Monday, October 31, 2011


Normally it is pretty difficult to gross me out. I'm not squeamish in the least bit. Blood, gaping wounds, corpses, etc, etc.; none of it really bothers me. I mean, I'm the girl who at the age of ten wanted to be a coroner when she grew up. Just to give you an idea of how bizarrely okay I am with situations one would typically react to poorly.

Oh, hey. Is that a dead body? Neat.
Until this morning.

Just before the weekend, Aaron's mother gave him a recipe for tasty fried corn fritters. One of the ingredients is a cup of corn kernels. The recipe says you can add more or less depending on preference, so for our first batch Aaron used half a cup. The recipe also states to, "BEWARE OF EXPLODING KERNELS!" Because apparently when you rapidly heat corn kernels in just such a way, they may explode sending scalding oil and corn bits all over the kitchen like a carpet bomb. Our frying however went down safely.

The fritters were indeed very good, but could have used more corn. Fast forward to Sunday. We decide to make the tasty fritters again, this time with chopped up jalapeno and a full cup of corn kernels. Everything is going fine. Aaron and I are chatting in the kitchen when POP! A kernel explodes, soaring across the kitchen three feet and hitting him in the face. In the freaking face! It stung, but luckily the kernel had cooled enough mid-air to not actually burn him. Thank goodness. Okay, we confirm, more corn does in fact mean explosions.

He proceeds with caution. The rest of the fritters are fried up without major incidence. Then, as he moves in to scoop out the very last fritter, POP! Another kernel explodes, right beneath his hand coating his fingers in boiling hot oil. Immediately the skin on his ring and pinky finger blisters and sloughs off. He thrusts his hand into running water and I'm pretty sure there was a string of expletives involved. It's a bad burn, but not one that warrants a hospital, so we take care of it at home: a shot of whiskey, burn cream, gauze pads and gauze.

This morning we wake up and the ooze has soaked through the pads and the gauze. He needs to change the bandages. I was there as his skin blistered off and even helped him cut away the left-over dead skin that hadn't come off on its own and I was fine. However, watching him painstakingly peel the pads from the wound this morning invoked in me such a violent internal reaction that I had to leave the room. If I didn't gtfo right then and there and lay down for a minute, I was going to boat.

If I don't go away right now, I'll die.
I've never had that reaction to anything before. It was such a surreal experience. Under usual circumstances the only things that could cause that manner of response in me are actual physical stimuli. Such as a virus, bacteria, or spinning in circles for too long. Luckily he was able to tend the wound on his own today, because honestly I'm not sure I could have helped him.

Once I had calmed myself down enough to where I didn't think I would spew uncontrollably, the mere thought of going back into the restroom to assist caused the reaction a second time. I wasn't even actually in the room! The wound isn't even that gross. I have no idea what the hell the problem is.

Edit: Oh, for #$%@'s sake. Proof reading this before posting it made me nauseous again. What the crap?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Varying Degrees of Surprise

Between almost clocking Aaron in the face with a frying pan and Rose sending me an unexpected gift; Saturday was full of surprises. You're probably wanting me to explain why I almost bludgeoned my fiancee to death with a cooking utensil, but I'll get to that later. I'm doing things my way And my way involves addressing Rose first. Nothing you can do about it.

So we're all cozy on the sofa watching episodes of Torchwood on Netflix when there's a knock at the door. Neither Aaron nor myself had ordered anything, I was fairly sure, and the package my mom had sent from back East arrived on Thursday. So I was really curious as to who could be out there. I suspected it was another Mormon. They go door-to-door out here like Jehovah's Witnesses, which I thought was weird but apparently it's common place to the natives.

As an aside, I like to think that mentioning things like The Doctor and Torchwood will cause the FBI or the CIA to show up. :3

Anyway, so Aaron gets up and opens the door and lo' and behold: it's a package! For me. Wait. What? It's clearly not from Aaron and both my mother and my grandfather are on a cruise in the middle of the ocean... Therefor it's obviously not their doing either. Who is it from? Rose. A friend of mine who used to live here before I did, but then moved East around the same exact time that I moved West. Inside is a lovely set of jewelry in shades of orange, yellow, and bronze. Anyone who knows anything knows I adore the color orange, so I was understandably happy about this.

And confused.
Not until several hours later would I even pause to consider that I hadn't given Rose my address. So I turn to Aaron, who at this point is sitting at his desk behind mine playing Might & Magic: Heroes VI, and just as I'm about to accuse Rose of being related to David Blaine he reads my expression (or maybe my mind) and tells me he'd sneakily given it to her. NINJAS!

So yeah, cool surprise from 2000 miles away.

Now as to why I almost beat my fiance to death: it was self defense! Or rather, ill-conceived self defense. He was in the shower, or so I thought, and I was peacefully washing dishes. After about ten minutes or so of this, out of the corner of my eye I see movement! From the general area of the front door! My mind immediately places Aaron as 'in the shower' and perceives the movement as some sort of outside threat. An intruder!

Hide yo' kids. Hide yo' wife.

I turn to look my assailant in the eye, unlike most girls whose reaction is to tightly shut their eyes and swing blindly in the general direction of their attacker. Lucky for fiancee. Recognition took place half an instant before I struck him in the face with a soapy frying pan. Only thing worse than a face full of hard metal? Probably a face full of hard metal AND soap in your eyes.

It doesn't end there. Later we would be surprised again. We had set up an impromptu Halloween party late in the week at our place, since scheduling conflicts prevented anything being set into motion sooner. We weren't sure if anyone would be coming or not, honestly, because all of the invites were accepted tentatively. Participation depending on previous plans, work, school, and family obligations. So at around 7:00 PM we decided to just settle down with some homemade spaghetti, a bottle of red wine, and watch something.

Sometime after 8:00 PM there was a loud and unexpected POUNDING at our door. We were mutually startled! Aaron lept up from the sofa, rushed to the door and locked it. Just in case. Looking through the peep hole revealed none other than our pals Josh and Emil outside. Laughing at our fright. Incidentally, due to earlier circumstance, the pounding at the door was twice as concerning than it would have been normally.

Normally we would have just attributed it to a cranky neighbor, coming to complain about noise or something. Not that we were making noise, and not that people complain often. But this had happened once before. Aaron and I were both quietly reading and our neighbor started pounding to tell us to keep it down. So it wouldn't be far-fetched for them to think actual sound was too loud.

Instead, due to a mysteriously circling police helicopter earlier our minds reacted as follows:
Aaron's mind -- there's an escaped convict trying to bust down our door!
My mind -- the police are about to raid our apartment thinking we're harboring a fugitive!

Not sure why our trains of thought were so different, yet related. My being more fearful of the police than an escaped murderer is probably indicative of something...


The night after this point was mostly just entertaining tomfoolery, pumpkin beer, and delicious raspberry tart. We never actually got around to our Horror Movie Marathon, but that's okay. Youtube proved funny enough.

