knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Perhaps in accordance with the laws of Yeah-Saw-that-Coming, I have started live streaming on twitch. If nothing else, it's something to do while I practice SotC, which I am still in the process of learning as a speed run. For the moment, streaming seems to entail a lot of me talking to myself. To be expected when the content on your channel mostly consists of doing time attacks on various bosses over and over and over.

And over and over and over and over. Turns out, it's actually more fun than I thought it would be. Practicing on time attack affords me the immediate goal of trying to beat my own time while I'm learning the various strats that go into the speed run. So yay. As twere.

In other news, school has started. Two weeks in actually. For most of that time I've been battling whatever winter sickness hit me during the first week. On Friday, I actually woke up with one of the muscles that was pulled as a result of all the coughing screaming in pain (metaphorically speaking. if my muscle had literally been screaming, this would be a very different sort of entry). The scary thing was that it's a muscle directly below my heart. Basically at the bottom of my left boob/pectoral whatever you wanna call it. I also had pain in my left elbow. So it was doctor time baby! I went ahead and had them do an ekg just to be sure and everything's fine. So I've been chugging ibuprofen and that seems to have alleviated the problem.

These modern medicine thangs is turnin' out to be right muracles. Boy howdy.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Throughout my long history with DART, I have, of course, always hated how slow traveling across the system is. But BUT it is ALMOST as annoying that their motherfucking phone system DEFAULTS to using voice recognition. Like ninety-percent* of your freaking customers are standing about five feet from fucking TRAFFIC. I like having the option. I CAN ALMOST NEVER USE IT WITHOUT IT FRAKKING THINGS UP BECAUSE IT THINKS THE CARS ARE TALKING TO IT.

huff huff

I spent most of today coding a program for my computer science class. The assignment was to implement a program that plays Conway's Game of Life. Took all day because I apparently don't understand if statements yet. Got it working though. Then after I'd emailed it to my professor, I tinkered with it some more.

See, at first I had several versions of the code that sort of looked like they were working except that they were actually killing living cells that had two living neighbors. I finally ended up with a program that had all sorts of nested if else statements. Ugly as hell. Went back in and paired it down and FINALLY figured out a way to get it to work with code resembling my original "vision". Is vision the right word? Whatever.

Works baby. And no if elses. Take THAT.

Quote of the Day:
"i'm sorry
i could not understand you"
-The DART phone system


*all statistics based exclusively on fury and are not meant to represent real world numbers
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
The Massachusetts born saga of my battle with the Devil's Breath (also known as the air and all the itty-bitties in it) has gleefully extended its run back into Texas. Texas, for its part, has added such symptoms as stopped-up ears with sore ear canals and (my latest favorite) runny yellow goop coming out of my eyes. I have now been on Loratadine (Claritin) for just over four hours.

From what I can tell by contextualizing info from weather dot com with anecdotal evidence (can that even be called "data"?), my allergies seem to be related to both tree (MA) and grass (TX) pollens. Clears that up.

Annoying thing is, I could deal with this crap easily if not for the sore throat. Fucking sore throats, man! Every time I swallow or my throat convulses or whatever, it feels like my left tonsil is trying to escape the sporadic* hell it occupies.

So here we are. Bottle of Orange Juice on my desk. Bottle of snot right behind it. You know you're in a bad way when you can't honestly decide which orifice your more comfortable breathing through and it doesn't weird you out that you're debasing the holes in your head.

See? Did it again.

* hahaha
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Days are a wheel these days, and its rims are only mildly bitchin'.

Got an 86 on my first algebra exam this morning, which is all kinds of awesome. It's like, give me f(x) and g(x) and I will totally tell you what (f o g)(x) is. I know right? Wanna know what f-1(x) is? I'm your man. Don't ask me to do transformations though, please. I am relatively certain that
f(x) = 2(2x-3)2-2 is a vertical stretch, horizontal shrink, shift down two points, and shift right three from f(x) = x2, but I just made that equation up on the fly and have no confidence in my answer or even whether I'm notating it correctly.

Aced my first government paper.

Went to see Pacific Rim with Bork because he suggested it, and I was like, "Yes I will go see a movie with you." Then, I googled it, and I was like, "Big, giant robots directed by Guillermo del Soldo!" I was actually surprised by how much I didn't hate it. It's hard to circumvent expectations when you basically have none, I suppose. It did prompt the usual effusion of thoughts on genre elements though, which I think is something I do more enthusiastically when I know my interlocutor (new buzzword of the quarter, thanks philosophy professor) will listen. I have almost an entire friend circle, including my nuclear family, who will brush me off when I want to talk about a film and try to make me feel self-conscious and apologetic when I do so. I'm not sorry for asking you to think. I am sorry you find the idea repugnant.

