A gradual journey to a new normalcy

Some of you folks may be wondering where the Hell I’ve been. May was, of course, my month-long hiatus from Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress, and it was definitely a learning experience. And then I didn’t blog for the entire month of June, which was a bit less intentional. Plenty of events transpired between the last post and this one; the world continued turning, people kept writing, and life went on (and I have so much to catch up on in my subscriptions that it actually gives me a headache thinking about it).

This post will be about the good, the bad, and the ugly, but not necessarily in that order. Don’t worry, though. A lot of this will be shortened up for everyone’s sake. Plus, really, the good outweighs the bad. It’s a lot more enjoyable to read the good stuff.

Continue reading

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.

And so my vacation countdown begins

Yes, I know I sort of started said countdown already, but the official marker of “I’m almost on vacation” is really that I have one workweek between me and freedom. It’s not even a vacation about the destination so much as it is just not being at work for a week (and a few extra days), as I have reached a level of fried that is typically reserved for batter-smothered Oreo cookies and overheated hard drives. Sadly, I’m really proud of that joke because it came to me naturally despite my brain being all liquefied and so on. I’m constantly somewhere between high-strung and ready to pass out, which probably isn’t particularly healthy.

Thinking forward to vacation and bypassing this upcoming week, however, has also created something of a conundrum. In the same way many people yearn for the next weekend, I’m wishing away much of next week (including the drive to Pittsburgh next Thursday, which is further complicated by the Carnegie on and off ramps being closed on the Parkway; thanks for that, PennDOT) for the sake of next week, which could be excellent or terrible. It’s still just potential. I mean, I know seeing my family for the first time since Christmas will be fantastic and all, but there’s no guarantee the other bits of my vacation will have been worth this wishful bit of time traveling. That’s one whole week of time, complete with possible and probable good experiences, that I’m attempting to will out of existence. That, too, is probably not very healthy. There’s a lot to be said on the way many people live for two days of the week and exist the other five in hopes of making it to those two previously mentioned ones. On a related note, I’m beyond ready for my next tattoo…so that’s probably a strong indication that an addiction is a-brewin’.

Defending my wishes to bypass next week, and all of the hideous responsibilities it threatens, are the following: Jason, my brother-paladin, and Chrisy, my New Yorker sister who has accomplished far more than I ever will, are going to be home when I am. I will also get a chance to see my grandma, possibly my father, and some other relatives, so that, too, is wonderful. There will be much reading and writing in the later hours of downtime. At some point, I need to make stuffed french toast because cooking for people is loads of fun. I can’t, therefore, be completely damned for looking forward to these wonderful times, even if the bulk of my actual vacation will be spent cleaning up my apartment because there’s still shit in boxes from the move.

Ultimately, I’m going to get through the bad parts of this upcoming week by reminding myself of how much fun I’ll have with my family (and thinking about the impending Comedy = Tragedy + Time tattoo). I also vow to enjoy the good next week brings, no matter how limited it may be. Makes for a bit of a win-win situation until I’m on vacation, I think.

 

Post-Thanksgiving, post-hiatus…er, post

It certainly feels like it’s been ages since my last post, which makes sense since I dropped off of the planet (from a blogging and social media standpoint, at least) after the hundred days of blogging finished up. Thanksgiving reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for, and Black Friday reminded me that people are absolutely, completely, and irredeemably insane at times (but not all of them, so at least there’s that). I somehow, to the surprise of quite a few people, lived through another trip around the sun. I’m now a year closer to thirty, which feels a bit odd to say because my childhood goal-mapping said by this point I would either be a sagely old man dispensing wisdom or an all-powerful overlord of all creation, but I appear to be neither. Maybe that’s for later in the year. Continue reading

Playing catch-up

Yesterday was filled with adventure and happiness in the company of some very exceptional people I have the good fortune of knowing as well as equally exceptional people I met for the first time. It was, and likely will always be, the first and only wedding I’ve ever attended in a cave. It was entirely worth the sleep deprivation I experienced as I stumbled through the day. Not going to get too sentimental here; I promise.

