I am really loving my cigar box guitar. I find myself just mindlessly strumming it while at home, noodling out things that sound neat to me. I was listening to some old favorite tunes earlier today and realized that one particular song had been recorded on two different albums in very different styles (one was a solo album) and I really want to record it myself. Having no idea how the chord shapes I am making translate to chords for this particular song, I decided to just fuck it and figure out my own completely different version of the song should go. I am liking what I have come up with so far and need to work on a few parts, but I think I will have my first track for my first Full Service Hobo EP figured out in a week or two. I think I will do a 4 song EP and release it via CD Baby for shits and giggles. This one I want to do as a solo track, but I think I will be looking to pull a few folks on fairly soon to help me figure out new arrangements for the other tracks I want to do. I’m getting excited about this project since it feels real to me now, and this song is really helping me say ‘fuck other people liking it’ and focus on *me* liking it.

Today I have accidentally discovered the secret to me loving Titanfall.

First off, I should say that I already liked the game, although I was getting my ass handed to me on an insane level. Seriously, it was like a loony bin all got work release at once and their collective job was to ream my ass with bar-tending tools. It’s a really nice, well balanced first person shooter with wall running and you can summon a mech to pilot every couple of minutes, and the length of time you wait to summon a new one is lessened by how well you are whacking other players. Another nice thing is that there are AI controlled bots that spawn for both sides so you get a nice feel of a really full game without worrying about half a team rage quitting and completely fucking everything over. Plus, you can hack the enemy bots and they follow you providing cover fire. It’s pretty sweet.

So, I have not played in about 3 weeks due to other games grabbing my interest and me getting all ragey like I do when playing FPS’s. I decided to play some this afternoon, and since I have been on a serious Queen kick lately, I put on the soundtrack to Flash Gordon. That was apparently a brilliant choice. I only played for the length of the album, so about 40 minutes, and during that time I leveled 4 times, and my kill to death ration against human players (they track your human kills and bot kills separately) ended up being around 5:1 across all the games with my best being 9:1 and about 35 bot kills.

I am now going to walk away from the computer for a bit and not ruin my little perfect Titanfall moment. I think if I keep my play sessions limited to the length of the Flash Gordon sound track, and always listen to it when I play, I will get an insane amount of pleasure from this game.

That is the sound that kitty puddles make.

I would not call it hot as balls in my apartment, but they are getting a touch swampy. 10:30 P.M. and it is still around 80 degrees in hear. I have a fantastic southern facing for all of my windows and it’s a brick building. Oddly enough, the heat isn’t bugging me as much as it has in the past. If the rest of spring / summer is close to this and I don’t die, I might have to start considering a move to California for my next serious job. Plus, heat = adorable kitty puddles so I have that going for me.

My boss seems to be ok with me making the requested shift change, but he wants to make sure that we aren’t fucked for coverage in the later part of the day first, which is perfectly reasonable. Hopefully he will have that sussed out so I can start that up week after next. Having that extra hour and a half to drink before the Black Flag show could come in handy.

I am feeling myself getting pretty testy around certain folks as of late. Some pretty harsh shit was said to me a few weeks ago that I felt was pretty unwarranted (granted, we were all drinking at the time) and I just find myself wanting to distance myself from most everybody I know and go back into hermit mode. I’m going to try and avoid this, but I probably won’t be going out to get together with most folks unless I am specifically contacted and invited to something that doesn’t involve a bar or booze. I guess I am feeling fairly marginalized right now and just need to step back for a bit and re-asses what I want out of my life. Getting really tired of bars and drinking as my social outlet so I need to start stretching me wings so to speak.

Along those lines, I seem to be hitting it off with a nice lady via OK Cupid. I’m hoping this works out better than my previous two experiences via that site. She seems to be into board / card games as well as horror movies. We shall see how this progresses. I haven’t asked her out for a date yet, mostly because I want to wait for payday so I can actually afford a date. I suspect another week of chatting with her and I will be ready to ask her out for coffee or a movie.

Well, the puddles want some cuddles so I am off to bed. Sleep well everyone 🙂

Last night I ended up having an early dinner and getting tired around 7:30 P.M. Instead of fighting to stay up for another 2.5 hours, I decided to listen to my body and was asleep by 8 P.M. Instead of waking up at 4 A.M. like I was expecting, I was up at 2, and have just been getting some early morning gaming and cat time in. I am already a pot of french press half-caff into my day and at 5 A.M. am really antsy to get in to work. I think I am starting to really become a morning person again. I have brought up to my boss in the past that I wanted to start my day earlier and switch to a shorter lunch so I can have my afternoons free, but we never really looked into it. I think I am going to broach the subject with him again today and see when the earliest he is comfortable with me coming in is. I know that he would like to have our team covered better for the end of the day Pacific time, but with him and my team mate being here than late any way, I might be able to get away with it.

