December 23rd, 2011

#3117: A rage-filled day

Because it's Christmas Eve-Eve!!!!

...no, I don't quite get that, either, but yesterday was frustrating enough that I really don't need to be more angry and upset.

Let's go in chronological order, shall we?

After the bloggeratin' was done I did end up laying down for about 20 min or so. I was not intending to take a nap and I got nowhere near unconsciousness, but it was enough of a rest that I could push past the aching fatigue of arms and legs and get moving. Shower, dressed, out the door by 3 PM.

Went to the church, chatted with the secretary for about 15 min about various things, including getting a copy of the video--she said she'd let me know what she found out about that. Left there, headed for Cinnabons! On the way I was going to stop for some gas and food, because both Jeep and me needed fuel.

I stopped at Wendy's for a couple of double stacks but waited to look for a gas station until I was east of Rt 41, because gas was $3.40 in IL and it was the same on the west side of 41. But once I was east of 41, I found a gas station where it was $3.30.

I ended up saving a whole $1.67!! The Jeep was so low on gas the warning light was on and the truck took 16.72 gallons of fuel. That is a post-Bomb record; the Blue Bomb had a 20-gallon tank and that was the last car I owned that took more than 16 gallons to fill. The nominal capacity of the Jeep's tank is somewhere around 16 gallons so I expect I had gas right up to the lip of the filler neck, but since the temperatures were falling and I had miles to go etc I wasn't worried about an overflow.

Everyone was driving slow (below the limit, that is) and around I-65--which is about half a mile from the mall--the traffic was simply hellish. But I got in and parked and hit Cinnabon and got my damn pastries.

My mistake was looking to see if Books-a-Million had put up a store where the Borders had been, as happened to the former Borders Markos used to go to. You see, there was indeed a BAM where Borders had once been.

...I managed to get out of there with only two books: Changes, the latest Dresden Files paperback, and Kimi ni Todoke volume 7. I could have picked up vol. 8 and maybe 9; plus if I'd known where I left off with the Haruhi manga I could have gotten a couple more volumes of that. And the [Noun] of Worlds series of books by some guy and Larry Niven--there were four volumes of that sitting there, and only the fact that I couldn't remember which ones I had kept me from buying one.

*sigh*

That little detour took far too much time, so as I crawled out of the mall parking lot at the stunning average speed of 1 MPH I decided to let the GPS decide the route from there to Baker's Square.

I was just going to take Rt. 30 back east, but it was a nightmare and I could get over, so I got on I-65 north. I knew what route the GPS wanted me to take: north to I-80/94, west to Torrence, then south to Ridge, and backtrack east to Baker's Square.

...but as I drove up I-65 I saw that there was an exit for Ridge Road. Guess what I did?

The GPS then tried to get me to go back to I-80/94, and like an idiot I followed its direction...for about two blocks. Then I realized I had been on the road I wanted and it would be PERILOUSLY, EGREGIOUSLY STUPID for me to go all the way to I-80/94 and probably end up crawling.

Naturally the GPS then spent the next six blocks trying to get me to turn around: "Turn right, then turn right! Turn right! Recalculating! Turn right, then turn right! Turn right!" I began to imagine a note of desperation: "No, no, NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! THE INTERSTATE IS THAT WAY! WHY WON'T YOU LISTEN TO ME?????

...because you're an idiot.

Finally it figured out that it was hopeless, said "Recalculating"--and again I imagined a note of sullen acceptance--then said, "Drive nine point two miles, then arrive at destination on left." It was, afterwards, silent.

The traffic on Ridge was nonexistent compared to Rt 30. Most of the traffic was eastbound, in fact, and I was able to drive at the speed limit. (Mirabile visu!) Got to Baker's Square without any trouble, got my pies, and the woman who waited on me had awesome cleavage. She was black, so they were chocolate titties, but they were a wonder to behold. I just wanted to stand there and look at them for a while, but I had choir practice at 6:15 and it was now 5:50.

Got back into the Jeep, pointed her homeward (which is close enough to the church anyway) and took off. I got behind people who could not drive as fast as the speed limit and was to the point of yelling at them and cussing and snarling.

Despite the best efforts of the slowpokes, I breezed into the church parking lot at 6:16 PM...and several of us were sitting in our cars, waiting, because the church was locked. But the choir director soon arrived and let us in.

...choir practice...

I left church, intending to go to Culver's for food. Of course the STUPID ASSHOLES could not go the speed limit; oh no! It was 30 out of town (in a 35), 35 in the 40, and 40 in the 50! Why should we go faster? It's raining, the roads are wet, and there are cars!!! WHAT DO I DOOOoo????

