August 28, 2011

Lessons from Hurricane Irene

Since it's the "grown up and mature" thing to do to learn from bad experiences, I thought It'd be fun to list the powerful moral lessons that my experience with Hurricane Irene has taught me over the last 36 hours.  In this case, I'm adding a special twist - I'm going to examine it through the lens of the Seven Deadly Sins as my experience has taught me that each one applies rather well.  On to it then...

Sin #1: Lust - Yes, it turns out Hurricanes can teach us valuable moral lessons about the dangers of lust.  More specifically, I learned that Hurricane Irene (a female name, for those not paying attention) has many of the same qualities I tend to encounter in those "Psycho Girls" I'm famed to find attractive.  Shall we review? Makes me nervous - check; causes the people around me to be nervous - check; has a bad habit of causing problems I end up having to clean up after - check; seems to be enjoying manipulating what was otherwise a perfectly serviceable weekend plan into a self-indulgent (on the part of the Hurricane) sit-in where we do only what she wants us to do instead of sharing the fun - check-a-roony.  So all in all, we're perfect for one another.  I must confess, there were moments where I found myself wishing I could hang out with the Hurricane so I could take off my shirt and bask in her powerful billowing winds and feel the splash of her torrential rains dripping down know this is getting a bit personal. Moving on then...

Sin #2: Greed - Not one fuck-mothering ATM in my neighborhood had any cash yesterday so my ability to make sure I had money (you know, in case the Hurricane really was the end of the world and I needed to spend my last minutes on earth making one last purchase from or something) was severely hampered. I had to go buy stuff from the local supermarket in order to get Cash-Back from the register.  Even then, they only let me take 40 dollars so it was all somewhat underwhelming.  That said, the real lesson here, surprisingly, isn't "don't be greedy"; it's "be greedy earlier in the game you lazy sod". See the real inspiration for greed was water.  Never mind that it's literally falling from the sky like a curtain of misery; people feel that the solution to Hurricane conditions is to have as much water around as possible so as not to dehydrate during a tropical rain storm.  And I can see where they're coming from.  But unfortunately, since I can see where they're coming from, I left my house (I know, I know) to get some for myself when I discovered that the only "water" available was goddamn seltzer and Voss.  For those not "in the know", Voss is Norway's attempt to tea-bag us into spending $5-$10 a bottle ("but it's a glass bottle!" *slap*) on fucking water from the Frozen Mountains of Norway. 1) It's just fucking water; you don't get to charge more than 2 dollars a bottle, and 2) hell no, I'm not drinking fucking Voss during a hurricane.  So to wrap this up, with no water available anywhere, we leave with our seltzer and single bottle of Dross, er...Voss and head home wishing we'd all been more ambitious in our attempt to secure that most precious of natural resources.  Remember kids, be greedy early in the game.  It pays off.

Sin #3: Wrath - By now some of you may have surmised that I'm a wee bit angry as a result of all this Hurricane nonsense.  If you haven't surmised this yet... *snap* Oi!  Anyway, I'm actually going to talk about someone else's wrath in this paragraph (I have an entire Blog at my disposal to talk about mine, after all) since I think it's way funnier.  In this case it's the wrath that occurs when cookies and menstruation humor come between two otherwise amiable people.  In this case I speak of none-other than the infamous Jose Ortiz (M.D., Ph.D., Esquire, etc.) and his sudden and nigh-inexplicable dispute with my downstairs neighbor Allison.  See, for reasons hinted at above, these two began the night as quite friendly and ended on a note so sour it can't even be covered by the cast of Glee, and those kids managed to turn Rebecca Black's tripe into something half-way listenable. I won't recount the whole thing, but since the point is to learn lessons from natural disasters, the lesson I learned is this: Menstruation jokes inspire wrath in people that can only be cured by the consumption of cookies.  While this is endearing to me at so many levels, the fact that a single off-handed comment about someone's period (hint: it was Jose's) can spark a flame war made me wonder if there was any way to salvage the relationship.  So in conclusion: Oreo Cakesters (yes, that was the miracle) can be used as an healing balm for sore emotions...provided that you don't give the one you've touched while opening the package to the germ-a-phobe.  Oops. Guess the lesson here is "you're screwed, just eat the fucking cookie".  You know, I can actually get behind that.

Sin #4: Gluttony - I'm going to lead with the final lesson on this one:You do not need 5 pizzas, 30 buffalo wings, 2 hotdogs, 4 different (DIFFERENT, mind you) bags of oreos, 1 bag of Milanos, 2 bags of Cape Cod Potato Chips, 1 carton (not bag) of Goldfish, and a single box of Entenman's Chocolate Chip Cookies to survive a Hurricane shut-in.  No, I'm not exaggerating; and in fact, I've left out a few of the items we purchased for this absurd excuse for a disaster.  We ordered the pizzas/wings from two different locations (Fivos and Nova for those playing along) early on so we could "stock up" in case we were unable to get dinner later that day due to inclement weather.  "That's not a bad idea" I hear some of you say - yes it is.  I currently have enough pizza in my fridge to make the Ninja Turtles blush and so many cookies that I'm pretty sure my only recourse is to undo all the hard work I've put into losing those last 10 pounds before Dragon*Con.  I've exercised some restraint (but by no means actually exercised) by not eating all of it, but...they're cookies!  How much restraint am I really capable of in the face of those kinds of odds.  "But you didn't have to buy cookies to stock up for the evening, Trevor".  Now let's not get judgmental.

