Monday musings

Today has been a fun blend of good and bad, but I can’t really complain at this point since the good presently outweighs the bad. My trip to the dermatologist was relatively uneventful, but I have to get another mole removed so as to avoid continuing the somewhat time-honored tradition of potential skin cancer developing. Some inspiration may have struck, but now that I’m thinking it through I’m a bit iffy (the novel writing will, sadly, wait until tomorrow). In light of feeling like my skull has been used as a volleyball today (Yes, I know I spend a lot of time with headaches. It’s the blessing of having molars that extend into my sinuses.), here’s some of today’s thoughts, events, and creative (or not-so-creative) ideas.

  • Fudge Brownie ice from Rita’s Italian Ice tastes how I imagine Tootsie Rolls would taste if you melted them down, then froze them. I’m not saying this is a bad thing so much as a bit of an odd taste experience.
  • I was told to switch to Dove body wash today, as Old Spice is apparently drying out my skin. My dermatologist said Old Spice body wash is more about the perfume, which explains why I’ve been such a manly-stinking lizard of gross, shedding skin lately. She clarified that there is Dove for Men, and seemed puzzled when I responded by saying I just want something that doesn’t make me dry like the desert.
  • My Of Monsters And Men concert shirt has emerged from its hiding place! I apparently left it in Carnegie forever ago. It still fits, which means I’ve not gotten too much fatter since seeing OMAM in concert. Small victories, people.
  • The go-to response to seeing my tattoo is some variation of “I didn’t think you were a tattoo kind of guy”, followed by asking me if I really thought it through. I don’t take offense to this, however, as nothing comes close to having someone ask me if anyone has ever asked if they can lick my tattoo. No, by the way. No one has. I’d like to keep it that way, thanks.
  • I have a pretty good idea as to where I want to go with the next chapter of A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders, but I’m actually still on the fence. It’d be another sort of intermission chapter, building some much-needed humor back into the narrative, but…Actually, now that I think about it there are more pros than cons. No spoilers!
  • Mango Habanero chicken wings are my favorite kind of chicken wings, but no one does them nearly as well as Buffalo Wild Wings. Perfect balance of heat and sweet (I didn’t set out to make that rhyme, but I also had to take a good bit of ibuprofen to make my head stop hurting…so I’ll blame the headache).
  • Carnegie will always act as a second home to me, if only because living near Pittsburgh has spoiled me. Do I want to go out to eat? Plenty of choices. Movies? What theater should I go to? Or maybe I should buy tickets to a play or musical (or sporting event or concert and so on and so on)? That said, I still think most Pittsburgh drivers, especially everyone else on the Parkway, are completely insane. To be fair, those people probably call me insane (as well as other, more profane things).
  • I really want to get my next tattoo, but I also have to pretend I am a responsible adult who can manage his money without immediately leaping at shiny things. The reality is that I’m a magpie, and I need shiny things. Womp womp.

At any rate, I should be winding down for the night so as to make sure I get enough sleep for tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment/mole removal. I hope that you all, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, are having a relatively pleasant start to the week.

Taking a moment to give thanks

I could go on for hours, easily, about how much I cannot stand the abrupt transition from Halloween to Christmas.  It’s partially a selfish thing, as my birthday falls around Thanksgiving (and yes, occasionally, on Thanksgiving).  Black Friday, shopping at all hours, and getting every new gadget and whatsit on the market before everyone else has become such an important thing, and something about that has come to bother me to such a degree that even just typing about it twists my stomach up a bit.  Yes, this is coming from someone who had waited in line in hopes of getting a Nintento Wii years back.

Moving along.  I’ve done my fair share of bitching and moaning this year.  It has certainly been a year of stress and loss, and I have had days when all I wanted to do was cover the windows to get that dark-as-midnight kind of darkness in my room, pull the covers around me nice and tight, and not deal with anything.  I am still grieving over losing Missy earlier this summer, and now I’ve got to deal with Mackenzie, one of my family’s other dogs, passing away recently.

I mention these things because I have so much to be thankful for.  This might get to sounding a little preachy at times.  Not intentionally, of course, but this veers away from my usual writing to a point where it might do things it wasn’t meant to.

