January that I didn't have the money, so now they believe me, and at the current rate, it should be paid off by March or April.

After spending the last couple years being broke, due to trying to support myself and my mom on (barely above) minimum wage, the idea of being able to save up money again is pretty exciting. Now if only I could manage to get myself into the "good credit" range...

And if you've finished this boring and (probably) too-personal post, I thank you. You readers have saved me tons of money on therapy -- which, to be honest, I could probably use. I'll try to be more interesting for the next one. Maybe a "tales from graveyard shift" post, if anything weird happens!
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Saturday, June 18, 2011

In brightest day...

I'd planned on going for a hike around Lions Park, but less-than-great weather this morning (and less than four hours sleep last night) put the kibosh on that idea. To make up for the promised pictures, I'm going to go on the next nice day that I have off.

Other than that, today was good. And a little bit weird, in one spot. If I haven't made it abundantly clear, I am incredibly broke. A few weeks ago, I'd been told that, since my bank account had been overdrawn for over a month, it would shut down and go to collections soon. Unfortunate as it is, that's what happens when a debt collector takes money that you tell them you don't have. I decided that since I was so deep anyway, I'd check to see if my account was still open, and if it was then I'd dig myself a little deeper by paying my cell phone bill.

Aaaand there's the weird part. I don't know WHY (and I'm not going to ask), but there was a deposit from my old work that not only got me out of the red, but gave me enough to pay my cell phone bill and go see Green Lantern. It could be some back-due vacation pay or something else, but I'm not going to ask. It has saved my bank account and my ability to keep in touch with the outside world, so I'm just going to be happy with that.

Speaking of Green Lantern, it was fantastic. I've got part of a video review recorded already for Random Ramblings TV, but here's the gist of it: It was fun as both a Green Lantern fan and a casual moviegoer. My doubts about some of the casting (Blake Lively) and some story elements (like Parallax) were cleared up very quickly, and some things actually improved on the comics (mainly, Parallax's origin). Also, the suit looks a million times better than the version that was shown on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, a looooong time ago.
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Nothing like a fresh start

There’s nothing like a fresh start, so I’m working on giving myself a clean slate. I’ve done a(nother) factory restore on my computer, I’ve got a “To Do” list that I’m working on for self-improvement, and tomorrow’s plans are to do a lot of cleaning and then go for a small “hike” in an area that I used to love as a kid. I promise, I’ll take a picture or three. :)

 

I’m also going to be having work change, as well. After one more “cover” shift on Sunday, I’ll be starting on graveyard shift at work Monday through Thursday – which is as far as I know so far, since my work’s schedules run Friday through Thursday. It should be interesting, being back on a “I’ll rarely see what little sun we get” schedule, having been predominantly on days and such since December or January.

 

In essence, I’m relaunching myself, like DC Comics is doing – I’ll have a video on that topic up, soon – and hopefully, it will lead to an improved, rejuvenated Justin. I’ll keep you updated, and I’m sorry it took me three weeks to blog. :P

 

One thing you can check out (although, for you early birds who happen to be online and see this before I finish it) is my new “101 in 1001” page, linked up at the top. There’s some explanation in there, or will be, when it’s finished. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My blade thirsts for blood!

So, I kind of put my box knife through my thumb at work today. We all carry box knives at 7-11, because we've got a lot of foods that we unbox when they come out of the freezers.

My box knife hasn't been cutting very well lately, until I took it apart and really cleaned the whole thing piece by piece. The last few days since then, it's been cutting though like there's nothing there. And even though I keep my not-holding-a-knife hand well out of the blade's path, apparently that's not enough.

You can check the pic (which will probably be at the bottom - I'm not sure with email-blogging), but it doesn't show very well that it's a little deeper than it looks. The knife curved off the path, sliced up through the lid, and into my thumb. Let me tell you something, in case you've never cut your thumb a little deep: there's an artery there. If you cut your thumb well enough, that little bastard will bleed pretty quickly. I had to change the bandage within two minutes because it had bled through.