So giant robot sci-fi? All kinds of awesome, and I will pretty much love it unconditionally if (you/I) let me. You used a cargo freighter as a sword/baseball bat. That was fourteen different kinds of awesome, none of them involving a realization that the boat would've broken in half when you tried to pick it up. The thing that always creeps up past my suspension of disbelief though is the inescapable fact that giant robots are not a solution for anything. Seriously, there is no problem, no conundrum, no riddle, no crisis, global or otherwise, that is solved, alleivated, ameliorated or any of the other -ateds by giant robots.

This led to a point in the conversation where I expressed my interest in a prospective narrative in which someone builds a giant robot ... ... for it's own sake. It's like:

Builders: Yo, we built a big, giant robot!
Everybody else: Huh. What's it for?
Builders: ... ...
Everybody else: We mean: What are it's applicatio-
Builders: You get that it's a giant robot right?


I have managed to aggravate my right knee in some way. Going up and down stairs, I look like an old, old man. Bork has been pressuring me to see a doctor about it, which is a painful conversation for me because he's right while I'm poor.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
So ...

...

I made your brain quote Julie Andrews. Ha.

So:

I took the ACT last Saturday. Did more or less as I expected, kicked the teeth in on the English/Reading stuff and did as best I could with the math/science. It's kind of messed up that the science is basically just another math section establishing whether you know how to read tables and graphs. Or maybe it isn't, I dunno.

The one big surprise was that I tanked the writing, but I wasn't taking it very seriously and got mad at my prompt anyway. Hopefully, I'll float a halfway decent score on sheer force of personality, but it's not a huge factor in the score that gets considered by the relevant admissions department anyway.

The one big eye-roller was when one of the chaperons? administrators? whatever, stopped me as I was walking to my classroom to inform me that parents weren't allowed back there.

Now it's a five to eight week wait for my score and finding out whether or not I'm in the college I'm applying to. It's like waiting for the inevitable rejection letter from a fiction market except that the possibility of an acceptance is significantly more real.

Blah.

I am so tired, and I just want this failed chapter of my life to be over. Though I have to remind myself that "failed" is unfair. I formed connections and had experiences during the last decade that are formative and have lasting impact. They would, at the very least, have been different connections and experiences if I hadn't dropped out and come back to Dallas.

But, I'm done. I've gotten what I needed out of the Bohemian experiment that was my twenties, but the universe won't LET me be done. I have to walk all the way through Purgatorio before I get to leave it. No shortcuts. Sorry.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
I'm in this state of quasi-arrested development these days. I made the decision to make a change. I stoned my stupid pride and committed to the idea of going back to school, but now I have to wait through seven months of unproductive crap before I can actually DO it. I guess I could be productive in those seven months (although two of them are gone now and I got jack shit done). I guess I could do a lot of things. I'm fairly intelligent, and if I'd ever stop being fat, I'd actually be pretty fucking hot. The ol' one-two and all that jazz.

Things have gone through a bit of a mixer in the past couple of weeks though. Back on the sixteenth? maybe? my manager told me the transfer I'd requested in like early June or whatever was finally going through and I'd be at a new store more convenient to the area I wanted to move to as of the twenty-third. That spawned an outright flurry of planning and moving and general clusterfuckery that has culminated (as of Tuesday) in me trading the cockroach infested apartment with the rent I couldn't really afford anymore and the job I hated because of the location for the second floor of the house occupied by my de facto second parents, who helped raise me when I was little, and my mom was still working, and a job I'm only indifferent to.

It's all very, "Heh! So THAT happened!"

The return to the suburb of my youth has so far been largely uneventful, but I've only been here, like, a week I think. That sounds about right. A lot of that time went by in a blur while I dedicated my days off to moving out of the old apartment in a somewhat piecemeal fashion.

So now it's back to money woes for awhile, and then I guess it's smooth sailing into three years of schoolin' or whatever. I had to pay a reletting fee as I broke my lease, but it was less than one month's rent so all that really means is I'm broke for three fifths of August while my paychecks catch up to my expenses. The problem there is that my new store is slower and has more people so I only work like twenty-nine hours a week, apparently. That's alright, my rent got cut better than in half and I get three days off.

I've actually taken on a side project exploring the possibility of becoming a gold farmer as a means of generating income while I'm at school. Funny the little twists life takes when you're in the process of earning the right to have standards.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Did about six hundred words of "The Time Traveler's Life", which is the working title of the piece I posted that snippet of the other night. It's very safe, emotionally, for me to work on right now because it's going to end up being short as all get out (especially compared to the novella), and it's back story is entirely cribbed from my personal experience, making the first draft easy to write.