As I was saying, I have so much to be thankful for.  Not just the good things in my life, mind you, but the bad ones as well.  Without the bad things, I could perhaps lose sight of just how good the good things in my life really are, and that would be a real shame I think.

I am thankful for having such a strong support system; for a family that supports me through everything, even though I can be a bit much to deal with at times with the snark and sarcasm.  I am equally thankful for Brianne’s family (and, of course, Brianne as well) being so good to me, since living two hours away from everything I knew all my life can be a bit terrifying at times.  I am thankful for my two cats and my dog back home with my family, even though I am still so lost without Missy and Mackenzie (who were, beyond any doubt, two of the greatest dogs in the history of all existence as far as I am concerned).

I am thankful for my friends who are always there for me, when I’m at my best or when I’m at my worst, because they’re the people I know I can always count on.  I’m just as thankful for my friends who haven’t always been there for me, because they’ve reminded me of the importance of being able to stand on my own at times.  Life beyond college has proved to be such a tricky beast, and the things it has shown me about people have been rather eye-opening.

I am thankful for the job I have, and the pay and benefits it provides me with, because it has made it possible for me to move out and start to work on becoming a proper, responsible adult (I mean, as responsible as I can possibly be).  I’m truly thankful for the people I met because of this job, or gotten to know better because of it, because they’re all right in their own rights.  I’m also thankful for the hardships it has put me through, because I’m still here after dealing with them.  Even if a lot of the work-stress has been caused by avoidable situations.

The list could go on and on, really.  Just remember, whether you’re gunning for a new XBOX One, a tremendous flatscreen that would look perfect in your man-cave, or whatever, to take a moment–at the very least, a moment–to be thankful.  If I’ve learned nothing else from this past year, it’s how life is far too short, and so many things that seem like they will be there forever tend to go away much, much too soon.

More importantly, I’d like to wish an early, but very happy, healthy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in the vastness of the Internet.  I hope you all have time to stuff yourselves with delicious food, and spend quality time with family.

Don’t drink the water (and other recent events)

I’m doing that thing again where I try too hard to compel myself to write, only to become frustrated with the efforts I make.  I end up shutting down as a result.  This revelation brought to you by the on-again, off-again functionality of my left Shift key, which has seen more than its fair share of use in college writing.  Good old Satellite 5 (why yes, my computer is named in reference to something from Doctor Who).  More on the writing stuff in a couple of paragraphs.  A pair o’ paragraphs?  A herd of the written word?  I’m not sorry, but I’ll stop.  For now.

This has been a strange month, with more parts frustrating than good.  The sighs of relief were, by and large, outnumbered by the groans of frustration, and I have taken so many trips to my Happy Place (to those of you in the know: no, it does not involve a place where I go to set fire to my enemies, thank you very much) I’ve taken up dual citizenship.  My car was deemed totaled, and then through the good graces and unending kindness of my parents it was replaced (I got their car, they got a new car, and everyone but the environment won out I suppose).  There were two instances in which I was double-charged in a way that left my bank account missing at least $200.  Not many people I know are all right with that kind of money just floating about in Limbo, and I am not such a person.  Those problems were, in time, reversed.  Most importantly, or at least I’d like to think, I’ve taken the pile of good things and bad things this month has provided me with and understood that the bad things didn’t make the good ones any less good, and the good didn’t make the bad any less significant.  More Doctor Who references.

My household also welcomed a second kitten, now named Meowiarty.  He’s an extremely affectionate little kitty who moves with the speed of lightning and all the grace of someone who is about ten beers past their limit (read as: lots of magical moments featuring little M headbutting walls).  I mention his speed, specifically, because his ability to suddenly be places he hadn’t been moments before resulted in nearly getting shut in the fridge today.  He is also co-authoring this post, sporadically running across the keyboard.  That’s totally where the typos are coming from.  Not me at all.  Probably.
Speaking of authoring and co-authoring and writing and so on (I’m being lazy with transitions; just go with it, people), my good friend, all-around entertaining guy, horror movie enthusiast, and author of “Beauties in the Deep”, Zachary T. Owen, has asked me to contribute something to what I think is still a super-secret project.  I mean, in hindsight I could’ve always asked him how secret this is, but this is mostly a chance to point out how it’s close to Halloween.  There’s no better treat to give, to others or yourself, than a copy of “Beauties in the Deep”.