This past week has been an interesting one of returning to things I’d neglected and catching up with them. I’m a little embarrassed to admit none of those things were particularly productive in nature, save for the car-related ones.

Bravely Default
A 3DS game made by the same minds that have fueled years of Final Fantasy, Bravely Default is an interesting reworking of the standard JRPG. The new tricks to the battle system, allowing players to bank extra actions for future turns with Default and spending extra actions at a cost with Brave, make for a fun new approach to something as old as the first consoles. I started playing again on a whim and immediately felt pulled back into the fun. I’ve already managed to kill a couple bosses, although I may have used some cheap tactics. No guides, though.

Hannibal
I watched the first episodes of Hannibal as they aired, eager to see how this would play into the overall grander plot set by the movies. Admittedly, I wasn’t entirely in love with the excessive gore (or the way everyone seems oblivious to THE PARTICULARLY CREEPY PERSON WHO MAKES JOKES ALLUDING TO CANNIBALISM). For some reason or another, I fell behind on watching the episodes as they aired and eventually gave up. At some point or another, I bought season one on DVD. Probably well into season two. Brianne and I watched a couple episodes, but it fell by the wayside again…until this last week, when we burned through the nine episodes we had left. I appreciate the cleverness to this show, especially with how the writers built up the inter-character relationships. However, it feels almost cartoonishly silly how no one seems to suspect Hannibal as the Chesapeake Ripper. That aside: the casting for Dr. Chilton was flawless.

I’m approaching this week still not having counted my posts, still missing my wireless mouse for my desktop, and eagerly anticipating the upcoming patch to World of Warcraft. At some point I have to take a mini-vacation, as these boxes haven’t bothered unpacking themselves.

And so here’s to a pleasant, easy-going week for all.

Pumpkin spice season has (almost) arrived

At some point or another, September apparently showed up. Or every single calendar I’ve encountered since Sunday has been telling me horrible, cruel lies. I’m slightly more inclined to believe the former is true, however, because I’m not all that big into outrageous conspiracies on most days. This summer provided many opportunities for hilarious misadventures, but it also somehow managed to be entirely draining. From the work-related madness to the life-related madness (with a friendly reminder there was a goddamn bat in my house not too long ago), this summer has felt less like a season of vacation, rejuvenation, and fun in the sun, and more like a time of frustration, bad news so bad it bordered onto comedy, and both minor and major setbacks. That’s not to say all of the summer was bad, of course. I won a book contract, which I then over-thought to the point of making it a good and a bad thing (if you missed that you should count your blessings and move along). Brianne and I have found a new place to live, which I’m quite excited about (save for now having to cut the grass, which is far from ideal). I could probably go on for a dozen more posts about my trip to Chicago, but it’s probably for the best I don’t. You were all right, Summer of 2014, but you certainly tested me. For that I should probably be thankful. Continue reading

Revisiting my journey to Chicago

Between yesterday and today, I drove eight-ish hours, and traveled here from one hour into the future. Needless to say, I’m still pretty well exhausted. I did consider going for an easy, lazy post again, but I know my brain well enough to know some of the details will start disappearing before long. The steel trap of my memory. Yeesh.

That being said, where to even start? What to even say? This post is going to wander into some very sentimental territory, so I feel like I’ll have to balance that out by posting nothing by snide remarks and biting comments tomorrow.

I’m not even sorry to say this, but home is most certainly where the heart is. By that reasoning, I’m at home in the Pittsburgh area, Hollidaysburg, and Chicagoland. This trip only acted as a strong reminder that home isn’t necessarily just one location, and it’s certainly a good feeling to know I’ve got a couple places I can go to feel like I’m where I belong.

Let’s not discount how I drove further than I’ve ever gone before, and that really made my trip an adventure. I’ve talked about the drive there, so I’m just going to take a quick moment to repeat how I’m glad I didn’t die or get lost towards the end. Continue reading