Saturday, July 26, 2014

Why I Love My House: A List

Well, I am only one car-load and a deep-clean away from turning in my keys to the apartment and walking away forever. It's kind of a good feeling. I am excited to put the past behind me and start walking forward for once. I am feeling a little antsy, like I want to continue unpacking, decluttering, organizing, or cleaning the new place; but I am just so beat that I can't. However, in my lounging I keep finding myself appreciating different parts and pieces of this new life. One thought led to another, and so I thought, 'Instead of just jumbled fragments, why don't I actually make a list of the things I like about this place?' In the words of my mother,  "...aaaaaand, so I did."

1. This guy lives here. 'Nuff said.

2. THIS. So Much This. Not only do we have a garage, but our garage has an additional shop. It's big enough to share, so one side is devoted to guns and camping, and one side is devoted to... this. It almost looks like I know what I'm doing! It's nice to have room to experiment and play, without worrying about it taking over bits and pieces of my whole living quarters. Downfall: Much less walk-by-arting going on.

3. For some unknown reason [our theory ties in to ridding living quarters of the scents of memories as a way of moving on emotionally, if you know what I mean] Miss Maow and Bill are actually--mostly--getting along. We even caught them cuddling the other day. She's practically had a personality makeover: she cuddles, she purrs, she talks, she plays... like she used to.

4. Cabinets. Cabinets and drawers, everywhere! Can you say linen closet? Towels, sheets, pillowcases, and even two  comforters fit! It's so nice. Oh, and Maow fits too.

5. There are two bathrooms. And the upstairs bathroom has a for-real medicine cabinet [behind the mirror style]. However, Bill has not yet mastered its usage, as he lacks opposable thumbs.

6. My plants--and Miss Maow--can finally get some sun! And without me running them inside and out every day, or worrying about them being 'cold' at night. Our kitchen has a 'planter window,' and so does the upstairs bathroom. 

7. Hanging the Ivy in the mud room--we have a mud room! With French doors, even!--has done wonders, and it is growing quite quickly with much less fuss. Hopefully it will thicken up, too.

8. All my clothes fit in my closet. Well, mostly in. Not including shoes. Okay, look, this is like huge progress for me, capicce? And Miss Maow has a nice soft cuddle spot, too.

9. We have side-by-side closets. They are somewhat organized. And/or, the upstairs might as well be a seperate studio apartment. It is HUGE. As in, don't-know-what-to-do-with-extra-space kind of thing. Not enough furniture, haha. I've never had a problem with having too much space, I've always had too much stuff!

10. Okay, the stairs are meh to me, could do without them honestly, but, the fact that our stairs are littered with kitties... always a bonus. Plus, for stairs, they are pretty comfy. Very wide and the perfect steep-ness... stepth?... or however you'd want to describe that.

Okay, usually lists are ten items long, but here's a bonus picture because it's just too cute. It strikes a super-deep chord with me, sort of nostalgia, because I grew up with a giant, black Great Dane named Scoby... and Scoby used to sit like this on the couch/floor. So the fact that Bill does this all the time--when he's not taking up a whole step to make you trip--just melts my heart.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Wish I Could Make This Stuff Up...

I don't normally believe in this kind of thing, but there comes a point where "coincidence" just doesn't cut it. Ms. Medium, if you are reading, you should probably stop here and sit this one out, just in case. You know Bad Luck Brian? Well this poor guy embodies that meme. Totally. We thought it started last week, when Babe tried to get himself started on guitar; with a bit of 20/20 Hindsight, it started before that. But here's how it unfolded.

As I mentioned, Babe decided that he was going to learn guitar via Rocksmith... Against my advice, because I'm a snob. But he did ask me to help him pick out a guitar, and I was happy to oblige. So we go on down to Guitar Center and pick something out in his price range. Get all the essentials, too. Once we were home, I go about setting up his strap-locks, because they're a clumsy person's salvation. I check the knob on the neck plate, and it literally snaps off in my hands. So, we go back to GC and luckily the same guy is still on shift. Since we were polite he'd be happy to swap it out for us... except that was the last model at their store. We looked around a bit more, but decide that's really THE guitar. So he checks the inventory and calls a store to clear it, and we head on up to the Supermall store to swap out the guitar. The manager there was really cool about the whole thing.

So we get home and start setting up the Rocksmith stuff. He'd read that any USB-to-1/4" should be compatible with the program... buuuuuuut that's not entirely true. So after hours of frustration, swearing, and troubleshooting, I order the name-brand cable off of Amazon. Because of course no stores in the area carry JUST the cable. When the cable shows up from expedited shipping, his input jack comes loose. Easy fix, sure, but another nail in the coffin.

Next day. He has a guitar. He has the right cable. The program is running... for about 20 minutes. My whole desktop freezes. And not only does it freeze, but it doesn't come back from the hard crash. No kidding. I come home and clear out the dust bunny breeding ground, and with some help from an IT buddy, isolate the problem to most likely be the power supply. Well, come to think of it... a couple weeks earlier, the 1.5 tb I had in the tower pooped out. And, by the way, when my computer crashed, it fried HIS 2.0 gig hard drive, where he'd been pack-ratting movies and TV for the past couple years. Grrrrreat.