The good news? I was almost off work anyway. The better news? It didn't bleed that much longer. Direct pressure and a fairly-tight bandage stopped it up, until I got home to clean it out and take this picture. I also got a few good pics of the area near my house, but I'll wait until I'm actually on a computer to put those up. Same with the pic-spam of my east coast trip, now that I've put some up on Facebook.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fire in downtown Aberdeen

Last night, I tweeted about a fire in Aberdeen when I rode past it, shortly before midnight. I was unsure of the cause at the time, but thanks to an article in The Daily World (the local newspaper), I've not only found out the reason, I've lost some of my hope for the world. Yes, the cause is that stupid.

In what I assume was an effort to save money and circumvent an electricity bill, the woman who lived there was using a gas generator for electricity. As the story went in the paper, she was filling the generator, spilled some gas onto the floor, and USED A LIGHTER to check how bad the gas spill was.

There are not words for how much this level of stupidity irks me. It's reckless, and almost makes you wonder how she was smart enough to make it this far in life. I'm just glad that she only received minor burns, though, and everyone got out mostly safe. Good job on the part of the Aberdeen Fire Department on keeping it from spreading to the houses nearby, especially in an area where the houses aren't that far apart.

Other than that, today was a pretty good day. I have tomorrow off with a lot of things to do, but they're all things that I enjoy doing. And I'll have the house to myself in the evening, so let's see what shenanigans I can get involved with.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blargh!

I mentioned yesterday that I've become a 7-11 wage-slave, and I don't actually mean that negatively, because I like my job. There is one thing I don't like about it, though: it gives me fuck-all for time (and energy) to do a lot of things.

That's the main reason that I'm not blogging as much as before -- when I'm done running around that store for 8-10 hours (and probably a couple miles worth of running around), I have no desire to walk a half-mile to the nearest place I could get online, which is my grandma's. But I don't have much of an excuse, since I have a smartphone and can just email a post (like this one). So I'm going to keep that in mind, and try to be better at that whole "remembering" thing.

Today was pretty uneventful. Pretty much all I did was wake up, get ready for work, take a bus to work, and... you guessed it, I worked. I was still in a pretty good mood from last night's Canucks win, though. And I have Friday off, so I just need to make it through tomorrow (easy enough). Speaking of the Canucks' win, there was a story on the news last night about a group in Seattle that's interested in bringing the NHL to Washington. It's an exciting possibility, but still some time off; to comply with various requirements, they'd probably need a new arena, and I don't see that happening soon.

Alright, there's lots of cops going across the bridge in front of my house, and I'm going to work on my alibi. I mean.........

I'm going to write. That's what I'll do. No need for an alibi beyond that, right? :D
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I have a lame sense of humor, and I love it

As a wage-slave at a local 7-11, there's some fun stuff that happens on my job. Usually it's just a regular making a good joke - and we have a lot of awesome regulars. Today was one of those days where I had a decent one, and it's right in my wheel house: silly, a little lame, and referencing music.

A little background: the EBT (food stamps and/or cash benefits) system uses a separate machine from the register, and isn't always working well at the store I'm normally at. Today, I was at a different store owned by the same guy.

---

Customer: *hands me their EBT card*

Me: *runs it through* Sorry, it's taking a little longer.

Customer: Old machine?

Me: No, I think it's my fault. The one at my usual store does this to me, too.

Customer: *laughs* Are you breaking the machines?

Me: Yes! I'm raging against them!

---

There it is. All that set-up for a silly Rage Against The Machine joke. I hope you enjoyed it. :p
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Monday, May 2, 2011

It's kind of weird to think about how I feel, having been back home from my East Coast Adventures for a few days now. If I had to pick a word, I'd say "rejuvenated" would be a pretty good one.


I don't know how long it'll last, but I feel GOOD. None of the downsides of the Grays Harbor area have managed to get me down for long - the rain, the cold, not even the headache that living with/supporting my mother has sometimes been. My beard is (temporarily) gone, and I've had four days at work since I've been back. I really do feel sort of fortunate to be alive and surrounded by a familiar area, and relaxed from the fun week-and-a-half that I had in New Jersey (and New York, for a day).


Another thing that makes me feel good is that I've sort of "broken through the wall" on writing my comic book pitch. On the flight home, by re-reading (and re-writing) the series breakdown as I'd had it so far - three issues out of seven - I just kept on writing. I've figured out how to get the miniseries to its intended end, and have gotten five of the issues broken down as I need them. As soon as I get the other two finished on the pages, I'll be writing the first issue's script.