Tomorrow we plan to open our door to trick-or-treaters with a bowl full of fruit just to mess with them. Those who stick around will get actual candy. We bought something like five bags of the stuff. Not the cheap kind, either. Tasty, tasty chocolate. We were going to scare the crap out of them by opening the door to me crab-walking at them like some terrible creature from a Japanese horror film, but I guess at some point I hurt my shoulder. No crab-walking for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Things Worth Buying At Trader Joe's

I used to follow a blog which was supposed to be dedicated to good finds at Trader Joe's. However all of their reviews, for some reason, were 3 stars and under. Which isn't really what's good at all. It's more like, "Here some mediocre items and other things you should not bother buying from Trader Joe's." Not exactly helpful.

So I stopped following that blog and decided to just start a list here (in no particular order) referencing all of the things which are actually worth buying at Trader Joe's. This list is not all inclusive -- I will continue to add items whenever I discover something new that's so delectable I endorse it to the entire planet. Be sure to check back. (Updated: 12/09/12)

I'll even break it up into sections for you.

  • Trader Joe's Clover Blossom Honey
  • Trader Joe's Deep, Dark Gingerbread Cake & Baking Mix 
  • Trader Joe's Pecan Pie Ice Cream
  • Pilgrim Joe's Pumpkin Ice Cream
  • Trader Joe's Crunch Black & White Rice Rolls
  • Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wafer Cookies.
  • Trader Joe's Vanilla Meringues
  • Trader Joe's Sugar Snap Peas
  • Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream 
  • Trader Joe's Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal 
  • Trader Joe's Speculoos 
  • Trader Joe's Sugar, Chocolate & Coffee Bean Grinder 
  • Trader Joe's Journey To The Center of The Cookie
  • Trader Joe's Baked Rice Snack (Yaki Onigiri)
  • Trader Joe's Edamame Hummus 
  • Arabian Joe's Middle Eastern Flatbread
  • Trader Joe's Multi Grain Croissants
  • Trader Joe's Mini Croissants
  • Trader Joe's Wasabi Peas 
  • Calbee Snack Salad Snapea Crisps 
  • Trader Joe's Bite Size Everything Crackers
  • Trader Joe's Raisin Rosemary Crisps
  • Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast Tea
  • Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Latte
  • Trader Joe's Spiced Apple Cider
  • Trader Jose's Dark Lager

And there you have it.

As far as produce, you're really better off buying those things elsewhere. The asking price is high for little return. The produce I get from the modest Russian market down the street is every bit as tasty as the produce available from Trader Joe's and costs upwards of 90% less. That's a pretty steep difference. As a bonus, it's family grown, locally.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

At First Sight

No, this isn't a blog about love. It's a blog about a pencil. Not like my other blog about pencils. This is different. Entirely. My bank switched credit card companies and I was sent a new card. It needed to be signed. While blue or black ink is considered "legal" in the department of legal inks, I prefer black for signing my credit cards because it matches everything. Yes. I realize how absurd and trivial that sounds. But so what? So I want my credit cards to match. Shut your face-gap.

My desk is mostly filled with art supplies. Graphite, pigment liners, charcoal, gum erasers, paint, etc., etc. I have a single ball pointe pen in my possession and it happens to be blue. So I turned to Aaron's desk. He has a ton of things residing in his drawers. Highlighters, pens, pencils, rulers, staplers, staples, protractors and compasses, and more staple removers than one human could possibly ever use at once. Seriously, if ever you need a staple removed, call my fiancee.

I figured he probably had a black ball point pen in there someplace as well. Only he didn't.

Everything but what I needed.
Instead I saw a pencil. An ancient-looking Pentech #2 pencil that had been sharpened but never used, judging by the pristine state of the eraser. I was instantly compelled to use it. Only I didn't know what to use it for. On hand I only had my pocket composition notebook and I didn't really have anything that needed writing. Yet I still really wanted to use this pencil. Like, really, really.

Okay, now what?
I sat there like this for some time, just tapping the lead against my paper perpetually. As if that would lead me to some profound statement to write down and share. I was certain that this method would work and soon produce a lifestyle-altering message for the world when I realized I was hungry and that the laundry was done. So you get this.

Happy kitty has to count for something.
Your life will never be the same after this, I know. Sorry for getting your hopes up. But last time I left the laundry sit too long I had to spend thirty minutes laying on my clothing before putting it on to press out the wrinkles with my body heat because we do not own an iron. Which is really a brilliant idea, when you pause to think about it... Stop judging me.

It wrote very nicely though. I have not used an old fashioned wooden #2 pencil since middle school. I had forgotten how smooth and thick the lines made by them are. +Pencil Appreciation+
People who didn't play pre-NGE SWG won't get that reference.

The end.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Going Postal

Pizza coupons, #$%^ yeah!
I think our mailman may have anger management issues. This seems to be a common occurrence in the mail industry. That is, after all, where the term, "going postal" originated. This may also be why I typically avoid direct contact with our postal worker whenever possible.

I'm sure he thinks of me with resentment bordering on actual disdain. Not that I have done anything to particularly wrong him, at least not personally. I just don't always get my mail out of the mailbox in a timely fashion. Maybe I was out of town, or sick, or lost my maibox key -- doesn't matter. If I do not get the mail out of the box at least every other day, the mail man begins punching our mail into the box with his fists in some rage-induced psychotic episode.

At least that is the best explanation I can come up with. We do not get a lot of mail here. It's usually either Netflix or junk mail and were it not forcibly punched into the box, it would fit inside just fine. So it's not as though the mailbox is ever over-flowing and the mail must be crammed in to compensate.

I understand that being a postal worker is probably not a very fun job. It is however a fairly simple one. You drive a little truck around and put labeled mail into the corresponding box. It's like a grown up version of getting the right peg into the appropriately shaped hole. You don't even have to work on holidays! Ever! Chill out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dear Creepy Person

To whom it may concern,

Whoever is out there Google searching my full name in quotations to exclude all other possible results: please stop. It is creepy and it is weird. You do not want to look like an obsessive stalky stalkerton, do you? Because that is how you look right now. Nobody likes a stalker. Not even stalkers like stalkers. If your own peers find you repulsive, perhaps that should tell you something.

Blogspot keeps me informed about what search words bring traffic to my blog. Thus, I know you're out there, somewhere, being a creeper. You can't hide that. So you should just stop it.

All of my friends and family have access to this blog by default, so I know it isn't any of them relying on Google to track me down -- and strangers are unlikely to use my exact name in quotations to find this blog. They stumble in after searching for things like, "cersei lanister blond hair black eyebrows" or "hartz ultra guard." So the obvious conclusion here would be that you are someone who knows me but I do not like enough (or at all) to have linked you personally. In which case, you're twice as creepy and weird because you know I do not like you and yet, here you are reading all about my personal life like a psycho.