I have very little energy right now, so it's extra special nice that I'm writing anything at all. Work is just sapping the hell out of me with the store short handed and me working six days a week. I could possibly console myself if I was getting overtime, but I'm not really. Mostly short shifts. So I get just the one day off and have nothing to show for it.

My mother and I continue to plan my return to school, which I'm more or less looking forward to. If nothing else, the last ten years is my "something silly" and school's a knight brandishing a raw chicken.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
The barely tolerable has become crazy intolerable. Let's face it. My job sucks, which is more or less par for my self-hating bullshit course. Now, it's begun to suck at a level I can't put up with. One of my coworkers (of which there are three, not including my manager) quit without notice two days before a managerial change between stores that corporate initiated on what appears to be a whim.

So now the fucking store's short-handed on a team that essentially only has me so the others can get days off. Couple that with the stresses the new manager has to deal with in making the transition and I actually had to issue a pair of ultimatums just to ensure I'd get the days off for the two trips I've been planning for the last two months. Those post-its requesting the days off have been on the back wall that long, and I've had the plane tickets for Boston since a few days before I put them up. It's like, "Yes, I know you just showed up, and I know we're short. No, I am not not going on these trips. You can try to schedule me on those days all you like, I will NOT be here."

Also, my apartment's crawling with bugs and my landlord's been telling me they're going to get an exterminator in in a couple of days for weeks. Also, the a/cs for this complex are wall units and the one for the apartment above me is directly above mine and leaks condensation when it's on, which in a Texas summer is constantly. Now said a/c has begun leaking into my apartment through the window, and I had to reorient my coffee table so the drip wouldn't splatter my books.

Everyone I know that remains in Dallas is far away from me and I have no car. At certain hours of the day, you can't walk fifty feet in my neighborhood without someone hitting you up for money, and today I had to get into an argument at work with a hustler (who I happen to know is also at least a part-time pimp because he offered me some girls he came in with one time) over the store's no solicitation policy. That argument ended when I picked up the phone to call the police because it was apparently the only way that he was gonna holster the attitude and piss well and FUCKING OFF.

And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the people around here believing that my de facto status as a captive audience while I'm at work gives them the right to involve me in whatever impoverished, bleeding heart, alcoholic, be-cool-bullshit pyschodramas they tool around in.

I DON'T CARE. I DON'T CARE about your crap! Don't ask me for free things. Don't act put upon when I won't let you have something seven cents cheaper because all you have is a dollar. Don't act like I've committed some unforgivable social breach by asking you for i.d. for cigarettes, and especially don't do it for beer. Don't construe me as a lying villain when I tell you I can't break a hundred for a ten dollar transaction. Don't come up to me with your patter that you think is cute and try to convince me that you're charming and lovable.

You are an abstract to me unless you make yourself a problem while I'm on the clock. I am so good at doing register work automatically that I sometimes don't need to make eye contact in order to complete a sale, and I can uphold the image of good customer service based solely on tone of voice. I don't want to be part of whatever epic you think you're singing. It's not you and me against the corporate overlords I slave for. You don't have a part in that fight at ALL unless you choose to make me come down on you to keep up appearances. No you cannot put gas in an empty vodka bottle. Go AWAY.

So anyway: I'm going to have to break my lease and move back to the place of my youth, though not the house. My old secondary parents are going to help me get my life back in line by giving me a place to stay for a little while. I'm probably stuck in my current hellhole for another month and a half, then it's job hunting and trying to stay on top of the writing and reading. I have some fledgling job prospects already, or at least the whisperings of possibilites of such. I'm not really worried there. It's just that when you're working at a place where some of the things you think about on the clock are which knee to take while you hit the panic button as someone on the other side of the glass pulls a gun and which objects inside the booth would be effective as weapons, it's time to make a change.

The horrible Tokyo-gnawing monster of my life right now rears its head at this time. Those of my loved ones who are not artists and do not have artistic leanings view my lack of progress as a writer as an indication of failure. They don't realize that not trying isn't exactly the same as failing. Stupid third decade of my life. I never got the hang of you.

*To the tune of "I palindrome I"
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
I have had an uncharacteristically productive day today, which is nice, considering my most recent regression into my old bad habits of malaise and procrastination. Mostly, I walked around doing some errands and getting generally about as much exercise as I get in several days' time. One of the errands was purchasing a new printer, which I'm very excited about because it's another step on the road to becoming an active aspiring writer.

Used the printer to make myself a hard copy of "The Effluvian Heresy", which I've just finished reading from start to finish. I'm a slow reader, and the process apparently takes about three hours considering the story's length, though part of that was me jotting notes down on the pages in red pen as I went along (great fun). The read-through was very productive though, so I can be satisfied it was three hours well spent.