Sin #5: Sloth - All right, raise your hand if you saw this coming?  That's what I thought.  The inevitable consequence of that 1st world, gluttonous, smorgasbord I mentioned is that not one of us wanted to move an inch for most of the evening.  I made a bold effort to counteract this by firing up the Kinect and playing Fruit Ninja by flailing around like a chimpanzee in a tumble dryer full of bananas (well, I think it's an apt comparison...especially that "bananas" crack).  It worked pretty well, actually - for 10 minutes.  Then we realized we were all sweating oil and chocolate out of our pores and decided to take "a breather".  That breather involved watching 4 episodes of the Super Mario Brothers Super Show on the same console that mere moments ago was helping to keep us from looking like Mario.  So much for that plan.  My only other attempt at real activity was suggesting that we go out to Staples to buy a battery back-up early in the day.  Not only was Staples closed, but the consequence was that we went to Key Food and bought all the crap that led to our sloth-fest and inevitable diabetic comas. You know, sometimes I think there really is a God...and he loves making sure I don't do jack so as not to screw with his oh-so-carefully-crafted plan.

Sin #6: Envy - So what could make this whole event more obnoxious than it already was? Knowing that not 400 miles away, my mother and sister were enjoying a beautifully sunny day while helping the latter set up her first ever apartment in her last ever year of college ( creeps me out too).  Seriously.  I know it's hard work and all to set up an apartment, but at least they're not dealing with a panicked New York (the worst kind of New York, by the way) over what amounts to a pretty bad thunder storm with no thunder. I've moved into apartments in my life (see the paragraph on Lust for an idea of what that was like) and it's actually kind of fun.  I like being able to see my living space take shape around me.  I also like helping people move.  Even though you're all tired, and occasionally someone does something stupid like stack the TV on top of the stove while saying "But this way you can watch TV while you cook!", you can all still have a good time assembling and sorting.  And besides, at the end of it all, you get a whole apartment! How cool is that? When I was done sorting and ordering, I had a house full of inebriated guests, copious junk food, no consent about what movie to watch, and an argument about menstruation that couldn't even be solved by Oreos.  The lesson: The grass is not only greener on the other side, it's got a fucking amusement park with a water slide made of chocolate presided over by clones of Angelina Jolie.  Fuck my side of the fence.

Sin #7: Pride - At last. The big one.  This one is nice and simple.  They say "pride goeth before the fall".  I said: "It's not gonna amount to anything.  It's just gonna be some strong winds that'll make people nervous.  Really it's more of a bad storm than a full-on natural disaster. I know I'll miss helping Sasha, but that won't be so bad. I'll be able to spend some nice quiet time in my apartment for a few days. Really...what could happen? I mean, it's not like God will punish me for this little bit of hubris." The Lesson: Please note the preceding 6 lessons and extrapolate from there.

So in conclusion: Fuck this Hurricane.  Irene has mostly moved on as of the time of this post and now we're just left with the aftermath of one of Mother Nature's most unimpressive temper tantrums.  I know some people are without power, and my heart really does go out to them.  I can only imagine what the last evening would have been without power.  I don't really know but my best guess involves one or more of the sharp objects scattered throughout my house and a listing in the paper the next morning reading "Looking for Friends and a Plausible, Airtight, Alibi".

Well, that's all for now.  I hope you've enjoyed this little learning experience.  Tune in some other day in the near future when we'll be learning lessons on "surviving" a gloriously indulgent event that doesn't revolve around strong winds.  It revolves around Dungeons, Dragons, and everything in between.  And I do mean everything.

August 13, 2011

A Thousand Thanks

To all my fellow Mantids,

I can't thank you all enough for once again uniting to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It seems to be your specialty.  All the trappings of my still-overwhelming graduation party adorn my place and it makes me feel happy to see them. 

Now I can add this rather unusual tool of the future (yeah...I know) to my collection of Mantid-made icons of friendship.  I'm obviously new to the Blog-o-sphere so you'll have to forgive me for not being quite as skilled in using this tool as those of you who spend way to much time on LJ/Tumblr do.  Hopefully, you will be willing to contribute to my already impressive knowledge-base (If you thought I'd remain humble for more than 2 paragraphs, you obviously don't know me very well) by teaching me the tools of the trade - lookin' at you Sasha.

Well, I'm two paragraphs in to my first ever blog post, and I'm not really sure what to say.  I'm tempted to whine about the injustice of the world or start spewing my philosophical reasons for why video-games are the reason life is at all tolerable, but that would do such a disservice to warm and happy welcome you all gave me.  So, permit me to be both in and out of character for a moment to just say this:

For all my complaints about the world we live in, the fact that you all can find the time to contribute something this thoughtful to my life makes me take them all back (however briefly). It's this kind of friendship that makes me feel that any misery or hardship is worth it.  You have all played such an important part in my evolution as a human being, as a friend, and as a thinker, that I often wonder what would have become of me if none of you had come into my life.  I can only believe it would be a much darker, bleaker, and more miserable than one could even imagine. Fortunately, I do have you all in my life in one form or another so I don't even have to think about it.  Even though most of you are miles away at all times, I still have nothing but fond and happy memories of our times together, and I think of all of you and the love you all bring me whenever I'm feeling down. I'm indisputably a better person because of all you have brought to my existence.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.  

I love you, all.  So very, very much. 

There is only passion,


I have every intention to make use of this wonderful little bulletin-board you've all given me.  After all, we used those junky white-boards for all manner of oddity. Expect it.