If that is your intent, then good job. You're a success at being a psycho!

Inari Holmes

P.S. Yes, I also know you tried to Google search my full name plus the state I used to live in to find me before relying on quotations to narrow down your stalking. Congratulations on earning double creeper points.

P.P.S. I'm fine with actual strangers stumbling upon my blog through whatever means. /hi5 to people who don't know me but enjoy my writing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Poetic Justice

We spent the weekend in San Jose. There we stayed at a friend's place and partook in various amounts of geekery; such as watching animated Batman movies and going to a Dagorhir event. If you do not know what Dagorhir is, your best bet is to click that link because I'm not really sure how to describe it to you without making you think we're a bunch of masochists.

To be honest it's like medieval boot camp. If you are not properly trained you're going to break or tear something and it will be painful. It's going to be painful anyway, so you really don't want to break something on top of the plethora of bruises you're going to be walking away with.

There, I tried my best.

While that was all good fun and entertainment, what I really want to talk to you about is our trip down there. The two hour car ride from Sacramento to San Jose. "That sounds boring to hear about, Inari," you're probably saying to yourself and under normal circumstances you'd be right. Usually it's two hours of chit chat and Queen. Not this time.

Well, it still took two hours and there was still chit chat and Queen, but there was a happening as well. A happening! So we're cruising along in the fast lane doing 80, nothing wrong with that. The guy ahead of us is also doing 80 and we're a little less than two car lengths behind him. There's really no justification for going over 80 mph unless you're trying to escape carnivorous dinosaurs or something. I mean, even if someone's dying in the backseat, that's what ambulances are there for. Driving around at 100 mph with no sirens or lights is only going to kill both of you.

Then. There is this dude in a sports car all up on our ass. Like, so close that we couldn't even see his headlights. Not our fault, Mr. Man. We cannot drive through the car ahead of us, or the car beside us for that matter. 80 should be plenty fast for the fast lane.

Aaron lets off the gas a little; not enough to cause a break screeching freak-out or anything, just enough to send the signal, "Yo, back off our ass. Man." This works for about 2.5 seconds before the guys whips out from behind us, probably without even checking, and speeds along beside us. Ironically, at this point in time, he's not quite keeping up with us... which is all the more reason why he should have been content doing 80 mph at a safe distance behind us.

He stays along side us for enough time to see, reasonably, that there was nothing we could have done. He cut-off the car beside us like a maniac to get to where he was now, and there was still a car in front of us, keeping us at an even 80. For one reason or another, the car in front of us decides to gtfo though and as soon as he does, the dude in the sports car zips in front of us and SLAMS on his breaks. We slam on our breaks so that we don't die in a fire (action movies have taught me that all cars are bombs just waiting for an impact so they can explode) and then the guy peels out at like 100 mph into the distance.

Out of principle we speed along after him a bit just to prove that we can go fast too! But then there is flashing lights. You've got to be kidding me, I think. I notice however that the flashing lights are beside us -- not behind us, and we're immediately cut-off by a cop. Who then proceeds to pull the reckless sports car dude over. America, $%^@ yeah! I've never wanted to thumbs-up a police officer so very much before.

I guess now I can no longer say, "There's never a cop around when you need one." Because holy crap, there totally was.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Millions of Peaches

One time while I was staying at my aunt's manse in Illinois, my grandfather was eating a can of peaches. That may seem weird to you on its own, but he is an old person and they are entitled to do whatever the hell they want. What was weird is how much he was complaining about these peaches. I could hear him chastising the peaches from a whole other room, "These are so bland!"

I decide not to intervene and continue reading my book by the koi pond. Eventually, however, he called me over to investigate his peaches with science. Only I do not need science at all because the moment I arrive I see that he is not eating a can of peaches at all. He is eating a can of whole potatoes. Granted, peeled whole potatoes, but whole potatoes none-the-less. Forgivable since the two, without reading the labels, actually look remotely similar.

Not peaches.
Until you realize, that for some reason, I don't think my grandfather knows what a peach actually is. Or perhaps he's forgotten somehow. To illustrate this point (without actually illustrating it), while watching an episode of The Office, where Dwight is eating from a can of beets, my grandpa thought those too were peaches. Beets look nothing like peaches. Edit: I'm informed Dwight was eating canned tomatoes, which doesn't help my grandfather's case out any.

Also not peaches.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Disappointment & Surprise

For years I used a basic Papermate PhD click pencil for my preliminary sketches. Henceforth to be referred to as Old Faithful. I found the thickness and shape of the pencil made drawing for hours on end far more tolerable. Even more expensive pencils manufactured by other companies in a similar fashion just hadn't gotten it quite right. The Papermate PhD surpassed all others in comfort.

Thus I was understandably distraught when, after ten years, my beloved pencil finally gave way to over-use and broke. Even more distraught when I learned I could not find another like it in stores anywhere. Papermate PhD in its original incarnation was no more. Several newer models had taken its place, none of which were as good as the first.

Not to get side tracked here but ten years is a pretty long life for a click pencil. I just felt obligated to point that out. Not even most cars last that long and you pay thousands of dollars for those. I paid $5.00 for my pencil.

In the interim I've tried dozens of pencils, trying to find a new one to take its place. From cheap Bic pencils to more expensive fancy pants art pencils. None of them could come close to the comfort and accuracy of the Papermate PhD. The closest I was able to achieve was the Papermate ComforteMate Ultra. I'm not sure why it is named in that manner, it is definitely not ultra comfortable. I'm also not too sure what's ultra about it, there doesn't seem to be just a regular ComfortMate out there, so it isn't simply a more ultimate version of another pencil. It served well enough, though.

Once I had settled, I pretty much gave up ever finding another Old Faithful. Until the other day when after drawing for about forty-five minutes my hand felt like it was about to shrivel up and fall off at the wrist. Surely the internet could help me in this dire time of need.

After searching high and low, I actually wasn't having much luck at all. Almost every Papermate PhD I came across was one of the newer varieties. Over-priced and simply not as good. Just as I was about to throw in the towel a second time, I found one site that not only still stocked the old Papermate PhD, but specialized in supplying older office supplies. Neat. Triumphant at last, I ordered myself a shiny new scarlet barrel Papermate PhD. Shipping was free so the total was $4.50, which incidentally is a little less than I had spent on Old Faithful. 

Quantity: 1
This week the package arrived and I happily opened it. I pull out not a scarlet barreled Papermate PhD but an emerald barreled Papermate PhD. At first I'm sorely disappointed. I was so looking forward to having the exact same pencil that I had loved so much before. While this was still the model I was searching for for the last several years, it was the wrong color entirely. But then I reach in and pull out another emerald barreled Papermate PhD. And another... Over and over again for a total of six Papermate PhDs.

Sure, it's six pencils all in the wrong color, but it's also six pencils for the price of one pencil. How can I reasonably complain? That'd be absurd. "Oh, I'm sorry. I hate free stuff, please take it all back and give me what I paid for." Yeah, no.