On that note, I'm looking for an artist. I've got two friends (one local, one not so much) both interested, but I want to check out any talent pool that I can. If you, or anyone you know, is a talented or semi-talented artist, I'd love to hear from you (or them). Comment, leave me an email, or anything like that. With that said, I'm going to get back to writing now... you know, after Jeopardy is over.
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An open letter to the @VanCanucks

“HOCKEY DO YOU PLAY IT.”
                                   -Wil Wheaton

 

Let me start this off by saying that I love the Vancouver Canucks. They’re the closest that I have to a “local” NHL team – living about a six or seven hour drive from Vancouver (B.C., not Vancouver, Washington) – and they’ve got a great team, and one hell of a season going. Best in franchise history, and I’m happy to call myself a Canucks fan.

 

But WHAT THE HELL was that last game with the Blackhawks? How do you come off of the best season you’ve ever had, spend three games kicking some serious Chicago ass, and then LOSE THAT BADLY? 7-2? Really? To quote @EKankowski, that’s Maple Leafs kind of bad.

 

The above quote was in reference to the Kings’ game against the Sharks, but I feel that the sentiment applies as well. How can you go from playing SO GOOD to playing THAT BAD?

 

I’m really hopeful for a Vancouver-won Stanley Cup this year, so… don’t let me down. Pretty please? :D

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A WILD @NON_SENSEI APPEARS!

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Hey, blogosphere. It’s been a few days since SeaTac and my JOURNEY TO THE EASTERN SKIES. First things first, I don’t care if it saves money, if you are a big and/or tall person like me, I have one piece of travel advice for you:

 

Don’t fly to an airport that fucking nobody has heard of.

 

My final destination (for the flight part of things) was Lehigh Valley International, in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton area of Pennsylvania. The friends of mine from New Jersey that were picking me up there had no idea where it was, which should have been a sign for me. The SeaTac-to-O’Hare part of things? That was nice and easy, and almost comfortable, despite the length of the flight.

 

Then, I had to walk across almost the entirety of O’Hare to get from the United gate that I came in from Seattle on, to the United Express gate that would take me to my final destination. Seriously, it was a 20 minute trek through O’Hare, and they have no smoking area. As in you cannot go outside of the airport to smoke, unless you completely leave the airport premises – in which case, you’re not getting back in time for your flight.

 

The only word that I can describe my flight from O’Hare to Lehigh Valley is this:  puddle-jumper. The plane was so small that I had to duck down at least a couple inches to get into the door, and I had to tilt my head to the side to walk around in the plane, because I couldn’t stand upright. So, for all you big/tall types, spend a few dollars extra on the full flight to New York, or Philly, or hell, even Newark.

 

Other than that, the trip has been good so far. I’ve had a blast hanging out with Matt (@non_sensei), and he’s got a very cool and comfortable apartment. Also, after the concert we went to last night (Lazarus A.D.), we hung out with @wAonLdeIrlCanEd and @sohailali, with conversation topics ranging from Heroes to bestiality.

 

I still have plans to go into New York a few times, and Philly at least once. Matt’s been super-hospitable, and routinely making sure that I’m enjoying myself on this trip. I’m mostly over whatever brief illness I’ve been dealing with (sinus congestion and horrible, awful coughing) since the 12th, which is good. All in all, I’ve had a great time so far, and look forward to having an even better time as the trip goes on.

 

Also, fucking SYMPHONY X ON FRIDAY!

And DOCTOR WHO’s new season on SATURDAY!

FUCK. YES.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where am I now?

SeaTac_wifi

 

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, AKA Sea-Tac!

 

Today is the day that I fly to Lehigh Valley International, to go on my east coast trip! It’s extremely exciting, although I know I’ll be super-tired when I get there around midnight (EST). Sure, that’s only 9pm here, but I had to get up at freaking FOUR A.M. to be ready for the string of buses that got me here.

 

It’s definitely more cost-effective to bus, even if it’s not convenient. From Hoquiam station to Olympia Transit Center (50-60 miles) cost me $3, and from there to SeaTac (another 40-ish miles) cost a total $5.50 between two buses. Unless you’ve got super-generous friends that are willing to cover most of the gas costs – or whose cars get GREAT mileage – then you’re not going to be able to get a ride to SeaTac for that kind of price.