Mostly, I identified the areas that are going to need a lot of work and caught some of the word usage problems that arise from the premise. I also noticed several pacing problems I'll need to fix in transitional scenes where characters are making landmark decisions. Apparently, I'm not very good at writing those sorts of decisions yet, most likely because I suck at making them. Transitional scenes in general are hard for me to write because they bore me, but they're very necessary in this project because I need to limit paragraph breaks, which I'm essentially using as chapter breaks. That's another thing, actually. I may need to just go ahead and add chapter numbers, because the distinct sections are definitely chapters. Something to think on.

On the whole, I'm happy with where the draft is at at this point in its development. I feel like the first attempt was fairly strong. As many of the high events already work fine as don't, and the diction problems are easy fixes. Some of the dialogue, especially late in the piece when I was rushing to finish the draft, needs a lot of reworking though, and at least two of the description-driven (as opposed to dialogue driven? what?) high events need almost total overhauls. There's also the word count problem. The current draft is a little over 26,000 words, so I'll need to cut about fifteen hundred or so to get it within acceptable limits. I did pick out one motif that could be cut from the work without hurting it, so I may be able to get most of the word count problem fixed with that if I need to. There's much work to be done, and I'm feeling a lot of pressure and excitement to get to it.

I've set as my goal the end of march to mail the story out on its first submission. A week may not be enough to get it to be what I want it to be, and if it isn't, that'll be fine. I'm still chomping at the bit to see if I can do it.

'bout now though, I need to wind down and then do that whole "sleep" thing someone, somewhere thought would be a good addition to this whole "being" business.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Draft One of "The Effluvian Heresy" is done.

Go tell that shit on the mountain!

DRAFT ONE OF "THE EFFLUVIAN HERESY" IS DOOOOOOOOONE!

I'm now some intense revisions away from never having to see that squiggly red line under "effluvian" again. I KNOW it's not a word you stupid word processor! I don't add it to the dictionary because I don't want you to recognize it in case I one day misspell "effluvium" while typing! Sheesh!

I really should turn those lines off. They only help me a little bit and annoy me a lot.

Boy howdy did finishing it ever turn out to be a literary bum rush. The "progressus interruptus" if you will (I can't blame you if you won't), or possibly the kowtowing to old habits if you want to get really technical, that hit last week with the holidays and the getting sick and the beginning the process of getting over being sick led to a marked decline in production for that week, and I finally got sick of it. Decided to finish the whole thing in one last charge of defiance at the old emotional regime. I was going to do it last night, but work got in the way. So today I wrote just under five thousand words. In the last few hours or so I was typing almost as fast as I could think. It was awesome.

I had my whole celebration planned out in advance: order bad Chinese food, get some beer (*sip sip*) stream Hanna from Blockbuster on demand. I actually had to order the Chinese food then finish the draft while I waited for it because the place closes at ten, and I was down to the wire. Has been very good night so far.

On the whole, I'd say I enjoyed Hanna. It suffers a bit from being a super-soldier story, which have become way too cliched for my taste. As a new take on an old theme, it worked. Then again, other than the super-soldier thing, this is the sort of story I'll whore my inner fanboy out to any day of the week. Also, like everybody was in it. Like everybody.

Work is proving to be exactly what I was looking for when I took the job. It's easy as hell, close by, and completely incapable of engaging the parts of my emotional landscape that occasional rouse themselves enough to ... care. There's some stress related stuff stemming from the fact that I sell tobacco and alcohol and am now apparently old and "wise" enough to be spooked by the classes they make you take so you know exactly what's going to happen if you sell to someone underage. I wasn't spooked the first time around, but I was also much younger and slightly stupider. Those stresses are fading a bit with the advent of routine, so things are going as well as I'd hoped they would. Last night, my brain was sufficiently not stimulated that I started struggling with the math involved in calculating the number of outcomes in the Pick 3 since we have a lot of people come in and play it. Math ain't my strong suit, yo, but I can reverse engineer it given enough time and stubborn determination. Well, I suppose that's not reverse engineering so much as forward engineering. Who cares if somebody else figured it out first? I submit to you that if someone were to, without prior knowledge of the formula's discovery or even its existence, derive the Pythagorean Theorem, that would be just as significant a discovery as Pythagoras' himself. I mean, it wouldn't be as historically significant, but "pish posh" I say. Pish Posh. Them Pick 3 numbers got real stuck in mah brain cuz I don' know much about those innergals. Is it integrals? It's not. I just looked it up. Whatever it is, I'm not very good at it, so I was doodling on a strip of receipt paper for like thirty minutes trying to remember if order mattering meant multiplying the number of possibilities by itself number-of-choices times or whatever. I figured some of it out and then managed to get bored enough with the problem to drop it. Good way to pass half an hour though. Pretty soon, I might start bringing a book to the overnight shifts. I have that much down time, and it would be nice to get some more reading time in.