I do however wish Aaron had not gone to class with the mailbox key this morning. I could have been using these (all of them -- at once!) accomplishing multiple sketches rather than just a single sketch! Instead I used the ComfortMate which has left my whole arm sore to the elbow. Boo.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

For Those of You With Pets

Like many people, I have pets. Like many people, at some time or another my pets have had fleas. A simple enough issue to deal with, one would think. Stores are filled with aisles dedicated exclusively to flea elimination products. Hartz, Sergeant's, Sentry, Bio Spot, Frontline, Four Paws, are all familiar brands. They're also notably cheaper alternatives to some of the more costly pet products, like Advantage. They all do the same thing, right? Surely these items are safe for use if they're still on the shelves? Wrong.

The only way in which Hartz products will rid your house of fleas is by ridding your house of pets. Hardly an ideal method for people who consider their pets members of the family.

The cases of reported adverse reactions and/or death of pets reported immediately after using these products are staggering. According to our veterinarian, it's probably best not to actively treat your pets for fleas at all if they are indoor animals; unless they have a compromised immune system or an allergy to insects or unless you have children. The benefits do not outweigh the risk. If your pet does have a compromised immune system or an allergy to insects, you should treat them with Advantage brand products. Just to be certain you should also correspond with your animal's veterinarian for proper dosing. This can usually be done free of charge and even over the phone provided your pet has not gained or lost weight since their last visit.

One size fits all does not apply to medications. Even if they are bottled and sold that way.

To make matters worse, Hartz Ultra Guard and these other dangerous products aren't only bad for your pet's health -- they also do not effectively kill fleas or ticks. So you're not only putting your pet's health at risk by using them, you're also basically throwing money out of the window. You'd be better off treating your pet's flea problem by wishing on shooting stars. There is a reason Advantage is considerably more expensive: it actually works.

So what is the difference between these products and Advantage? Imidacloprid. A chemical remarkably safer for use on cats and dogs than Tetrachlorvinphos (Hartz), Propoxur (Bio Spot, Sergeant's, Sentry), Permethrin (Hartz, Bio Spot, Sergeant's, Sentry, Four Paws), and Fipronil (Frontline), which have been known to not only cause severe skin irritation but also acute poisoning and death.

The first symptom of trouble is reddening of the skin where the product was applied and salivating. Symptoms rapidly progress to labored breathing, frothing at the mouth, and spastic behaviors. If left untreated, most animals die shortly thereafter. Even those that survive are often left with permanent damage. If you have used these products or are currently using them and notice any of these signs, quickly and thoroughly bathe your pet in luke warm water with Dawn dish soap. Then proceed to your veterinarian's office at your earliest convenience. If symptoms progress or are severe take your pet to an emergency pet clinic right away.

Just because you have used these products in the past without event, does not mean your pet will never suffer one. Some animals are simply more resilient than others and it may take repeated dosing to trigger a full blown life-threatening episode. Also, remember, you aren't even killing fleas by using this stuff. May as well quit while you're ahead.

If you don't care about your animals (why have them?) then perhaps you'd be interested in knowing that the active ingredient in Hartz and Frontline have both been shown to cause tumors, organ failure, and nervous system damage in humans. Especially pregnant women and children. So there's more to be concerned about here than just Mr. Whiskers and Rover.

If you do not care about the well-being of your pets, your wife, or your children... you are a monster and I hereby issue a formal cease and desist in regard to reading my blogs.

So once again, in summary: do not use flea products provided by the brand name Hartz, Bio Spot, Sergeant's, Sentry, Frontline or Four Paws. If your pet requires treatment for fleas, such as my cat who suffers from a severe flea allergy, use Advantage. It's not only reliable but safer.

Indoor Voices, Even Outside

One of our neighbors has this kid. A little boy who seems to think the fastest way to get what he wants is to SHOUT. He will shout about anything, no matter what it is. No matter how far from him the object of his loudness happens to be. Shouting gets it done.


Doesn't #$^&ing matter what, he makes his point as loudly as possible at all times. Otherwise, the neighborhood children and particularly the neighborhood adults are all normal people. Aside from the occasional random squeal of a little girl and this boy's obsessive desire to shout at everything -- it's quiet around here. This is a nice place to live.

So I've begun to wonder, quite frequently actually, just why this child thinks that this is acceptable behavior. Who taught him that shouting was the answer to every problem big or small? Surely it couldn't be his parents. I don't hear them shouting from inside their apartment. Maybe it was a classmate at school? Perhaps he has an undiagnosed hearing problem and he shouts because he doesn't realize it?


The mystery was solved this afternoon when, for no real reason whatsoever the father came out onto their patio and began SHOUTING for the boy from across the courtyard. Some mere 20 feet of distance between them. To make matters worse, rather than respond by going over to his father to continue their discussion, the kid just shouts his replies back at dad and this goes on for some five minutes. wtf? In what parallel universe is this acceptable behavior? Especially from a grown man?

How inconsiderate.

There is no reason to shout, let alone shout at another human being unless either they are on fire or about to catch fire. Otherwise it's completely unnecessary and rude. I'm a pretty tolerant person, but people yelling at each other isn't something I cope with well. It is one of the few things, actually, that can boil me to a rage. The second you shout at me -- the conversation is $#^@ing over. You can go sit on it and spin for all I care.

And that's really the better of two options because if I respond to you in kind, shit is hitting the fan. I might even punch you in the face, which is saying a lot because I've never really punched anyone in the face and I've been in some situations in my life where physical violence was actually a necessity to avoid being murdered. So can we all agree to use our indoor voices, please? Even if we're outside?

Friday, October 14, 2011

That Isn't A Word or A Verb

I've mentioned before that several years ago my life was a lot like an episode of The Guild. So the following should come as no surprise. It's incredibly nerdy. Like, incredibly, incredibly nerdy. I'm also kind of drunk so I'm relying entirely on spellcheck to get us through this and even then my impulse to tell you this story is probably sketchy at best.

On that note, I apologize ahead of time if you read through all of this and aren't satisfied. I can't be on the ball all the time. Sometimes I have to write poorly or else you'd take my better blogs for granted. Or something. So yeah... on with it then. You've been forewarned, if you continue reading and don't like it it's now entirely your own fault.

Several years ago I was still playing an MMORPG by the name of SWG. Short for Star Wars Galaxies. I know, as far as MMORPGs go, the one based on Star Wars is by far the dorkiest. Judge me accordingly. Also during this time period the media was all in an uproar about this guy:

David Blaine doing what David Blaine does.
Notably his alleged ability to levitate. You could not even watch the news without seeing him at least three times during the broadcast. He was everywhere. So much so that spoofs were just waiting to happen, and they did of course. This is the internet after all, and this guy was honest comedy gold without even meaning to be.