Unless you give it to someone who is easily frightened, in which case it’s the perfect trick to play.  Win-win situation, I think. The plan, as of now, is to at least have one short spooky story, minus the alliteration, posted as a Halloween treat.  Or, in the event I don’t deliver, I can always say it was a trick.  Joking.  Only joking.  I can think of a handful of people who wouldn’t let me live such antics down.

Funny enough: I almost forgot to include any explanation for the title, which was part of why this post is happening to begin with.  Drawing upon my half-hearted reporting skills I learned from one semester of hating my life-choices at Point Park University, I will take a moment to relay recent Hollidaysburg news.  Some asshole left what is being called a “vague threat” (note: the quotation marks are crucial, as they appear in most mentions of this “threat”), and so I’ve been advised against using tap water all weekend long.  Something about bomb threats in Hollidaysburg, too, but I feel like any explosions would have to be cleared as historically appropriate so as to not affect Hollidaysburg’s overall historical aesthetic.

It’s about time I wrapped up this collection of comments, or perhaps these meandering musings, since I’ve got to go back to what amounts to herding cats before a vet appointment.

On Friendship: Sunshine and Rainbows need not apply

The various joys and stresses of adult-life, coupled with the transition from “hooray, college shenanigans” to “holy shit, I have to pay how much to how many people each month?” have brought some interesting revelations, if you will, with them.  This is actually one of those things I’ve observed for a while, but couldn’t quite put to words until recently, thanks to the boredom of standing behind a desk while the whole of Pennsylvania decided they didn’t feel like buying lottery tickets one evening.  Bare with me, now.  Some might find this a bit cynical, and by a bit I mean so blatantly cynical it’s almost impossible to miss the name tag this commentary wears (featuring the words “Hello, my name is HORRIBLY CYNICAL OUTLOOK ON BASIC HUMAN INTERACTIONS”).  Allow me to pose a question that I, at least, find interesting to consider.

Have you ever been involved in a relationship–and by relationship I mean anywhere from the most basic friendship to the most intimate relationship with another person–that lasted so long it started feeling less like you were in it for the meaningful interactions, the shared interests, and so on, and more because it was like, say, a hostage situation?  A socially-constructed Stockholm syndrome of sorts, perhaps.

I feel like it’s safe to admit, at least quietly to yourself so as to not end up on the receiving end of a punch to the throat, most people have at least one person in their life who they used to share a strong connection with, but is now only kept around out of some sort of perceived obligation.  Gosh, I knew so-and-so from back in middle school, and he/she was usually a pretty good friend and it would be a shame to cut them loose.  Right?

Maybe this is just me thinking about how the post-college life has such a noticeable, and interesting, impact on everything.  Contrary to everything watching House, M.D. has taught me, people do in fact change.  At the very least, they tend to show their “true colors” (a turn of phrase I always want to take literally, usually in the form of applying a paint roller to someone’s face) once various life situations change.  Careers happen.  Marriage happens.  Unexpected babies happen.  The list is pretty exhaustive, and I could hand the writing of this post over to all of the causality and crazy possibilities the Universe has to offer, but I imagine that would leave this entry unfinished for some time as the Universe has other things to do.  Like lob great, big space rocks at us.  Sorry, Russia; too soon?  And I digress.

I’ve noticed how people seem to drift apart naturally, or forcibly, and it’s a weird notion to come to terms with after everybody spent all of high school scrambling to acquire as many friends as possible, as though it were a live action version of Pokemon (and comparisons like this should be rather telling about how sparsely completed my FriendDex was by senior year).

Then again, I’ve also long-since come to terms with the understanding of how people who matter most in my life tend to stick around, threatening to keep talking to me until the day one of us dies.  Or both, if there are any joint-suicide pacts I’ve forgotten about over the years (fingers crossed I haven’t, because I’m not really the “let’s drink the Kool-Aid type of guy”).  And then some people fade out, whether it be a slow and subtle goodbye I hadn’t expected, or like the ending of a bad sitcom that just needed to go away.

But that takes this back to those odd friendships that exist in a sort of Limbo between those two extremes.  The ones that feel like they exhausted themselves, but keep on going.

Maybe this is just one of ‘those things’ I’m not supposed to fully understand, like basic algebra or what purpose the design of the Pope’s hat serves.