Friday, April 18, 2014

Leo Descending

I remember the first day I met Leo.  Kelly talked like a young man in love, only without sex, and about a dog.  Kelly had taken to rescuing animals, and he met a special guy one day quite by accident, if you hear him tell the story.  He almost didn't see him in his cage at the pound, but then Leo came out of the shadows and nudged his forehead against Kelly's.  That's all it took.

I remember the first day I met Leo because of how Coby reacted.  Coby had taken  to lounging in his cat bed in the living room, pretty much only getting up to use the bathroom or eat, so that's where he was sitting when Kelly brought Leo over for the first time.

Coby, a shock-white medium-long hair kitty, basically had never interacted with other animals, especially after my parents de-clawed him.  He did not often go outside because of this (and when he did, he no longer climbed trees and got stuck).  And even though he was still a good mouser, he did not know other animals.

It was a winter day when Leo came bounding into our living room.  To be honest, the way Coby hunched up and fluffed his fur, I and my brother imagined that he might start explosively shitting diarrhea on the wall behind him.

Leo, having grown up his short life in a pound, did not have a hatred of cats, like some dogs do.  He went over to say hi, by sniffing Coby's asshole, which was not met with the graciousness you would expect from such royalty as the King of This House, Coby the White.  Downton Abbey this was not.

From that, Leo actually grew to be part of the family.  We all adore him.  Mom refers to herself as Leo's "Mam'maw," the name we called my only grandparent.  She dotes on him, especially since Dad's passing.  And she seems so much happier.  Not that she wished Dad would pass on... she always comments that she misses him... but he definitely was a handful.

Anyway.  So Leo disappeared yesterday.


Me, I had a miniature panic attack about this.  My last trip home ended with me making a begrudging truce with Leo, because THE FUKKER BARKED FOR TWO HOURS STRAIGHT AT A ROOSTER FROM THE TRAILER PARK, and everything I just typed is true.  And it kept me awake when I really needed sleep.  So I left home being a little angry at Leo for interrupting my sleep, and then he disappeared.

Marley, I think is the name, of the bad-influence dog that has been hanging around with Leo.  He's the one who probably tempted him off of Kelly's property, because Marley has no boundaries.  His owners let their dogs on what I am assuming is their farm just have free reign of the place, and all of them can take off whenever they want.  Indeed, Kelly's house is at least a couple of miles away, so how he even found it is a mystery.  But he is bad juju:  he might as well be teaching Leo to smoke.


We did find Leo, finally.  Thinking that Leo might be lost was weighing on me heavily.  Honestly, sometimes that's why I want to visit home, to see Leo.  He was laying in a field with Marley when Kelly finally found him, and I am relieved.  I remember a time when dogs and cats were like popcorn growing up...just that common.  One gets run over?  We'll replace it eventually.

Leo can't be replaced.  Some things in your life can't be replaced, at least not for everybody.  Some people have no problem letting go.  I do.  I am glad Leo will be there next time I visit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Words with friends

Usually I start out a post with a red herring, which is to say, something unrelated to the topic and then halfway through talking about that I pull the rug out and do the gotcha, showing that it is totally related and the reader is stupid for not realizing this.  This is not an uncommon method of writing, and it can be pretty effective if utilized correctly.  Kind of like when you drop from a monologue to a single sentence to make a point.

Because anything isolated is stronger.

See?  That makes no sense but it works.  So does the red herring opening.  Get the reader invested in one topic, then throw the monkey wrench in and get to your real point.  The effect this causes is to catch the reader off-guard, because then it's easier to make him question beliefs he or she may have held, and sway them to your side, or at least get them to acknowledge that there is in fact another side that they haven't considered.

I only mention this now because I could not think of a good red herring to open this post with, since I didn't have a central theme to it, and perhaps explaining the red herring introduction would make the rest of my post more interesting.

It probably won't.

(Did you see what I did just then?)

I saw an Instagram that referenced a very obscure, well for me anyway, song that I heard after a series of unfortunate events a couple of years ago, which strangely resulted from attempting to retrieve my Wonderfalls DVDs from my brother.  Wonderfalls is one of my favorite shows of all time, not only because it introduced me to the incredible Tracie Thoms (the lady version of Samuel L. Jackson motherfucker) but also because the fans made me feel like part of something bigger.  When Fox said they'd release the whole series on DVD, we rejoiced, as if we'd won something... the truth is, Fox had already finished producing most of the series, so why not finish the last two eps and try to make some money with a DVD release.  And they did.

A song from the show spoke to me.  I researched the song and found it on another TV show's soundtrack.  Listened to that soundtrack, found a song by another artist I liked, researched them, and that's what the Instagram photo was referencing.  Convoluted but true.