It was back when this spoof was still brand new and under a thousand views that this story takes place. My guildmates and I were spending the typical Friday night in. Not because we didn't have social lives outside of the internet but because we chose to stay in. Back then the game was fantastic and the community was top notch. It didn't help that gaming was a much cheaper form of entertainment than going out for drinks or to see a movie.

Weekends often meant drinking games in game. Every time a bounty hunter lost to a Jedi, you took a drink. Every time you heard an ambient mouse droid, you took a drink. Every time you missed a shuttle, you took a drink. And so on and so forth. Considering that these sorts of things happened constantly in the game, you had the potential to be stupid drunk in no time.

One such time the guild and I were all dicking around at a shuttle port in Mos Eisley. Too drunk to go do anything else, we decided the best way to occupy our time as the universal evil Sith guild was to bunny hop around the shuttle. In SWG jumping was little more than an aesthetic. You didn't actually get enough lift to jump over any sort of obstacles. If there was a stick in your path you'd have to maneuver around it -- jumping did nothing to aid you. The action was altogether useless, the animation for it however was quite hilarious. Especially to a bunch of drunk people at 12AM on a Friday.

Eventually we had jumped so much that the game didn't know what to make of it. The result was that we were all now floating in really awkward positions. Immediately the obvious association was made. Only problem was I was too drunk to get the point across. Rather than, "Hey guys, look, I'm David Blaine!" what I said was, "LOL GAIS I'M DAVID PLANE!" Yeah, I actually said, "L-O-L."

Parapraxis? I don't know, maybe. I was drunk.

This lead to a spiral of events beyond anyone's control. Mostly everyone bastardizing David Blaine into David Plane and then turning David Plane into a verb of some weird sort so that we could proclaim to the world at large that we were David Planing. I don't remember if the denizens of Mos Eisley were as entertained by this as much as we all were, probably not, since we were usually murdering them. I imagine they didn't know what to make of our tomfoolery, actually. Especially since apparently the glitch was only client side and they could not see wtf we were talking about.

We sounded like a bunch of crazy people.

I do know that later that evening we David Planed (tm) into the cantina only to bust out in dance. You have to understand that we were basically unchallenged in PVP at the time, so to see us in such a large force was usually indicative of a massacre-about-to-happen. It was a role-play server, and RPers are serious business. No one expects shenanigans. As evident by the snarky person in the doorway, appalled by our decision to take a night off from murdering them. She would have preferred us in character, ripping out her intestines with a ceremonial dagger, I guess? Different strokes for different folks.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not All Things That Buzz Are Bees

This morning was kind of, "meh," for me, so I begrudgingly went into the kitchen to make my oatmeal and tea. More out of necessity than enjoyment, which isn't usually the case. I then went into the computer room to eat and attempt to better my mood. When the internet failed me I decided to just let it go and begin my daily housework, but this only made me feel worse. Regardless I went about it anyway. By the time I got to the part where I water the plants, I was pretty much assured that my mood was just going to be dour all day.

Then I heard the terrible sound of buzzing. Terrible because this usually indicates a sizable wasp or bee about to murder my ass. "Great," I thought, "Just what I need: to spend my afternoon in the emergency room." Awesome. Frozen in terror, I slowly turn my eyes towards the sound only to find not a wasp or a bee, but a humming bird!
The same female humming bird who visits our feeder every day. Unlike me however, she knows no fear. Only curiosity. She doesn't flutter off or back away or anything. She just hovers about an inch away from my face, staring at me. So close that I can feel the wind from her wings in my hair.

She must have decided after some time of this that I'm not a threat to her, because she flits above my head and begins to drink from the feeder like I'm not even present. Still holding absolutely still, I stand there watching -- close enough to reach up and touch her if I so chose. Though I decided not to break her trust and simply observed until she had her fill and flew off.

I had been so enveloped in my crappy mood that I automatically assumed the worst. My mistake. Lesson learned.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In Relation...

I can hear again! Today this arrived in the mail from my mother 3000 miles away:

Ignore friend Cactus.

Finally after two long weeks I have rejoined the world of the hearing! My old hearing aid was a tiny ITE model, almost invisible when worn. This is a BTE hearing aid which while less discreet, actually provides a much better sense of sound. So, perhaps ironically, breaking my old hearing aid has actually improved my ability to communicate.

This couldn't have arrived at a better time. Well, unless it arrived instantly two weeks ago, I guess, but that's not realistic. Not being able to hear at all was really beginning to bum me out. Especially when we received Dune from Netflix last week only to discover there was no Closed Captioning option at the menu screen. No CC on a DVD? I thought that was standard? How disappointing.

Why in the world isn't everything CCed by now? It's all written in a script beforehand anyway. It's #^$%ing 2011. We have people LIVING IN SPACE.

Dear Mom,

You are an exemplary human being. Over the years you have displayed not only complete and utter selflessness but also saint-like patience and compassion. Both towards me and even complete strangers. I want you to know that while sometimes people may forget to say it, we're all thankful for your efforts. No matter how big or how small, you make a world of difference in so many lives. Every day.

Not only did you raise two children entirely on your own, you also continued your education and maintained a career to support us. Not a job. An actual career. You then went above and beyond the call of duty to better the world around you through local government office. You are a woman of great strength and courage: a heroine if ever there was one in this modern age.

So thank you, mom. Just for being who you are, no matter what.
I love you,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Next Blog

Have you ever hit the Next Blog link at the top of a blog before? I hadn't even noticed it until the other day when I was proof reading a post of mine (that's something I do -- proof read after having posted) and I was like, "What's this all?" Then I clicked it. It takes you to what seem to be randomly generated blogs, some of them worth reading, others not so much.

It made me realize that there are a lot, a lot, of house wives blogging about nothing whatsoever. Not in the amusing way that Seinfeld was a show about nothing, either. Just, quite frankly, rambling paragraph after paragraph without actually saying anything at all. Not even managing to imply whether their day was good or bad. Like house wifedom (tm) had completely void them of any actual opinions.

It was desperately boring. Also a little sad.

Not that my blogs are the best thing since sliced bread or anything, but I at least attempt to talk about actual topics and not just prattle on about nothing in particular. Not that everything I stumbled upon was bad. I did find some great blogs out there. Blogs written by imaginative people, genuinely interesting people, and well spoken people. I went so far as to subscribe to them, complete strangers, because I didn't realize just how rare these gems really were before.

I think my favorite is I Found Your Pen. A blog reuniting pen owners with their long lost writing utensils. Second place belongs to How To Accessorize With Tiny Birds. I don't feel the need to even need to explain that one to you.

After a while of hitting Next Blog suddenly everything was in Russian. I'm not sure why that happened, I know nothing of the mechanics behind Next Blog. Maybe after you hit it so many times in a row it assumes English is not your native language and starts trying to guess what your native language might be? I don't know. I wouldn't put it passed Google. I saw some intriguing pictures though. I am curious as to whether or not they'd be as intriguing if I could read the captions. Probably not, but that's okay. I cannot read the captions so I don't have to worry about it.