 

There is going to be a lot of awesome on this trip. I’ll be meeting up with two awesome people – @Fizzgig168 and @XTheForce – when I get in to the airport, and crashing with @non_sensei. Concerts and explorations are in the works, and I’m going to touch a dinosaur fossil whether the Museum of Natural History wants me to or not. (I’ve always been a dinosaur enthusiast – see this rant.)

 

Hopefully, I’ll be feeling better and will be able to put up some awesome travel videos. I’ve been kinda sick since the day before yesterday, but I’m getting better quick.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

8 days left!

Only eight more days until I’m on the east coast, hopefully having a damn good time.

 

So, it’s been a little while since I blogged last. I’ve started my job at 7-11, and I’m pretty sure things are over with the Ramada – I just haven’t gotten the official word that they are. I like 7-11 a lot, though, and it’s cool to have a job that I enjoy. I’m more active, I see a lot of customers, and there’s always something to do.

 

Last night was D&D night with S. and a few friends, and as far as I’m concerned, it was a lot of fun. Part of it is that I’m getting out of the house and hanging out with people rather than just my dog, and part of it is that D&D can be pretty fun with the right group.

 

Right now, I’m leeching some wifi at my grandma’s house to blog, and heading home soon to watch the season finale of No Ordinary Family. I’m going to head off, but with my trip starting next week, I hope to blog more. If nothing else, I’ve set up this blog for email posting, so I can post that way.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

OH! I forgot to mention something!

The Canucks won today! Woohoo! (I’ve become a hockey fan, and root for three teams – the Washington (no, not the state) Capitals, the Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks (they’re the closest we have to a local team). Flames got their asses kicked (6-3, Sharks won), though. That hockey talk isn’t what I forgot, though. Or at least not the main thing.

 

The main thing is that today was a great day for me to be a comic fan. New Green Lantern/Green Lantern Corps issues, new (slightly disappointing) Justice League of America, new (fantastic) Justice League: Generation Lost, and the launch of the new FF series (stands for Future Foundation, and it takes the place of Fantastic Four). The issue of FF had a scene with all of the FF building residents – including new teammate Spidey – sitting down to dinner, and an amusing all-encompassing way to say grace.

 

FF_issue_1_page_033

I have so many issues…

So, I sort of went a few days a week without blogging.

I don’t even have the “no internet” excuse this time.

Then again, I have a smartphone, so I don’t really EVER have that excuse now…

 

The main reason is actually the same reason for this title. I have issues. Lots of them. And no, I’m not talking about my (comparatively) small comic book collection. The mental issue that’s kept me from blogging? Not being able to come up with a title. If all else fails, I’ll start looking to my extensive music collection. Lots of good band names, song names, and album names that can be used, right? And lyrics!

 

Anyway, the last few days have been pretty busy. Remember that job interview I had with 7-11? Well, a couple days after that, they called and said they’d gone with someone else. Then, two days ago, they called again and said that someone quit and they had an opening if I wanted it. I hopped on that like a flea to a dog (it’s a weak metaphor, I know. I could do better), and took the drug test and started training yesterday morning.

 

nametag_711

 

They’re accommodating my current job’s work schedule, which means that on the days I work at the hotel, I work at 7-11 that morning, as least this week. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all 19 hour days. Up at 6am – by the way, when did that shit start to exist, and WHY? – and off to south Aberdeen to start work at 8am. Then, off work there around 2pm, and waiting for a bus back to Aberdeen station. THEN, spending almost an hour on the bus heading to Ocean Shores, to work at the hotel until 10pm. Home around 11, winding down and finally asleep around 1am.

 

But you know what? It’s worth it. Every little bit helps, especially with my trip in three weeks, because having fun over there might take a little bit of moneys.

 

I tried to get a little bit of vlogging done on breaks from the computer training, but I won’t be using any of what I got today. Maybe I’ll get something tomorrow! :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

“Everybody’s dead, Dave.”

I had a really long weekend, whether I wanted it or not. Hence the blog-hiatus.

 

Friday night was a good time, hanging out with Kelly, Ralph, and the bunch. Dinner of from-scratch Chinese-influenced food – sweet and sour chicken with pineapples, shredded pork and vegetable fried rice, and an interesting Chinese cabbage dish. I would say it was surprisingly good, but I’m beginning to suspect that Ralph and Kelly are secretly Iron Chef people in disguise (they’re great cooks).

 

Saturday sucked, though. As I posted before, I was pretty excited that I was finally going to see Ockham’s Razor in concert as part of the Great West Coast Craic, after years of not being able to see them due to work. In what I can only assume is a conspiracy against me, I still have not managed to see them. Stuff at home with a former roommate – long story, I didn’t even want him there to begin with – and my mother’s paranoia resulted in me staying home “in case he showed up”. I wasn’t happy, to say the least.

 

The rest of the enforced weekend (aka “I was scheduled off from work”) was pretty uneventful. I did cook some pretty good chicken and made chicken quesadillas for dinner one night, but nothing fun and exciting. I’m thinking that my All Day Spaghetti is going to be necessary soon, and I’ll post pictures and/or video, because my spaghetti is awesome. :)

 

Speaking of videos, I am working on my first video for this blog (and new YouTube channel), and should have that up in a few days. It’ll tie up some loose ends, and we’ll see what else I can shove in there. For now, I’m going to go back to pretending that I’m working, since we’re ridiculously slow tonight at work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

“I’m free! It’s time to conquer EARTH!”

Well, not so much ‘conquer’ earth as ‘decimate any/all life’. But really, it’s pretty close to the same thing.


The last few days, I’ve been killing time at work by playing Pandemic 2, and attempting to replicate my past successes at creating diseases that will DESTROY ALL HUMAN LIFE! Admittedly, I’ve failed in some way every time I’ve played lately, but that’s only a minor setback.

 

On the “not training to become a supervillain” side of things, I’m not too pleased with my work schedule. I have the next six days off, which would be awesome if I didn’t have a trip coming up, and wasn’t trying to save up money (aside from paying rent/bills). The up-side of it is that it gives me the next six days to look for a new job, if the weather permits. A local hotel is (still, according to Worksource’s website) looking for an assistant general manager, so I’m going to try for it!

 

The start of this weekend should be pretty good, if my current plans continue. Food and fun times with some local people, and the Great West Coast Craic on Saturday! I can’t wait, it’ll be my first time seeing Ockham’s Razor live in the three years (ish) that I’ve been listening to them. Wahoo!

I’ve got it!

(This post is actually from yesterday, but I didn’t see that it didn’t finish posting. Enjoy! :))

 

You know what the best feeling ever is, to me?

It’s that feeling when I’m writing, and I’ve got the idea, but the execution of the idea is STUCK. It’s lodged in my brain somewhere, in an area I can’t get to – probably next to the little guy sticking the “out of order” sign in my gray matter.

 

But then it all clears out, and I have an EPIPHANY of how to work through that block.

 

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I’m working on a pitch for a comic book miniseries. A lot of small comic book publishers that I hadn’t heard of two months ago are accepting submissions for projects, and some bigger publishers are, too – namely, Image and Dark Horse. The “Big Two” (Marvel and DC) will only look at you if you’ve been published, but if I can have my own property stay MINE? That’d be fantastic!

 

Today, I finally shook loose the execution for my idea, and am really excited to finish the outline and start writing the script for the first issue of the miniseries. The first three issues are already plotted out – with the details to be added in the second outline phase – with three more left to plot, and a title left to figure out.

 

Now that I’m off work, it’s time to reward myself – by going home for whiskey and more writing! I can’t wait to see if this becomes a reality, and even if it gets rejected by a publisher, I might still self-publish it.

 

Paalam!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Excitement! Food! YouTube! What more could you ask for?

. . .

 

I’ve sort of failed you, by not doing much adventuring over the weekend. The blind-me situation was most of the excitement over the weekend, but I did finish organizing the music in my collection!

 

I also took the time to cook, which I haven’t really done (at all) since moving into this house. Cooking’s always been a favorite hobby of mine, and I used to want to do it for a living, until I decided that was an awful idea. Restaurants can be pretty high-stress environments for the staff, and I didn’t want to risk losing my enjoyment for cooking.

 

On the menu the last couple days? Saturday night was chicken alfredo, which turned out okay, but I’d rather try and come up with my own recipe than use the jar sauce. Maybe next time. Last night was spaghetti, and it was fun to make, but it was quick (read: “only took an hour”) spaghetti instead of my favorite way to cook it, which is an all-day process.

 

Here’s something I’ve wondered for a bit – would any of you watch cooking videos, if I made them? I’m not saying they’d be super-frequent or super-awesome, but I like to cook, and it would give me a reason to do it more often, and have a point to videos besides just rambling on and on.

 

OH! Here’s an update! I have a job interview tomorrow morning, for a job at one of the local 7-11 stores! It’s not the job that I really want (local hotel is hiring for an assistant GM), but it’s local and would be a nice change of pace from what I do now.

 

For now I’m going to go back to watching YouTube videos, and waiting for my relief to come in, and my shift to end. This weekend should be a lot better when it comes around, since I have plans for a homemade Chinese food night with some awesome local people on Friday, and the Great West Coast Craic concert is on Saturday (and I get free tickets since my workplace is the official hotel of the theatre putting it on)! Those will be fun and exciting, and I’ll try to get some good pictures! :D

 

 

 

LOCAL PEOPLE: GREAT WEST COAST CRAIC IS WAS RECENTLY LOOKING FOR SOME VOLUNTEERS TO HELP SET UP FOR THE SHOW AND TO HELP SELL MERCH. ANYONE WHO HELPS OUT GETS FREE TICKETS. I’m not 100% sure if they’re still looking for help, but you can find out on the website.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Don't mind me, I'm just gonna walk into this wall

Have I mentioned before that I wear glasses? And that I'm pretty much blind without them?

Yeah, it was a lot of fun this morning, when I went to put my glasses on, and a lens popped out. I thought "No big, lenses pop out sometimes, I'll just pop it back in...", until I realized that the frame had broken. So I had to spend $10 that I don't really have to spare, to get the Wal-Mart optometrist's assistant to put my lenses in an identical frame. They said I'm lucky; they only had the one duplicate of my frame available still.

So that was my morning crisis, and even a short time unable to see makes me appreciate my glasses again. I kind of want contacts again, but I don't have $60 to spare at my normal optometrist, and it's more spendy at Wal-Mart's optometrist.

Now, it's almost Jeopardy time, which will be followed by Smallville time and Supernatural time. Figured I'd blog it up now, so that I don't forget. I'm using commercial breaks to organize my music. Didn't think I was serious yesterday, when I said I could go on and on about my Zune and music collection? I could, and it'd be easy.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try for a job that I probably won't get, and hopefully hang out with some local friends for their daughter's birthday party. Fun!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In fearful day, in raging night…

I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that today’s probably going to be a little bit boring to read, because I’ve spent most of my waking hours at (or on the way to) work. Which is good, because I’m making money – even if its not really enough to pay bills, or any of that.

 

That’s kind of why I decided to go with the Blue Lantern Corps oath, as inspiration for this post’s title. For non-geeks, it’s a DC Comics thing tying into the Green Lantern comics, and Blue Lanterns are symbols of hope, which is something I could use lately. A ‘trademark phrase’ for them would be “All will be well”, something that I need to keep reminding myself of – despite money being tighter and tighter right now, all will be well in time.

 

I mentioned good news too, right? Can’t just be depressing and shit, right? The good news is that today is the end of my work week, which means the next three days off to find… something! Something to do, something to blog about doing. I’ve got some things I need to do (like job searching), and some stuff that I want to do (like get some exercise, and hook up my SNES).

 

There was one good part about today – I made a new YouTube platoonofpowersquadronaccount that I plan on getting some video up on to, and when I was subscribing to people, I found a new show to love: Platoon of Power Squadron. It’s about a group of twenty-somethings with superpowers (electric manipulation, time control, telepathy/telekinesis, and self-cloning), and it’s really funny. I found it when I went to subscribe to Wheezy Waiter (AKA Craig Benzine), who is one of the actors in it. I recommend checking it out at http://www.youtube.com/pineappleboyfilms

 

All in all, today was nothing special, though. Tomorrow, I’m going to try for some adventures, and hopefully be putting something fun and exciting up here. Unless you guys want me to talk about my Zune library, which I could do for ages. :D

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Un-blogging: Relearning how to just be me

It’s been a long time that I’ve been blogging over at Random Ramblings. I started it in early 2009, but it didn’t see regular use until May of that year, when I successfully blogged an entire month, for National Blog Posting Month. It was a lot of fun, and really sparked a love of, respect for, and desire to BLOG – and to blog regularly.