Positives to getting in earlier (say 6:30 A.M.) –

1) With a 30 minute lunch I will be out by 3 P.M., giving me plenty of time to do produce shopping every day after work and just buy what I need each day.

2) I start riding my bike to work in a few weeks (hopefully the weekend of next payday I will get the bike tuned up and then one of these installed) and getting in that early means less traffic to be worried about in the morning, and getting home before the big rush every afternoon.

3) More time to explore my neighborhood before the nightly drinking crowd hits.

4) If I join 24 Hour Fitness like I am thinking of, I can get in before the 5 – 6 P.M. crowd shows up. Hell, I might be able to get out before they show up.

Negatives –

1) Won’t see friends as much during the week, but they are part of the aforementioned nightly drinking crowds, so I don’t enjoy the time I spend with them during the week all that much anyway.

2) Could impact my weekend nightlife. Oh wait, what weekend nightlife? That’s all booze driven and I want to get away from that.

 

Overall, this looks like it could be a positive thing. That and seeing the sun rise always puts me in a good mood.

So, I don’t really see any negatives to this

I got called to be in the jury pool for the past two days and I have come away with a few observations.

$10/day is a joke. They told us that it was set by the feds during the Truman administration and has never changed. A quick search shows that plenty of states have chosen to raise the amount/ If they were to raise it to even $40/day, that would get more low income people willing to show up, since it would be a less drastic hit to their paycheck. The fact that they provide bus tickets is nice though and, for the record,  I have a pass provided by my work so I told them I didn’t need any. This seemed to shock the lady handing them out and she thanked me.

I sat in a large room with probably 100 – 150 other people, most of whom had tablets or laptops. Ever hour or two a woman would come to the podium, announce names and assign that name a number, then an hour later those folks would disappear a bit only to have most of them come back after an hour. It felt a little like a P.K. Dick short story.

The first case I was called for involved a questionnaire. I was slightly concerned that I was the 3rd person called on my first day and was given number 219. The questionnaire was 5 questions dealing with my ability to be involved with a 36 day trial. I explained on the paper that missing that much work would result in my being unable to pay my bills or rent and that, while I was happy to fulfill my civic duty, I was unwilling to become homeless to do it. After 90 minutes, they saw the wisdom in my words and I was removed from contention in what I can only assume would have been an amazing case that involved murder and political intrigue. Seriously, if work would have covered my salary for the full time of the trial, I would have done it in a heart beat.

My second case was for a misdemeanor incident involving, effectively, someone supposedly not calling in to report to the officials during their work release. We 33 of us were questioned for about an hour. I was one of the randomly selected to be in the juror box and most likely to stay for the trial. It was expected to be a two day trial and I was kind of excited. The state prosecution spent more time asking me questions than any other person. We talked about my interest in law, the classes I have taken, my opinions on jury duty, my time as a bouncer, and if I was doing anything Friday night. Well, ok, that last one was wishful thinking (damn she was adorable) but we talked about more stuff than I do with most women on a first date.  The defense attorney started explaining in some detail what the crime in question was, asked general questions to the prospective jurors and when he got to asking if any of us had ever had dealings with homeless people, he just about shit himself when I said I used to be homeless. He asked me some pointed questions and seemed to be thrilled that I was there. After his time was up, the judge excused a woman that was 7 months pregnant from duties, and not 1 second after he said that the lawyers could now start recusing jurors, the prosecution said I could leave. I like to think that they were sweating when they said it, and that the defense was sad to see me go.

Today was a few more questionnaires but apparently my answers weeded me out of the three trials I was pulled for. The rest of my time was watching youtube videos and listening to music. All in all, not a bad two days. Best part is that I found out when I emailed my boss to let her know I was going to be out two days instead of one, that I actually got paid for the past two days *and* I get to keep my the $20. Not bad 🙂

I have started practicing more often with the singing and uke playing. Blake got me a guitar neck so I think I need to get over to Johnny’s soon with the rest of my bits and pieces and get at least one fucking cigar box guitar built so I can at least have something to play around with. First payday of the month I am going to finally just pull the trigger and pick someone off of Craigslist to see for vocal instruction. I can’t seem to get any references from folks and the one person that said she would do it never got back in touch with me. My goal is to be on stage singing this year, and not at karaoke. It will probably be open mic stuff but I don’t care, I need to get back on stage soon. I am doing some re-arranging of furniture in the apartment this weekend, so hopefully I will find the charger for my video camera and record a few shitty covers and get them up on my youtube channel. Every time I do that I become a little less frightened about performing on stage. Having fear on stage after putting myself in a raw edit for potentially millions of random strangers to see seems kind of silly 🙂 In the mean time, here is one of my old Soundcloud recordings.

This weekend was pretty nice over all. Friday evening I just stayed in and relaxed so I could make sure to get a full nights sleep for Saturday.