Fantasy football's over, and I won my league's championship. The phrase you're looking for is "cha-CHING!" Take that, rent check! I actually had one of my few lifetime sports moments the Monday after Christmas because my opponent in the 'ship had four people playing in that game including Drew Brees. I had a Saints running back by the name of Sproles in that one as well, and he'd been good for me all season. He actually managed to hold the other four off (the rest of my team had started on previous days so the game was like watching my opponent's team trying to catch up to my points total) until the last bit of the game when Brees was trying to complete one touchdown pass to break the Marino record. As the score sat at that point, if the pass was to anyone but Sproles, I would have lost the game. So of course the announcer I'm listening to on internet radio is drawing it out, "And he's done it! Drew Brees has surpassed the Dan Marino single season passing yardage record with a touchdown pass to ... ... ...

...

...

Darren Sproles!" I was up out of my chair, yelling in triumph. It was pretty cool. Would have been cooler if it wasn't, y'know, football but whatever. The money sure helps.

Kid brother finally decided to come out to me, finally. Mostly, he did this by wearing a Queers & Allies t-shirt, which cheesed me off enough to reopen the discussion, albeit obliquely. The conversation went like this:

Me: So are you an ally or ...
Him: No. I'm a queer.
Me: THANK you!


Apparently he's been out for two years. Is in fact, out to our mother, who is significantly less awesome than me *glower*. He says he thought it was funny how I had to consciously use gender neutral terminology when asking him about his social life vis a vis dating and wanted to see how long I'd keep doing it.

Fucker.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Have had a bit of a hiccup in productivity for the past several days. Mostly, this is because I've been busy juggling family time with work time over the course of the holiday. Had to work overnight both Christmas Eve and Christmas. Hooray for holiday hours. I kept telling myself that I'd at least have time to write this evening before I head back to work tomorrow, but I decided to get sick yesterday and have been feeling sorry for myself and playing KOTOR for most of today.

This particular kind of sick, a sort of viscous chest cold with allergies, tends to be an annual occurrence, so it's not a huge surprise. Kind of feels like I have a guerrilla war going on behind my sternum. I have my jug of comfort OJ with me. Gonna be fine, but it still sounds like reveille in Valhalla every time I cough.

Christmas went well. I think I'm probably pretty easy to shop for because I pretty much view a gift card from a bookstore as being about as awesome as anything. I love other presents too, but if you can't think of anything, just give me money I have to spend on books. Bam. Done.

Now I just need to finish "The Effluvian Heresy" and all will be well with the world for the immediate present. It's actually almost finished, and I'm very excited about starting revisions. I get off work tomorrow evening before nine so I will have plenty of time to write then. I might just consider tonight's wayward plan of finishing the first draft in one big blaze of glory postponed until then. Of course, I don't really need to go to sleep for another hour and a half, so maybe I could just do a thousand tonight.

We'll see.

What we won't do is fall into the old patterns. It's pretty cool how sure of that I suddenly am. I always wondered what that particular brand of confidence felt like.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
So.

I've started a new day job as 'twere, working at a gas station not far from my house. The convenience of living a five minute walk from where I work has got me just all kinds of excited. If my commute were less of an issue, I'd be working from home.

Which was my first choice, but that job fell through so I'll let sleeping bygones lie on that one.

I've just written another thousand words of "The Effluvian Heresy", a veritable breath of fresh air after my most recent relapse of malaise and other assorted character flaws. Tomorrow I write another thousand in what I intend to be the latest experiment in my long running quest for productivity.

Whatever's wrong with my work ethic clearly isn't environmental as I did basically nothing with my time off. It actually feels kind of good to eliminate that excuse from my vast repertoire. At some point, if I can get down to the bare bones of the ugliness I perpetuate against myself, I might actually be able to accomplish something. Though, I actually feel it would be healthier to just find a shortcut through the morass of my own bullshit and make the frakking attempt already.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Things have been screwy lately. They're calming down now. The dust is settling, sort of.

On the seventeenth of last month, I was placed on final warning at work by a second write-up for performance when I didn't ensure that a six hundred piece truck was completely finished at the end of my shift. I left the totes, which are where the warehouse puts all the protein bars and random stuff that doesn't come in its own box. I imagine it's my boss' way of apologizing for covering my regular teammate's vacation by bringing in a person from another store who doesn't regularly work grocery.

So now, I'm one misstep from automatic termination until July of 2012. As I said, the dust has somewhat settled on that. I've gone back and forth on the paranoid suspicion that team leadership is looking for a reason to fire me, and ultimately, I've landed in the "probably not" camp. Firing me would be a mistake on their part, and I imagine they realize that. Simply put, there are very few people who are going to even want to do my job, much less be able to.