I guess I've lost the weight, somehow, that I'd put back on (fifteen pounds?  maybe twenty) because my left leg is no longer fluffing up during the day.  My left shoe no longer hurts.  I guess I haven't been eating properly, but I can't blame that on anti-depressants now.

I'd read that near-beer, which is made with hops, is a good natural sedative.  I've tried having a couple before bed... just made me get up and pee in the middle of the night.  BAH.

Something I've wanted to harp on is confirmation bias.  This is what allows Fox News viewers to believe the nonsense shit that network broadcasts... because they already believe it, but now that somebody else is saying it out loud, well it must be true!  It also allows somebody to believe an obvious falsehood if the false thing means they're not to blame.  Hey, sorry your school district's funds got rescinded, but I can't vote in your county's elections, although the Senator I sent to Congress is the one who took those funds away, but hey, not my fault.

It's easy to say that only one side of an argument is wrong and only one is right.  But that's rarely true.  Everybody has confirmation bias, but most of us tend to ignore it when we're the ones perpetrating it. 

Ah.  I was going to make a bigger point but it's time to shower and go to work.  I wonder how the chicken is doing in Stanton.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

LEVEL 15 - I Will Always Love You

So I'm quite digging Titanfall, even if I'm not that great at it.  It reminds me of the frantic early days of Quake, only you get to also play as a robotic Shambler (Titan) as well as a grunt (pilot).  I got home early this morning, took out the trash, did the few dishes I'd let soak, started laundry, and finally joined and finished the second campaign, almost dinging level 16 in the process.  For me, that was enough progress.  Perhaps I'm just old now, but spending all night on Xbox (at least, gaming) is not for me anymore.  Although I do have an annoying Cyril-like tendency to shout "SUPPRESSING FI-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-RE" during games, getting one or two levels is pretty much all I need before moving on to something else.

On the health side... things are mostly good.  Things not mostly good:  Apparently there is a tipping point, around 320 pounds, where somebody with low circulation in their legs begins to get "plumping" again, because after going off my anti-depressants I've put on some weight again, just enough to push me back into the low-circulation club again, which makes my left foot swell to the point of pain in my Chucks at the end of the day.  Not as bad as gout, but it still hurts, until I get home and take my shoes off.

There's also contact psoriasis, or eczema... not sure which.  It's never really been a big enough problem until recently, because I could hide it (like most sufferers do).  It's spreading to the point where I want to nip it in the bud, because I remember Larry having it and it infesting a large portion of his body, and the cure (one of them) involves steroids, and I've never been on steroids, but I don't wanna be.

Saw Muppets Most Wanted yesterday with Kelly.  It was very good.  The guy from Flight of the Conchords of course did another awesome job with the songs, but there was no "Pictures In My Head" song, which I guess I should be grateful for, because I suspect I'd still lose it.

Speaking of.  Looking for something on Keith's Roku to watch last night, I saw that Amazon Prime had CC's Drunk History up for streaming, and of course I went straight for the Dolly Parton episode with the backstory between her and Porter Wagoner and the real behind the scenes story about the song "I Will Always Love You."  So many younger people have no idea about it, what it really meant when it first came out.  If you have Amazon Prime, you owe it to yourself to watch the whole story.  I mean, fuck, Porter, chill out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Forever evil?

I find that one of the reasons I'm being turned off of comics once again is one of the basic conceits of the medium, and often of fiction writing in general, is that there is good and there is evil and very few grey areas.  This has always bothered me.   I see these types all the time and it bothers me because nobody is really like that, unless they are unhinged in the head.  There is no Snydely Whiplash twirling his comically long and evil mustache and imagining the nefarious plans he has in store for that Dudley Do-Right. 

Likewise, I do not believe in the concept of a being who lives for only doing good, aside from people like Mother Theresa, whom I'm sure had other flaws, but one may have been, was she doing all these good deeds because of a kindness in her heart, or in an attempt to gain eternal access to heaven?  This is, of course, a needlessly cynical thought, but it is not an evil one.  It does question what her motivation was, because, let's face it, more people would do what she did in her work with the poor and sick if good was real.

It all comes down to the shades of grey.  I can't believe that Lex Luthor is evil per se.  Selfish?  Definitely.  Devious?  Yes.  But doing evil for evil's sake just doesn't make sense to me. 

Let's put it this way:  even when I was at the lowest in my bouts of depression, I truly wanted to be a good person.  I just didn't feel that inside of me.  I'd do things for friends and loved ones, not because I wanted to, but because that's what a good person would do.  But I was also na├»ve.  I believed that doing good things like that always led to good results, but that's not always the case.  What if you do something good for somebody and they don't notice or acknowledge it?  It can stain your perceptions, and one thing I can tell you about harboring negative emotions is that they breed like rabbits.  Furry, pus-dripping rabbits leaving little pellets of negativity all over your nice carpet.