Saturday was super full. Saw a matinee of Captain America: Winter Soldier, which felt like a good action espionage film, like one of the Bourne movies. I think it may be my favorite of the Marvel movies now. Great action, very good special effects and some fantastic acting. I highly suggest seeing this movie. After the movie I met up with a nice woman that I met via OK Cupid. We were going to go to The Grill from Ipanema but I misread their website and we got there just as lunch ended. We wandered around for a little bit and then had lunch at Taco Del Mar. Talked for about 45 minutes about our respective animals then did some walking around. Had coffee and chatted for another 2 hours. She is a very nice lady but reminds me of a combination of myself and my mother so, while I wouldn’t mind hanging out with her in the future, I don’t really see any romance coming out of this. I was pretty pleased that I made it through a 3 hour date and didn’t have any kind of anxiety or panic attack and that I could keep things going conversation wise. It did feel odd to be on a date though. Looking forward to doing it again though. I then ended up at Blakes chatting about X-Wing Miniatures stuff and after a bit we wandered to Clever Dunnes to visit with folks. I managed to only have 1 drink and while I did end up getting really tired and calling it a night around 11 P.M., I had a nice evening with my friends.

Today was spent with a little morning gaming, a few hours at work, a Costco run, then more gaming at home and probably snacking too much. I have solidly broke out of the 360’s and have been sitting at 355 for the past week so I’m not overly concerned with my eating today. Costco has chia seed now so I got a bag to play around with it. I don’t have all the ingredients I need to make low card hot cereal (I need some ground flax which I forgot to get at Costco) but I did find a recipe for chia seed pudding. It takes 4+ hours to make, but I am having some now and it’s pretty good. It has a texture like tapioca pudding so it really hits that spot for me. I modified a recipe I found on line –

1/4 cup chia seed

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (40%)

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

a few squirts of liquid stevia

Put all ingredients into a wide mouth mason jar, put the lid on and shake the crap out of it. Stick it in the fridge for at least four hours. Get spoon and put pudding in mouth hole.

Very easy recipe and terrifyingly filling. Chia seed is a ‘superfood’ with Omega 3 fats (the shit your heart needs) and an insane amount of protein and calcium. Tests are inconclusive on the idea of it being a weight loss miracle, but with it’s properties of becoming gelatinous and swelling to 10 times it’s size when introduced to liquid, it could prove to be a potent tool in my war on carbs.

Now it is time for bed where I shall read some P.K. Dick and be mildly concerned that my dreams aren’t noticeably weirder for it.

 

Yesterday was a pretty decent day all around, except for where I had to force myself to puke while at work so as not to get serious food poisoning. Apparently the mayo I had used to make my tuna salad for lunch was off. I can promise that I won’t be eating tuna for a few weeks.

After work I got a double length walk in with Blake. We went up to his place and played the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter miniatures game. After two games of that I am now hooked and will be buying a mini a week until I have a full squad built up. The quality of the plastic minis is really impressive and the game play is very smooth. Any more of you play this? I would love to get a monthly night for this together.

Ended up being at Blake’s a few hours later than planned so once again I didn’t get in bed until about 11, and was asleep by 11:30.  That coupled with general body blahs from the food poisoning, I *really* want to take a mental health day and just be lazy, but I think I can muddle through. Any way, I have become fond of the walking to and from work for some odd reason.

I am going to go see a matinee of Winter Soldier on Saturday at the Regal cinema downtown. Anyone interested in joining me?

Got all my paperwork filled out and turned in at work, so I am now a full time employee at Megapath, no longer in support but on the team that handles back-end processing of cancellations and additions of new services. It’s boring and tedious and requires an eye for details so pretty much right up my alley. I can listen to music while I do it, so the days really do just seem to zip by. I also have medical / dental / vision coverage for about 1/3 of what the contract agency wanted for just medical that only covered emergency situations. I also get 17 days of PTO over the year which is the first time I have had paid vacation time in ages. Perhaps I will get to use it at this job. I already have a line on a primary doctor but I could use suggestions for a dentist and an optometrist, preferably walking distance to Cap Hill.

My laptop has been having problems with the wi-fi for about a month now, to the point where it doesn’t connect any more at all. I couldn’t find a disassembly guide online for it, but I have done this enough times with other laptops that I was able to get it open in about 10 minutes. I pulled the card and as I disconnected the antennae from the card, the lead for one of them popped off. A quick examination showed that the connection had no solder and was glued in place, so I think I found the problem. I was able to find a replacement for the card on Ebay for $8 and I should get that by Friday with free express shipping. I expect that my lappy will be back up and running this weekend. During the process I also discovered that I have a ram slot open so I will be filling that in a few paychecks.

I have been chatting with a lady via OK Cupid and we have a coffee date for this weekend. I think I will see if she wants to meet downtown after I see Winter Soldier. She is a litle older than me but we seem to have a similar mindset and some similar interests. if worse comes to worse, it will be a nice practice date.

I have just enough time to get a little bit of gaming in before bed time. Have a nice evening folks.