The biggest downside is that I'm going to be more or less completely exhausted for the next year as I now have to ensure that eight hundred piece trucks get finished on nights when I'm teamed up with the back-up guy who can't throw seventy-five pieces an hour to save his life. I'm honestly not hella worried that I'll get fired (assuming that I'm right about the not-actively-trying-to-fire-me thing) because I can just suck up to team leadership and make it clear that I am Willing To Stay Late to finish trucks and suchlike. If the truck gets finished, there isn't a lot they can do about it.

Tonight (paynight) marks the beginning of the Get The Hell Out Of Dallas Fund, which will also be doubling as the Cover My Ass If I Get Fired Fund. I've done a bunch of math in my head and suchlike and am going to be saving more than I originally intended per paycheck, so that's exciting I suppose. As long as I don't get fired before the second paycheck in November, I'll be fine come hell or high water. No disposable income for the foreseeable future though. Ah well, I'd only spend it on staying fat anyway.

I have been going through a bit of a depressive phase for the last month or so (go figure). Messed up my sleep pattern while I played through Might and Magic VI and burned my way through the entire Questionable Content archive. I haven't been writing lately, which isn't as big a worry as its been in the past since I'm now in a place where not writing for two weeks is something I actually get upset about rather than finding excuses to ignore. Largely, I just don't feel creative.

Pretty much I just feel tired.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
Your first mistake was coming in at all. I don't necessarily think of this as my sanctum, but it sure as hell isn't yours.

Your second mistake was climbing up on my desk. My desk holds my computer, and I spend a lot of time at both. You probably could have gotten away with my kitchen counter or stove. I might not even have noticed. I don't know that I would have freaked out too badly about the trashcan or my coffee table or whatever, but you do not get up on my desk.

Your third mistake was an extreme lapse of strategy. What you don't seem to understand is that this is Texas (one of those "whatever doesn't kill you" sorts of places). 'Round here, if you aren't a quarter-inch long and bright red, you aren't anything. There may be like a thousand of you, but I'm bigger by quite a lot of orders of magnitude. You simply aren't poisonous enough to do any lasting damage. You simply aren't smart enough to pick your battles.

And so I looked down at your little caravan of busy workers. And I thought of Romie.

And I started killing.

So stroll through the boneyard, little ones. Gambol through the wreckage, the broken, your old comrades, twisted and dead. I leave them there, for now. My gift. A lesson.

Learn it.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
House/dogsitting for my mother this week while she and my brothers are in Connecticut visiting family. Next week I leave on a jet plane. I love plane rides. Always have. It's possible this is because I never get to ride on planes, but I do get to sit in one place with a killer view for a few hours while I read and people bring me Dr. Pepper. Neato stat: Apparently, for the probability that you will be in a plane crash to rise above fifty percent, you would have to ride a plane a day for 18,000 years. That's twice as long as we've had agriculture. o_0

Which segues into:

I am now reading The Canon, and it's making my whole being resonate on harmonics audible only to reeeeeaaaalllly happy dogs. The section on quantitative reasoning/probabilities has only confirmed it though: Math is out to get us. Did you know that if you take a random sampling of 65 people, there's a less than 1% chance that no two of them share a birthday? I ran it over in my head both logically and intuitively (read: stupidly) and it makes sense and doesn't and does and doesn't and does, and why, why, why does no one take me seriously here? Math? Out to get us. There's gonna be a reckoning. It might actually come after the extinction of human civilization (four or five billion billion years from now if the optimist in me has his say), but it's a'comin'.

Which does not segue into:

A month? or so ago I was talking to Tom, and I mentioned how much I miss the Dallas Chess Club. Prolly this conversation took place a little after I blogged that rant at myself to stop playing online blitz chess. Anyway, he asked me why exactly I stopped going, and I hemmed and hawed a bit at the question. Later on, I pointed out to myself that my answers there where a bit vague, so I'm planning on going back soon. I confirmed that I can get home from weeknight tournaments by bus, and it occurred to me that being on the bus means reading. Taken in that light, staying home on my night off that I'm not hanging out with Tom is kinda dumb. Especially since I tend to sleep too late on those nights.

Which segues into:

My sleep pattern is so messed up right now that I effectively don't even have one. I had jury duty on the second and that involved abandoning all sense of a standardized bed time, a leap into extended involuntary self-flagellation for which I received basically nothing. I dunno, do they pay me the whole five bucks if I didn't get selected? Mwa. Who cares, I haven't gotten a good night sleep in weeks. My rhythms were already messed up a bit, but still ...