 

So, I did. I made the decision to blog every day, which de-evolved into six days a week, then to “this day = this topic”, which eventually became what it was most recently: as many posts as possible across wide and varied topics every day. I never really felt like I found my voice as a blogger, though, like I was putting the words up there and making an effort, but never really managed to.

 

Now I’m going to go back to blogging on here, which I know I’ve said before, but this time… I really will. :)

 

I want to start by writing like I’m not supposed to, to unlearn my Random Ramblings bloggery ways, so help me out; how should I go about it? Bad spelling and grammar for a post? Something else similarly awful? Help me unlearn that by suggesting ways that I can “blog badly”! :D

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The one where I’m Super Excited!

YES! It’s true! Despite the various woes of life and the dreariness of job-searching in this little town, I really am Super Excited!

 

What’s got me in such a great mood, you may ask. Is it the fact that I’ve got Random Ramblings back to regular updates after some serious slacking off from mid-December until yesterday? Maaaaybe. Is it because I have my payday this Friday and get my income tax the following week, which means I’ll be able to buy the plane ticket for my trip? Maaaaybe.

 

But what is REALLY causing my Good Mood and general Super Excited-ness is… WRITING! I’ve been looking at submissions guidelines for comic book companies, and came away from it surprisingly hopeful! This got me brainstorming ideas, and I’m happy to say that I’ve started outlining one of them.

 

As per most of the companies’ submissions guidelines, I’ll be outlining the entirety of the story, which will probably mean going with a miniseries instead of an ongoing. Completely cool with me, since limited series have a much higher chance of a company risking money that they would waste if they had to cancel an ongoing due to shitty sales.

 

I’ve also got a semi-local friend who might be doing the art for my project, provided she’s interested in what I come up with! If everything goes according to my very loose time-table, I should have a submission ready to be sent off by summer – late summer, if things deviate from the plan.

 

Hope you will keep following along! If everything works out, I’ll spoil little bits here, like whatever the final title ends up being and such. Maybe even some art here and there! Wouldn’t that be cool?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

GAAAAH!

Ever been in a situation where money is a liiiittle tighter than you’d like?

 

. . .

 

Fuck, who am I kidding? The state that this country is in, the majority of us are struggling to pay bills. For me though, the struggle just got a wee bit harder. As in going from “paying bills and almost able to start saving again” to “FUCK! My boss cut me down to 12 hours this week!”.

 

Yeah, that’s my oh-so-wonderful work schedule for this week – two days, from 4pm to 10pm. What’s really sad about it is that I’m hoping it’s that high next week, and that my boss doesn’t decide to schedule me for only one day, or no days at all.

 

So I’m in the process of trying to find a new job. I’m hopeful about the application I put in with the bank I go through, and they seemed surprised that I called the day after applying. I’m hoping that’s a good thing, as I plan on calling every other day until I get an answer, one way or the other. I’m also going to file for unemployment, as they’ll (hopefully) help cover what I’m not getting, hours-wise. And my next day off (Thursday) will see me stopping by both of the employment offices in the area, to try my damnedest to get a different job.

 

. . .

 

I’m trying to be hopeful, though. Everything will work itself out in the end, which I’m reminding myself of whenever I start to stress out about money. Best case scenario, I get a new job that pays similarly to my current job, and don’t have to cancel my trip this April. Worst case scenario, I become homeless. In the event of that happening, I’ll have to work on a skill, like that “golden-voiced homeless guy” that’s been in the news.

 

OH YEAH! I’m also working on a novel. Or starting to. I’m in the “idea” phase, and intend to start outlining by the end of the first week of February. As the plan stands, the first few chapters should be finished by the end of February at the latest. I would try and work faster, but I’m also attempting to work out ideas for pitches to comic book publishers, and find work In Real Life until that works itself out. So, there’s that.

 

I’ll try and post more!