It was really, really annoying and frustrating, but what made me snap was when the asshole in front of me, who had been driving so slow, got through the yellow light at 394 that I had to stop for BECAUSE HE'D BEEN DRIVING TOO FUCKING SLOW. If that shithead had just gone the speed limit we both would have made it ON THE MOTHERFUCKING GREEN.

When the light turned green again, I was still so mad and frustrated I was stepping on the gas too hard, so the rear wheels were breaking loose. And there I was, bopping along at the speed limit, when the light at Richton Road turned yellow and I tried to stop for it...and ended up sliding 3/4 of the way through the intersection. I was seeing red at this point; if the zombie apocalypse had started right then, I could have ended it immediately, solely through sheer force of my rage-enhanced will...but WOULD NOT HAVE because why should anyone else have a good day?

Got my food, got behind more slow-ass motherfuckers on my way home.

...message on answering machine: brother-in-law has had a stroke.

I ate my food.

The details of my brother-in-law's affliction: whatever the cause, it was too late to give him clot-busting drugs, but his primary debilitation is in speaking. My doctor brother sounded guardedly optimistic when I got the updated lowdown from him, so as long as nothing's changed--as long as the stroke has not evolved any further--from where it was about 8 PM last night, everything ought to be okay.

There have been no new reports, so here's hoping.

Anyway: after all of that, I was too fucking exhausted to do any cleaning or baking, so I've got everything left to do today. Fortunately the only thing I need to do outside the house is to pick up a few things from the store--my list has four items on it--and then I can park the Jeep and not move until Saturday night, when I go to the 11 PM service at church.

So much for my hopes for a drama-free Christmas, though. While chatting with Og on-line last night, I realized:
2010: both Mom and her sister died a week earlier
2009: the big Christmas Eve drive to my brother's house, getting home at 3 AM
2008: sister in Maine was preparing to leave her husband and talking about moving to IL
2007: First Christmas without Dad
2006: Dad was in the hospital
2005: the last no-drama Christmas where I had both parents
2004: Parents had just gotten home from several weeks in Maine after my sister had drank herself into the hospital
2003: no real drama on Christmas itself, but a week later I was moving out of my apartment in Cedar Rapids
2002 I was unemployed, 2001 I was unemployed...yeah.

...so it's been six years since I had a Christmas without any drama in it...and in fact I've got to go back even farther than that to get to a time where I'd had more than one year at a time without drama. 2000 was the last year I could say, "Last year's Christmas was really nice, and so is this one!"

Og said, "I'm really glad I'm not related to you."

I don't blame him one little tiny bit.

#3118: No more politics after this until Monday.

Because damn.

Barack Hussein Obama rips Romney because Romney hasn't released any of his personal records.

This is the same Barack Hussein Obama who hasn't released any of his personal records. You know, things like academic transcripts or the like. Yeah.

Mainstream media: "Yeah, Romney! Show us that you don't have anything to hide!"

Not that I care about Romney's chances for election; I just hate the double standard.

* * *

A new nuclear reactor design has been approved. Estimated time to completion: fifteen years.

That's my own estimate, not someone else's.

* * *

Nothing can actually reach the temperature of Absolute Zero, but you can get damned close. 100 picoKelvin is 0.0000000001° K, or "fucking cold" in parlance which is more accessible to the average American citizen.

* * *

Another Dead Man Dance post on the stupidity of people who can't remember what happens to water when it gets too cold.

* * *

"Nothing is sustainable". Nothing. Not a damned thing we do can be sustained ad infinitum.

* * *

Og on the Leg Lamp bit I talked about last week: "It's a major award!"

* * *

After my ordeal yesterday I played WoW until it was 3 AM, and then went to bed. I took a Xanax just because I could and because I really did need it; and I slept like a log today except for two things: the trash getting picked up, and the need to urinate. Otherwise, I slept.

End result is that I'm not getting into gear until after 6 PM (it's 5:45 as I type this) and I still have plenty to do. *sigh*

But, as I reminded myself, if I want to relax tomorrow, I must move today. It's kind of a metaphor for life, if you think about it. Which I don't want to, because I don't have the energy. Argh etc.

When I brought up the trash barrel this afternoon, I saw the motorcycle sitting in the garage, and thought, "That would be fun to ride." But not when it's freezing outside. I still want to try the "ski pants" idea, but there's simply too much for me to do right now.

My outdoor decorations look pretty good. The house is nearly clean, needing only about an hour's more work or so to be properly clean. Then I can sit and peel apples and bake.

All of this has kept me so busy that I don't have time to think about the depressing stuff, which is probably a good thing, but in fact I just don't feel like being depressed. I want to enjoy this. So I'm worried about (and praying for) my brother-in-law, and concerned for my sister, but at the same time I'm trying to be positive and full of the joy of the season.