Anyway, I suggest you try the Next Blog button and see where it takes you. Just be forewarned that 90% of blogs with a family photo as the header will leave you bored to freaking tears. I advise you just immediately hit the Next Blog button again and spare yourself.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Your Tour Guide To Autism

Under usual circumstances the human brain is like a road map. While still largely unexplored and mysterious, we have managed to figure out that certain areas are used to accomplish certain tasks. Such as math, or art, or memorization. Though there may be minor differences between your map and the map the guy next to you is holding, such as different roads being highlighted or terrain detail -- largely your maps are the same. Maine is still Maine. Oregon will always be Oregon. Etc., etc.

For an autistic person this is not true. Maine may well be Illinois, and Oregon could be anything from Nevada to Atlantis, depending. Their brain works in a fundamentally different way. For example, the area normal people use to compute numbers may instead be an additional visual processing center, used for language comprehension, motor function, emotional response, or anything really. This is one of the reasons autistic children are either classified as handicapped or exceptionally brilliant. Opposite sides of the same coin.

While autism can certainly be a disability, it is not the same as mental retardation. Sure, if you sit two people down, one autistic and one normal, and tell them to solve the same maze the autistic person may take minutely longer to finish the maze. Not because they continually messed up or got lost, but because their brain defaulted to the most complicated route over the easiest. They saw their way through the maze at the same time you did, they just took the harder path. The autistic mind commonly overlooks the simple way for the one more mentally stimulating.
The path less traveled by.

Back to the road map comparison, because seriously, this is the best way I can think of to plainly explain everything. Turn Oregon into Louisiana and suddenly you aren't developing communication skills until the age of five or six. This is viewed as a problem. Understandably. Alternatively, turn Florida into Colorado and you're a child prodigy, doing advanced algebra before 2nd grade. This is considered genius. There are an infinite amount of possibilities.

Unfortunately the first is more common. The road map is so wildly different that it stifles development to a severe degree. You can't find your way from Michigan to Ohio even though they're supposed to be right next to each other because for some reason Texas is where Ohio is supposed to be. Whether this is because as a normal set of people, the parents and teachers simply aren't capable of 'making sense' to the autistic child, or because they are genuinely unreachable is something highly debated. No two professionals can ever seem to agree on this. Severely autistic children have been reached though, so I'm inclined to believe it's the former.

Occasionally though, it is mixed up in just such a way that the child can still be perceived as normal by others. Even above average in certain areas. This is because rather than having, say, two motor control centers and no language center (which is functionally useless and even confusing), you wind up with two or more language centers. Or mathematical computing centers. Or visual processing centers. Basically you are twice as good at something than you naturally should be without any practice whatsoever.

This is the category I fall into. During my preschool years, teachers began to notice I handled situations presented to me in a vastly different manner than my peers. I could read at a 3rd grade level but sometimes would just get lost and become unresponsive staring at an illustrated story book. Which is probably why I developed artistically so early on. I never cried for my parents when dropped off, and rarely smiled or expressed any other outward emotional response to stimuli. When asked my name, I didn't know it. I instead read off the ID numbers on my name tag. Like a robot.

I was kind of a creepy little girl.

To be fair, all of my family members had a different name for me at the time so the confusion had nothing to do with my autism. When I asked the teacher which name I should use, she told me to write down what was on my name tag. Which was already adhered to my shirt. When I looked down, the upside-down numbers were the first thing listed, so I presumed it was my identification. It was a swiftly corrected issue, though it would've been cool to be known as S-9 for short (the entire sequence was something like 13 digits and the first letter of your last name).

Though my oddities were not impairing my ability to learn or get along with the other children, teachers were for whatever reason concerned. I wasn't normal, whatever that is. I was a well-spoken child, reading newspapers at 3 and writing in both print and cursive before my brother who was 2 years older; none of which gave my family a moment's pause. Strangers found it weird and unsettling. I went to see several specialists.

In the end I was diagnosed with high functioning autism, on 2 separate occasions 10 years apart. The treatment for autism at this end of the spectrum is basically just emotional awareness training because for whatever reason, autistic children rarely seem to instinctively know how to respond to emotions -- a behavior most people develop as infants. Even if a baby does not know right away that she should smile when she is happy, she sees her parents smile when they are happy and emphatically understands that to be the correct response to happiness.

Autistic kids do not do this. The autistic mind defaults to logic, not emotion. They have to learn the correct response to emotions, both their own and other people's. This results in many socially awkward situations. Above average intelligence in one or more areas only serves to exacerbate the issue. Young children easily overlook social abnormalities. Once you become a teenager however, smiling when you're being chastised will only make people more angry with you. They don't understand that it isn't your fault and they definitely won't believe you when you try to tell them you weren't purposefully being a smart ass.

Sarcasm manifests itself as a self defense early on.

Then there are perception barriers. Which are much akin to language barriers between people of different nationalities. You have to remember that autistic people think in an entirely different way than you do. For instance when doctors instructed 3 year old me to put the bear under the box, this was the outcome:

I am a master of balance!

It isn't an incorrect answer. It certainly isn't a sign of ignorance. It's just a totally different way of perceiving intent and meaning. Most people would not try to balance the box on top of the bear because it is more difficult to do so. The bear is however still technically under the box.

Furthermore when you say one thing but mean another, the autistic mind will usually automatically conclude the most logical of the choices. Even if it makes the least amount of sense given the person saying it (such as an unreasonable customer or crazy person). On that same note, autistic individuals are usually uncomfortably honest with people. They see little benefit to lying, even if it is to spare someone's feelings. If your jeans make you look fat and you ask a person with autism if your jeans make you look fat -- they're going to say, "Yes." This not only makes strangers uncomfortable and occasionally pisses off a friend, it also makes you extremely bad at poker.

I find the most challenging part of being autistic being interrupted. Adjusting to unexpected changes isn't easy for anyone with autism. Once you set your mind to something altering the course isn't just irritating beyond belief -- it's almost completely unacceptable. This can be triggered by something as simple as planning on going to the grocery store only to change plans at the last minute and order a pizza or sitting down to play a video game only for a friend to unexpectedly drop by. I do my best not to outwardly show my frustration, as it's really unwarranted and logically I am aware of that. But it still exists. Sometimes I find it easier if I expect I'll be interrupted to simply not do anything at all. Which is extremely unproductive.

Autism is another one of those things popularly misrepresented by the media, which seems only to focus on the most disabling cases they can find. As a result when you mention autism people automatically jump to thoughts about screaming, flailing, uncontrollable children who cannot form coherent words. While it can be a crippling condition for some people, that is not always the case. Not all autism needs to be cured. Plenty of people with autism live fairly ordinary, productive lives. So if you are a parent or sibling of an autistic child, don't despair. Just be patient and see where it heads. If you find it too overwhelming or foreign to deal with alone, there are plenty of organizations in existence these days to assist you. Back in the 80's you were pretty much on your own.