Which segues into:

'Bout a month ago, I experienced a brief revival of my interest in Eve. Played it for maybe two weeks before I concluded that, no, I'm really not interested in playing it. It's not so much a question of balancing my time between the game and other things (like READING dammit), as one of personal interest. After enough time playing, I've concluded that I just don't think I'm an MMO guy. The game itself is startlingly complex and interesting as hell as long as you don't get too bogged down in the grindy bits, but for me it's always, always, always ruined by those other people running around cluttering up my damn sky, adamantly refusing to behave like proper npc's. Perhaps I am a bit more antisocial than is generally good for me.

Which does not segue into:

I may be having something of a crisis of faithlessness. yuk. yuk. yuk. I'm not getting religion or anything *shudder*, but the other night at work I started poking at my deist beliefs during a, not uncommon, interval where I wasn't actively listening to my music. I often go back to a moment in MoR when Harry is commenting (to himself or someone else, I don't remember) on the importance of continuing to ask yourself why you believe what you believe. Essentially, I am a deist rather than an agnostic because I don't find myself able to dismiss as mass insanity the personal relationship many people have with God (a term I will use here because its brevity is convenient and I don't wanna end up writing an entry within an entry on one frakkin' definition). That is a bit hypocritical when I tend to dismiss those relationships as mass arrogance. I'm a lapsed methodist, so that definitely might be exerting an influence on my reluctance to reject the notion of God entirely. Another part of it is that I tend to view atheism as just as dumb as fundamentalism. That's why agnosticism is the only other avenue open to me, ideologically, and may be where I'm headed at the moment. I dunno. Perhaps I'll blog more extensively on the God question later, though I have done that in a previous blog so perhaps I won't. Another part of the problem lately is that the idea-go-round in my craw has as a passenger (and has for weeks) the frustrating idea that the afterlife hypothesis is easily and demonstrably testable, but performing such a test is cracked as all hell because there's no known way to publish your fucking. Results.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
It's amazing the depths complacency and laziness can sink you to if you give them half a chance. I might make progress in some areas. They might even be the important ones, but in other areas, stagnation is the order of the day. Discouraging, when your goal is to remake yourself in your own image, or whatever poetic bullshit I'm spouting this sentence. In the midst of an identity crisis I'm not even sure merits the name, I find myself at times stymied by the multitude of possibilities re: self improvement.

Maybe that's a good thing. With a billion, billion mes fluttering about trying to manifest themselves, the difference between the I that he is and that I that he could/should/would be is blah blah blah fucking BLAH.

I threw away some cutlery today because a year ago I decided, perhaps subconsciously, that I'm a ridiculously stupid person and proceeded not to wash them ever. Then, at some point, I decided that I was instead productive, at least for the five minutes it took to fill a pot with water "so they [could] soak". Then the lazy reared up and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and shook the fucking sense out of me, and I left them there for months.

Tonight I put it on myself to take on the project of making my kitchen less of a train wreck, and I soon found myself faced with a choice: I could spend hours and hours meticulously cleaning rust and old food from cutlery I never use, or I could wipe the slate clean.

Ultimately, there's a bloody Target down the street.

And that is one clean. frakking. slate.

I do make progress, justifiably mad at myself though I get. I'm reading every day which is a triumph of self actualization right now, which is pathetic or understandable depending on how much I'm hating this disgusting skin of a self-image I'm trying to slough off.

Sometimes, in the darker moments (often at work when I find myself needing to cry and unable to (which only happened, once, Chad, don't be melodramatic)), I remind myself that I cannot imagine a self image for myself that doesn't include books and story. Reading and writing define me in ways few other activities can. Thus, whether or not I'm capable of success, I'm headed in the right direction.

Pulling myself inch by inch toward the land that was promised to me by

ME.
knaveofstaves: A picture of an interpretation of the Knight of Wands Tarot card featuring the Egyptian God Thoth (Default)
or:

"Is that a 25lb. bag of rice in your pantry, or are you just happy to see me?"

I've been noticing lately just how much it bothers me when I have nothing of interest to say to people who ask me what I've been up to. I'm a fella should be up to stuff. Instead, I tend to answer vaquely: "nothin' much" or "workin' mostly". I hate that. It is one of the underlying problems with this grotesque thing that I'm calling "me" right now.

So what have I been up to lately?

Well, lessee. I've been undergoing something of a science renaissance for a few months, mostly due to watching Cosmos, which rocked my socks off. Seriously, I am literally barefoot right now, and one totally has anything at all to do with the other. There's a hopeful aspect to Sagan in spite of his dread of that pesky "global thermonuclear war" thing. That attitude toward one's personal relationship with a greater understanding of the universe appeals to me. It's one I look for in myself. I've also been reading a lot of good sci-fi lately. Currently, I'm reading "The Uplift War" by David Brin, which I will probably have something to say about once I'm done.

I have been intermittently trying to write, but that has not been going well. I feel (and have for some time) almost artistically dead. I blame myself, and so does he. It's mostly a product of laziness and abject fear. I started a short story in December but stopped about seven hundred words in because I realized I hated it. Actually, I began again with the same story a few weeks ago, telling it from a different viewpoint, but it still isn't engaging me much. I doubt I'll do anything with it in the future, but it's nice to know it's there if I need it. I'm more excited about another story I started a few weeks ago, which has the honored distinction of being the second science fiction story I've ever attempted. The first was an absolute piece of crap that I wrote late last year. That one was fun to write, but just no good. This second attempt will also be fun to write, but will also probably be no good. That is my lot where sci-fi is concerned right now. I'm so new to the genre, it's like I'm thirteen again, writing manuscripts of stories that have everything to do with what I've been reading lately and nothing to do with actual craft. My enthusiasm for the task is good. It's writing, whether or not it's publishable, and that's something I need to wrangle out of myself whenever I can.

Where writing is concerned, I've been speculating that my hangups are largely neurotic rather than physical. I've been blaming exhaustion from holding down a full-time job for some time, and even though that's a valid observation, it's not the root of the problem. It's too easy. It hurts to think about it, but I really think the problem is a lingering sense of self-doubt and fear. I know that I'm a pretty good writer, though I don't know if I'm good enough to get where I want to go. Moreover, I've been for the longest time allowing myself to be undermined by a fear that stems from my parents' reactions to my lifestyle. Nine years ago, I was told in no uncertain terms that dropping out of college was Wrong. I was screwing up my life. Then, my detractors proceeded to try and force me to stop doing what I was doing. I've been looking at that for awhile now, and I think that on some level my artistic inaction is based on an irrational train of thought:

1. They tried to destroy the person I was trying to become.
2. They did this because that person, to them, is not the right person. He is making the wrong decision.
3. If they are right, I lose. Because that Makes Sense. It is totally the attitude of a Non-moron.
4. If I Try and Fail, then they were right, and I Lose.
5. If I do not Try, I cannot Fail, and the game is eventually Drawn by lack of progress.

Apologies for the chess metaphor, but it resonates with me. I can look at that train of thought and think, "That's happening in me on some level. And it's a load of crap!" Taking steps to derail the train and evacuate myself from it isn't an easy thing to do, but I've got to try.

Otherwise, what's the fucking point? I might as well cut the wires and let myself fall down the bottomless shaft of blue collar middle management work for the rest of my life.

"See, he didn't teach you how to win. He taught you how not to lose. That's nothin' to be proud of. You're playing not to lose, Josh. You've got to risk losing."
- Vinnie, "Searching for Bobby Fischer"

Gaming still occupies some of my time. My last entry wherein I ranted at myself about blitz chess helped a little there. I've stopped playing blitz. I actually played a few longer time control games online tonight, and god that was exhilarating. The game is so much more what I want to get out of it when I can think about a position for longer than three bleeding seconds. I've also got a "bankroll" on my online poker site. It's only about forty dollars, but my poker obsession has been fully curtailed by now. I'm actually having fun occasionally buying into single table tournaments for five dollars at a time. I'm never going to make any money doing it, but who "cares". Poker isn't, and can't be, about profit for me. That is not how I interact with the game. It does not reflect my relationship to money.

I've been distancing myself emotionally from work. There was a scary time back around Christmas I guess when I realized I'd allowed myself to become invested in my job. I had to stop myself one day and remind myself that I don't care about my job. I don't feel strongly enough about it to hate it, or shouldn't care that much anyway. It's only purpose is to feed and shelter me until I'm a professional writer. That ties into the whole "not trying" thing. After all, trying is the only way I get away from that place. It's the only way I will ever make a living doing something I don't have a merc sensibility about. Or the only way I'm willing to acknowledge right now. Why not? Until I try, I have not failed, so there's no reason to consider the necessary alternatives. That's a stop-gap measure if I end up falling short of the mark. Before I have to seriously consider that path, I have to loose myself from the string on which I'm currently nocked.

Look at me. I'm an arrow alluva sudden!

What else? I've started cleaning my apartment on a more regular basis, which means "on occasion" rather than "never". I remember if felt really good sweeping my floor before Bork came over to hang out and having him notice it was cleaner. That was a Good Feeling. Also, spraying large amounts of Tilex on my shower walls is fun. Maybe that's just me. Now if only I'd wash my frakkin' dishes ...

Finally, in the grand tradition of me talking a good game and then frittering my goddamn life away: I've begun trying to get myself to cook again. Y'see, it is in fact a 25lb. bag of rice. Although, I am happy to see you.
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