On top of all of this, we are moving. We do one day of car-loads of stuff. After that, he is in the early stages of a flare-up. Stupid bodies. Then, we have a lovely house-wide miscommunication that is really silly and frustrating. Three of us broke as a joke, stressed, tired, sore, etc etc etc. You can imagine. With my extra time off, we run Babe over to the VA finally. Sounds like everything should be easy and straight forward... turns out it's not, of course. [insert details here].

I'm glossing over a lot, but fast-forward to today. [Side note, come to think of it, my leave for moving also got denied! Luckily they gave me some unofficial time off, but leave would have been better]. Today, he drops a wifi repeater. Done. Mr. Guns, well, as soon as I got home, his Xbox decided it was going to refuse to work. And when I moved the fish tank from the apartment to the house, I squashed John Snow and thought he was going to die. He seems better now, but still may not make it. Babe dropped a LCD monitor, probably trash now. Even though Century Link was supposed to be out to start up internet today, we're still sitting at almost dial-up speeds. He spent all day dealing with them, but without the account info got nowhere. I got on tonight to talk to their support folks... turns out that they need to send a tech to check the lines, but can't do that until Saturday. If they can fix it great, if not, we might have to talk to the rental company and get them to re-wire the house because of how bad the wiring looks.

They say bad luck comes in threes, right? For him it comes in at least 30s. We're fighting through it, but everyone's tired. It's hard when your 'one-thing-after-another' string is running on three weeks of hellish events. And everyone is wound too tight. Hopefully soon things will smooth over. Until then, I'll take the advice that was blatantly shoved in my face yesterday:

In other news the house is GREAT [aside from potentially bad internet], and the kitties are finally bonding. I can't find the photo of them cuddling, but here is Bill being a goof.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Maybe I'm Just Getting Old, But...

Disclaimer: I try not to use a bunch of swears in my blog, just in case you never know who can stumble across this thing, but this post is going to be impossible without them. I will try to keep them to a minimum.

Last night, I went to Seattle to see Chevelle play the Showbox SoDo. And I was extremely disappointed. This was tough for me, because they are one of my favorite bands. So, my analytical brain took over, and I had a think.

Why was this show disappointing for me? I have a few ideas. I hate to sound like Hipster Steve, but... "When I saw them at Pain in the Grass a few years back, they were SO much better." Okay, but "better" is such a relative term. At Pain in the Grass, they really impressed me. I had no idea that a three-peice rock band could sound so heavy and crunchy and powerful. But now, a handful of albums later, they have really solidified their sound... and they have a sort of trademark heaviness. I wasn't blown away partly because I had such high expectations. And in a weird way, they met them. Their live show sounded almost exactly like the albums. And for me, that's actually a bit of a turn off. I feel that an album and a live set should have a different feeling. One should be more raw... involved... connected?... than the other one.

Maybe they brought all their album tricks to the stage--they certainly did use a lot of vocal effects. Maybe they should tone back their albums about 10%--so that seeing them live is like a slap in the face. Either could be true. But honestly, I have felt more amped up rocking out to the same exact songs in my kitchen. I could turn up the bass in my car, max out my stereo, and get a more intense feeling out of it. I've seen mosh pits that were more fun with much fewer people; I've seen crowds more interactive at a Corson Swift show. Don't get me wrong, I was not in my trademark edge-of-the-pit zone, and it's not like people weren't enjoying themselves. But perhaps it's the difference between a punk show and a hard rock or metal (ish) show. Different levels of energy.

When I see a band live, I want them to touch me, I want to feel like breaking things. And I just didn't get that. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I was too late to get into the vibe. Maybe the venue was too big--I certainly do like smaller crowds and divey-er bars. The audience for some reason was a huge turn off for me; everyone seemed so old. Maybe everyone recording HD video on their damned phones got to me. Maybe missing the opening bands threw me off.

I can say for sure, if I ever get back into music in any significant way, and I'm in a band that ever takes off in a little way, I have my speech prepared. "Hey you, yeah, you people trying to record the whole show on your cell phones so you can out-hipster everyone else and prove you were there... stop trying to document the show and actually experience it. Try to have fun. You'll remember that better when you look back than just watching some crappy bumpy video you post on YouTube. If you've got a phone held up... go to the freakin back of the room and let the kids who want to have fun dance around."

The one thing that saved this show was the encore. Finally, they played "The Red," for one. For two, some kid made a joke about playing air guitar. So the singer had him come up on stage and told him if he promised to play air guitar for the whole next song, they'd let him. Then he found out the kid played REAL guitar too... and had a roadie bring him the backup guitar. And this kid played on stage with Chevelle. I can only imagine how elated he must have felt (he obviously loved the band).

I envy him that feeling. It made me want to play again. Now, if I only had more hours in the day, or more days in the weekend, I could get back to it. Lately I've found myself singing more, wanting to learn songs again. But I can't imagine a band where I could play all the songs I've ever wanted to cover. No one would come to those shows. And I still can't write from scratch. I wonder if it would be possible to somehow have a band that combines Chevelle and Alkaline Trio... and what that would even sound like.

On another plus side: the boy bought a guitar today. He's intent on using Rocksmith to learn. I have my misgivings, but he's sold on it, so I'll be supportive... I am a little excited to see how this pans out. And just the other day I was thinking about getting a guitar to try and learn some covers. So win-win.