Most people who know me don't even realize. They just think I'm quirky. Then again, most people who know me didn't realize I was deaf either, until I told them. Compensationari? Maybe.

P.S. Vaccinations will not give your babies autism. You don't catch autism like the flu. It's not contagious.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Strange Little Boy

There is this little boy who spends vast amounts of time by himself out in the courtyard in front of our apartment. All the other boys and girls are in school, but he is still to young to go. I have no idea where his parents are, I don't think I have ever actually met or even seen them.

One of our neighbors also keeps an outdoor cat named Lilith. I swear to you this is relevant to the story. She's a sweet, tiny little thing. Kind of starved for attention. Often times she will see Aaron or I outside and follow us around until we go back into the house, knowing we'll pet her and possibly give her a treat.

One such time, she was following me back from the car and the two of us crossed paths with the little boy who was sitting in the grass. "Is that your cat?" he asks.
"No, she's not my cat."
"Are you sure?"
I blink, "...Yes."
"She's lives right over there though," I point, "Her name is Lilith."
"One time I petted her."
"She is a nice cat."

We then sort of stared awkwardly at each other while the cat rubbed all over my legs in silence. After a minute of this, realizing no one is going to say another word, I turn and go inside. Lilith follows me and I can't help but wonder if the little boy now thinks I'm a liar. I don't turn around to check. I half expected to hear him say, "Are you my mummy?" by that point.

Aaron's encounter is even better.

Aaron has a large trench coat. He usually wears it to class when it is rainy. Last week we saw our first rain of the season here in California, so naturally he donned the trench coat to class. Since the sun is still out when he leaves this time of year, he was also wearing his sun glasses. I remarked as he was leaving the house, "You totally look like a bad ass." He chuckled and departed.

The little boy was out in the courtyard as he left. As they crossed paths the kid stares up at him in wide-eyed wonder and says, "Whoa. Doctor professor!" I imagine he said it like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, but I don't know for certain. Aaron wasn't sure how to respond in that moment, so he just marched on feeling even more like a bad ass and fulfilling the role of Doctor Professor. Whatever that even means.

Must be pretty rad to be both a doctor and a professor.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Oh, Mollie: How The Times Have Changed

Back when I was a child Crayola was a lot different. While there still existed a plethora of colors, the naming convention had not yet taken on a life of its own. Sure, some colors had creative names but it really hadn't gotten away from them yet. I can recall when Orange became Jack-o-lantern, for example. But gray was just Gray. There was a color bias, you see. The blander the color, the less likely it was to be called anything other than some variation of what it actually was. Brown was brown. Black was black. White was white. Light gray was simply Light Gray -- now it's something like, Baby Seal.

Baby Seal!
Which I guess is better than Gray 1, Gray 2, Gray 3 and so on, but still. So out of control has the naming of crayons become that sometimes I don't even know what color children are referring to when they're drawing anymore. It does however present the opportunity for a magical experience, if you close your eyes and simply try to imagine... "My rainbow is made of Fuzzy Wuzzy, Magic Potion, Laser Lemon, Inchworm, Robin's Egg, Lapis Lazuli, and Cyber Grape!"

Oh, really?

My favorite is obviously Laser Lemon.
Those are actual names of colors right now. Though with the addition of new colors, older colors have been renamed or retired. Prussian Blue is now Midnight Blue and Mulberry is gone the way of the Dodo bird. You probably don't know what that is, come to think of it. Or what that means, for that matter. The Dodo was a flightless bird. Not like a penguin though as it couldn't swim either, which is probably why it no longer exists. It looked something like this though:
I cannot fly or swim.
I also remember having to endlessly experiment with less than 80 colors (can you believe it?) to try to bring my imagination to life. Sadly, to my dismay, the colors I created were never repeatable because at that age there was no scientific process involved whatsoever. No measurements taken, no names written down for future reference. Now there are 133 colors! You don't even need to mix them anymore.You have no idea how good you have it.

I'm surprised they haven't just started naming them after Pokemon yet. Or maybe they have? Pikachu Yellow. Caterpie Green. Wobbuffet Blue? No? Maybe? Aw, c'mon.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why Is This Happening?

Is the speckled one their leader?
There are chickens. Perhaps alien? As chickens are not a native species around here, but they keep turning up. I think they may be waiting for a message because they are usually by the mailbox. I'm told perhaps I should ruffle their feathers seeking trinary data. There are three of them...

Hide & Seek

This morning Aaron went out into the living room to finish getting ready for class. I followed him out there, as without a hearing aid we can no longer have conversations from different rooms together. Not that that was ever particularly efficient anyway. When I got out there though, he was gone.

At first I thought he had left without saying goodbye and I made a face closely resembling this one: =( Then I noticed his bicycle and shoes were both still here. Sometimes he hops into a closet when I am not looking so that he can startle me when I least expect it. Even when I know it's coming, it still manages to startle me. Like some primitive part of my brain still insists that maybe it won't be Aaron but the monster that ate him. So I cautiously began inching towards the pantry in the kitchen.

Then I notice the cats. There is a small square between the sofa and the recliner where an end table should go, but we haven't gotten around to buying one yet. Instead we keep a duffel bag with video game consoles back there. And the cats are like this:

I drew and colored that in 2.5 minutes flat. Yes, there is really that big of a size discrepancy between our (fully grown) cats.

It very quickly became obvious that Aaron had jumped between the sofa and the recliner to spook me but the cats had completely decimated his cover. Rather than wander around aimlessly looking in closets I just started cracking up. I walked over and told him he had to come out so he could see the cats betraying him. So confused were they by his behavior that they were still staring at him strangely when he stood up and got out. Then it was off to class for real-reals with him.

I retreated into the computer room with a hot cup of chai and a bowl of oatmeal and decided that despite the temperature and the rain, I wanted to open the window. It smells very crisp and clean outside because of the chill in the air, but because of the chill in the air I'm also huddled under my robe clutching my tea for warmth. I guess in some circumstances you cannot have your cake and eat it too. I'll be damned if I'm not always going to try though.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rebel, Maow

In our household, I am in charge of the chores. You know, daily things such as washing the dishes or changing the litter box and weekly things such as doing the laundry, dusting, or sweeping. In trade, Aaron is solely in charge of the cooking. He's the better cook anyhow (understatement of the year right there). Once or twice a month, as needed, he will help me do a complete top-to-bottom cleaning of the apartment. All in all a fair arrangement, considering most of the meals he prepares for us are made from scratch. Not cheap frozen dinners or anything like that.