Tomorrow at 11 PM choir is singing three songs for the Christmas Eve service, and we're singing one song on Sunday morning. I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to having Christmas dinner with my aunt, uncle, and cousin; I'm looking forward to going over to Og's cave and pestering him et al. I want to enjoy this and I for damn sure will, given half a chance.

* * *

While playing WoW last night I listened to the Aoi Hana and Ano Hi Mata Hata WTF THIS TITLE IS TOO LONG OSTs. They're both really good. The full-length version of the OP for the latter series is not very good, though. It suffers from the usual problem that full-length versions do: they took 1.5 minutes of song and stretched it with stupid crap.

If the whole song were as good as the TV version, it would have been awesome; but that's not usually how anime themes end up working. The OPs for To Aru Majutsu no Index were the exception, not the rule.

The WTF! OP had two verses and two choruses--so far so good--but between first verse and second there was this section that was just junk; and worse it overpowered the vocals, which were actually really good. Not often you get really good vocals from male vocalists, not with Japanese music.

So I'll be digitizing the TV-length OP from the anime. Again.

But the BGM is fantastic--for both series--and for a wonder there weren't that many tracks that I disliked from the beginning. So they're keepers, definitely.

...still, for the next couple of days, Christmas music will dominate. Oh well.

* * *

Well: I had better get my butt in gear if I want to have all this nonsense attended to before midnight.

#3119: I'm not going to make it, but I don't really care.

It'll be midnight before I'm done with all my preparations. Maybe I'll hold off on the "wrapping presents" part until tomorrow.

The second batch of apple crisp is baking now. The bathroom floor has been mopped and I need to clean the vanity and toilet. The front hall needs sweeping and mopping, and I have to give the floors another once-over with the vacuum.

* * *

In order to record Saturday night's service at church, I went to K-mart and bought a $50 Vivitar camcorder, model DVR620HD. With an 8 GB SD card and tax it came to $75.

Low-light performance is "meh", but the service will be reasonably well-lit except for the candlelight singing of "Silent Night". Sound is okay for a $50 camera. It generates an AVI file, though, which doesn't require Quicktime to play (unlike the video files generated by my Nikon digital camera) and there isn't a weird electronic whine in the audio (like with my Nikon digital camera). (To be fair my Nikon is meant to be a still camera, and the video function is more of an afterthought. Why did it have to use f-ing Quicktime, though? *sigh*)

It runs on AA batteries. WIN.

I could have dug out one of my old analog camcorders: the HI8 one, or the VHS-C one. Problem: I don't have blank tapes for either one, and their batteries have long since died the death that all NiMH batteries die. I'd have to plug it into an outlet or something, and if someone stepped on the cord--yeah.

Also, this camera is cheap enough that I can do things I'd never do with a more expensive camera. Get a mounting pod to stick it to the side of the Jeep! Yeah! Mount it to the dirt bike's handlebars and go off-roading!

If I still owned the Escort, I could stick it in the engine compartment and drive the car to see where the oil leak is coming from.

...this isn't even the cheapest camera they had. There was another model that was $40, and one that was $30; I ended up paying $50 because I wanted a camera that could record in HD. (720p is technically HD, yes. What do you want for a dollar six bits?)

My only complaints:

1) No external power connector. But you're fine as long as you've got a good supply of AA batteries.

2) USB connector is built in, which means the whole camera hangs off the front of the computer when I plug it in to transfer video. I've got a M-F USB cable I can use to plug this thing in, though.

3) There was nothing on the box explaining how much recording time I could reasonably expect to get from a gigabyte of memory. To be sure I'd have enough time I bought an 8GB card for $20. On the highest quality setting, that's 2.5 hours of record time; I could have gone with a 4GB card. Oh well.

...BTW I bought an 8GB card for $20. Shit! Ten years ago 8 GB of storage was hundreds of dollars.

Extra bonus: the AVI file type means I could theoretically convert video and post it on YouTube, or even Photobucket if I were to upgrade to a pro account.

* * *

I hit the grocery store for a few last-minute things. I ended up buying more Pepsi (still on sale for about $2.75 a half-case) and chicken thighs, because I'd planned to have chicken Rice-a-Roni with actual chicken in it. That turned out rather well, and in a little bit I'm going to have to eat more of it since that was around 7-ish and it's now 11.

* * *

One of the secrets of my apple crisp? Fresh-ground nutmeg. In the kitchen is my grandmother's nutmeg grater, in a jar with nutmegs; I take that and grind some up. That's going wherever I go, damn it.

* * *

And to finish this post, here's another Christmas-themed Garfield Minus Garfield: