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. :)


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. :)