However, about once a month I become overwhelmed by these mundane daily tasks. The addition of even one more tedious activity on my to-do list causes a cascade effect and the end result is a revolt against tedium in the way of refusing to do ANYTHING. That's right. I do not simply decide not to do the chore which caused the rebellion in the first place, or even the other boring tasks which had lead up to this point. I completely stop functioning altogether. Dishes go unwashed. Art goes unfinished. Tea isn't brewed. If it were not for Aaron, dinner would go uneaten because I'd refuse to cook for myself.

Instead I sit on my laptop Googling random things and watching endless videos on youtube of cats doing funny things. Sometimes I even stray off topic and wind up watching hours worth of people doing funny things. Every once in a great while, so shut down am I, that I simply watch the same video, over and over and over again. Usually Shatner of The Mount. Maybe it's William Shatner himself, or perhaps it's the idea of Captain Kirk climbing a mountain which just grips my brain and won't let go. I don't know. It's like some sort of mental vortex I can't escape from.

Shut up. Stop judging me!

But not all hope is lost on me. Occasionally I manage to snap out of it and bring myself to do something requiring more brain power. Such as draw something random. Like so:

It's a cat!
But I can't even be arsed to actually scan it for you. Or draw it on good paper for that matter. Instead it is haphazardly drawn on a piece of 5"x3" lined paper and I took a picture of it with my cell phone.

You're lucky I drew anything for you at all. I was just going to watch Shatner talk about teeny tiny toes for the 100th time. I'm going against the grain this month, though, you see? I reached that point where normally I rebel but rather than completely shut down, I forced myself to do the dishes anyhow. Only now no one is home and I feel like I deserve a reward. I can't simply reward myself, that doesn't count for anything. So now I sit here staring at the publish button feeling like I somehow got cheated.

I require cupcakes, or muffins, or something equally satisfying to devour. SATE ME!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Can't Help Myself.

Am I alone in being completely incapable of not piling random objects on top of sleeping cats? I don't see how anyone could not take advantage of such a situation. It's like that same small part in all of us that compelled you to write on the first kid to fall asleep at the slumber party has survived in me.
7 bottle caps is too many...
But 6 is just fine.

The belt to Aaron's robe, now drizzle!

Is this not okay? He's fine.

To be fair, he started it.

Particularly when you have a cat like mine, that constantly stomps all over everything and decides to sleep on top of it like a fatty fat fat. Whether they're comfortable items or not (keyboard, shoes, weights, dishes). If it is okay for him to sleep on my things, then it must therefor be okay for my things to sit on top of him while he sleeps. That's how it works. Right?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

You Drink It Too

When I was little my teacher, who was by all accounts a staunch conservationist (otherwise known as a hippie), decided to inform us all at the ripe age of nine that the Earth has a limited supply of water. That the water we drink today has been the same water being recycled by Nature, over and over again since the beginning of the world.

Many of the other children could not seem to fathom this prospect. There was water in the toilet, water in the sink, water in the bath tub, water in our pools, and water constantly falling out of the sky. In fact, the state in which we lived was surrounded by water on three sides! How could it be a limited resource?

I too was kind of in disbelief even though I knew much more about the world than many of my peers at this age. My response initially was, "But the Earth has more water than land!" Not comprehending that he was referring to fresh water and that salt water didn't count. Once he clarified that, it made a lot more sense. To me anyway. The other kids still seemed thoroughly unconvinced and/or totally confused. That's when it dawned on me: if all of what we were being told was true, that meant that dinosaurs had PEED in our water!

Unable to contain this news, feeling it very important and something that all of my classmates should know before they continue blindly drinking dinosaur urine, I blurted it out. The class fell completely silent for several seconds before, in unison, thirty children screamed, "EW GROSS!" Our teacher stood at the head of class dumbfounded, totally incapable of reigning in our disgust. The look on his face hinted that perhaps this was something that he himself had never considered.

Just as we had all sworn never again to drink the vile liquid, he doomed us to a life of dino-pee, "You have to drink water or you will die." I'm sure that many parents filed complaints that day. Both because their children were now refusing to drink any water and because their nine year old children were suddenly questioning their mortality.

I'm not sure where I was headed with this, other than I was concerned about the planet's limited water supply for all of the wrong reasons.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It Is Finally Over

September started with a cold then continued right on being crappy as predicted. A number of minor inconveniences and problems stacked on top of three much larger tragedies starting about mid month, which lured me into a false sense of comfort. Silly me.

The first being a friend of mine's father being sick. Not like ate too many pies in one sitting sick. Cancer sick. I've been through this with one of my own parents, in a September no less, and know just how world-shattering and helpless it can make you feel. You wait endlessly on the edge of your seat surviving solely on the hope of good news. I hope they get it. My friend is a great person and if I've learned anything about great people it's that they've got great parents. I'm wholly convinced that being awesome is a genetic trait, not an acquired one.

The second tragedy was more bad news from Ohio. This time my own parent. While working, my mother fell from a beam thirteen feet or so onto her back, damaging her spine. She was rushed to the hospital because she was unable to feel her legs. She managed not to break any vertebrae and after some many hours the feeling returned to her lower extremities which was an enormous relief, but there was still substantial damage. Hopefully nothing permanent. Right now they are taking it one week at a time...

The last was the destruction of my hearing aid, as accounted in the previous entry. Leaving me once again completely deaf. The icing on the proverbial cake, if you will. Luckily I have a lot of supportive friends and family members so the devastation has been lessened a good deal simply by their existence.

In that vein, the lack of closed captioning on Netflix is a little surprising. It is sporadic at best. Some shows are not closed captioned at all. Others are closed captioned at times and not closed captioned at others. Take Torchwood for example, it's not closed captioned until nine episodes in. Why? I don't know. Netflix likes to mess with you, I guess.

Then, just to remind me that September would be back next year, my cat exploded into poop. The litter box is in the restroom, which was occupied at the time by someone else. A human, meaning the door was shut. Which meant Neelix could not get in. He sat patiently outside the door, like he normally does, waiting his turn. Therefor I really thought nothing of it. I had completely forgotten that earlier in the day he had insisted on devouring an entire Lily leaf despite all of my attempts to stop him.

Knock, knock. I have to poop.
So when he wandered into the office and starting making terribly screaming sounds that even I could hear, I immediately knew something bad was happening. I turned around and he was kind of hunched near Aaron's desk looking pitiful. I thought, "Aw, he must really have to go!" I figured I would just gently usher him towards the bathroom and open the door, apologizing to the occupant on behalf of the cat's need to get in. We did not make it more than two feet before the cat cried out again, turned twenty degrees with his back end pointed away from me, and EXPLODED into diarrhea. Right on the floor. Keep in mind my cat craps like a man under normal circumstances and, yeah, pretty shitty situation (pun completely intended).

As if that were not bad enough, we had company coming over in less than thirty minutes. I had to forgo taking a nice relaxing shower to instead clean up feces. Yaaaay. Thinking back, I should have saved, "the icing on the cake" for this event. Oh well.

Screw you, September.