Everybody has a dark place inside them.  How it materializes is always different.  I have a friend who I'd write about right now who continues to be a perfect example of this, at times a walking contradiction of opinions and actions, but to write more would be telling a little much.  But I don't think he's evil. Like me, he overthinks things, which can lead to the wrong choices.  Enough wrong choices can snowball, to the point where you're at the top of the hill and all below you has been run over.

That's what I think real good and real evil are.  Just conflagrations of different perceptions.  This person wouldn't sacrifice that act for me so I will treat her with animosity.  That person didn't see how much such-and-such behavior bugged me, so he needs to be cut out of my life.  Both of these could be confused for evil.  But in the same way, so could I'm gonna take this friend I have in life to a concert I know he'll enjoy and he'll notice my sacrifice because I really don't like this group, stuff like that.

Basically, unless you're a telepath and can read minds, I don't believe in evil or good.  There are shades in the spectrum but not absolutes.  That's why the reveal of Alexander Luthor being Mazahs! (Evil Shazam I guess since it's backwards) just made me reach for the last issue of Saga and wonder when it was going to be on shelves again.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Orphan Green

Only on the sixth ep of Orphan Black right now, ho-hum, Paul's beating up Vic in the garage and nail gunning him in his poor little hand... nothing special here...
 Nothing remotely gay in this scene at all.

Wait, what's that in the background?...


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Stroke

Today, the first time in a while, I nearly died due to my own incompetence.

By "nearly died" I mean there could have been a good chance of me snapping my neck because I wasn't concentrating on where the left side of my body parts were.  This is called "kinesthesia."  From online:
  •  Kinesthesia is the precise awareness of muscle and joint movement that allows us to coordinate our muscles when we walk, talk, and use our hands. It is the sense of kinesthesia that enables us to touch the tip of our nose with our eyes closed or to know which part of the body we should scratch when we itch.

So basically, I've lost my sense if kinesthesia, part of my ability to coordinate my movements without being completely focused on them, at least on the right side of my body.  Which is why I now brake while driving with my left foot as opposed to my right, since there's a good chance that if I use my right foot, I may brake too hard, or mis-place my foot when moving it back to the gas pedal.  After lots of practice, it has become background noise to me.  I know I'm constantly focusing, but it becomes habit.  I no longer worry about keeping a glass of liquid on the right side of me, because I know it's there constantly.  You normally forget these things in day-to-day, they become automatic, which is different from habit.

Basically I recently upgraded my meds bag to a Bag of Holding from ThinkGeek, so that I could start taking my laptop on road trips.  The box for it was big, and I left it standing in front of my bookshelf of geekdom.  Sometime today it fell over, and, as I juggled everything I was carrying in from work this afternoon, I tripped on it.  I began stumbling, too stupid to drop my items but also very cognizant that my fucking geek shelf was to the right of me and my incredible HDTV was to the left.  Rather than take a chance on either of those, I gambled with my own life, tripping eventually to the floor ahead of me and landing on my keys GODDAMN.

I could have died though.  Anyway, time for spaghetti and Kroger meatballs.  They are yum.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Dream of Flying pt. 3

One thing that I hate about trying to be sober, as I fight to do every day, is what goes on in my head when I'm unconscious.  I'm Spider-Man.  That is to say, I'm still me, only with Spidey's powers/abilities and without the silly suit, which really wouldn't do me any favors anyway.

These dreams happen frequently, and I have no idea why.  They usually involve me trying to save family members while villains attack, which makes sense I guess.  I always fail, or, more pointedly, I never succeed before waking up.  

Still, those dreams are preferable to the ones where I am driving up Mt. Vernon and go through the guardrails, only to land, with apparently super-shock absorbers, unharmed.  And yes, that used to be a thing.

The other night I had a dream that involved my current car White Betty, although I was still in DC for some reason, and villains were after my family and I had to save them and also buy comics because I was at the mall that had the comic shop I used to buy from.  HULK TAKE SHIT!

So Miracleman.

The end of the Kid Miracleman/MM initial fight (oops spoilers), and it is just as effective as it was when it was first printed and reprinted.  This includes the after story, where Mike goes off with his wife to some glen to test his powers and find out what all he can do; Evelyn Creme and his sapphire teeth (which I guess is now called a grill?  Grille?), and Project Zarathustra.

Basically this marks the first two thirds of Alan Moore's MM story, before handing the "poisoned chalice" to Neil Gaiman, who will finally get to finish his story.  And then Miracleman can finally join the Marvel U proper and we can dispense of all this Hyperion nonsense.  

Also I'm giving up on Jonathan Hickman's AVENGERS title, so right now the only things keeping me in comics are Miracleman and SAGA.