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Whatever

So, basically, since the one guy went back to mowing while I was at the sports park, and whatever he was doing before is I guess done, I’m now on the night shift cleaning bathrooms and picking up garbage instead of mowing.

This began pretty confusingly ~ last week I did the night shift Tuesday and Wednesday and the morning sports park shift the rest of the days, so between Wednesday and Thursday I was only able to get like four hours of sleep. I also had a dentist appointment early in the morning on Tuesday (though not as early as you have to get up for the morning shift). My tooth randomly broke ~ did I say that in a previous entry? Anyway, on Wednesday I had to do the night shift by myself to cover for somebody, so Tuesday was me riding along to see what to do. And now I’m doing it permanently. Until they change their minds again.

It’s simultaneously easy and not easy, stressful and not stressful. Well, okay, maybe not simultaneously ~ when I’m with another guy, it’s easy. I just ride along and do whatever they say. And even when I have to do the shift myself, everybody else has gone home, so there’s nobody checking up on you. I mean, people checking up on you was pretty rare during the mowing, which is why it was rather stressful when it happened. And the same pretty much went for the sports park, except the work there was much more relaxed. When I’m doing this nighttime cleanup stuff with another person, they’re always having to waste time because we’re apparently always “ahead of schedule.” They actually know where they should be at each specific hour. I guess the reason I find this unusual is because with mowing, my technique for making the time seem to pass more quickly was to avoid looking at my watch as much as possible. The more you look at clocks, the more time drags.

Anyway, being able to sleep in instead of getting up at 4:30 AM is nice. And the point of adding me to the night shift was so there would be two guys on duty every day (I now work weekends and get Monday and Tuesday off), so having to do the shift by myself is not supposed to be common. So far it was just that one Wednesday and then the rest of last night. The guy was there at first ~ the shift goes from 2 PM to 10:30 PM ~ but he left around 4:45 because he had gallstones or something. I don’t really know what’s up with that, but he said he might need surgery.

Now the first time I went by myself, I couldn’t remember anything about the schedule and I just tried to remember all the parks based on the mow schedule. I rushed around and skipped lunch (technically dinner, but we still call it lunch) and locked all the bathrooms up, which apparently you don’t need to do ~ only certain ones are locked. I still don’t know how that’s determined. I’m also still terrible at paperwork. The paperwork is very simple but, you know, ugh. Really, though, the part that makes me panicky is just not knowing if I’m doing things right and not having anyone there to ask. (In other words, having people around to check up on me makes me nervous, but not having them around makes me nervous too.)

Last night, I had a better idea of the normal schedule, but I also had to move this barbecue thing to one of the parks and back for some kind of event where they serve free hot dogs and show a movie in the park. When I brought it there, I had to wait about half an hour for the other people to show up, and when I went to pick it up later, I couldn’t figure out how to get the propane tank off, so I fiddled with that for another fifteen minutes or so. These, and the fact that I did actually take lunch, were probably why I ended up staying about a half hour past the end of my shift. As I said, there’s no one else around, so it’s hard to prevent myself from making bad decisions.

Probably nothing bad will happen. I know that the old boss guy didn’t want to pay any overtime so we always had to make sure to be back in time, but he’s gone now. I know there are cameras that’ll show when I left, but I have no idea who checks them or how often. I did lock all the bathrooms up that needed to be locked, and got the barbecue back, so that’s the main thing. It didn’t help that there were parties going on in like all of the parks. Parties to us mean more full garbage cans, more ground litter, and more bathroom usage. You’d think people would just use up the toilet paper and that’s about it, but the bathrooms get completely trashed daily. Toilet paper and various other things all over the floor and so on. Sand clogging the sinks. I don’t know. It’s not that hard to clean up, unless you have about five minutes till your shift is over.

It’s just not knowing what will happen (anticipation) and not wanting to get in trouble that makes me panicky. I’m really a very simple person. I don’t give a crap about whether the parks look good or whether I get paid. I just don’t want people yelling at me. I have the job so that my parents won’t yell at me, and I try to follow the proper procedures so that boss-type people don’t yell at me, but when I don’t know the proper procedures, I get panicky. I do have herbal anxiety pills. They don’t do much.

While I like not having to get up early, I do feel like I have lost some hours out of the day on the night shift. I keep trying and failing to do the math, but I guess I’m just sleeping more and therefore most of my waking hours are work. Well, let me try to work it out here. Before, I would get up at 4:30, work started at 6, went until 2:30, and by the time I got home and showered it would be almost 3:30. Then I would go to bed around 8, most commonly. That’s . . . oh, I guess that’s only like four and a half hours of free time. Well, I guess it’s about the same then, only now it’s kind of split in half between after work and before work. I usually pass out around 1:30 AM and wake up around 11:30 AM, and I leave for work at 1:30 PM and come home and finish showering around 11:30 PM. So.

Apparently the return of Whose Line Is It Anyway? has already happened and is already more than half over. I’m going to try to catch the rest ~ I think it’s supposed to be on Tuesday nights. I’ll have to check again.

Net Increase

Okay, I guess I should write one of these.

The title refers to a couple things: one has to do with me and the other mowers almost getting fired. It’s been so long since I’ve blogged that I can’t remember whether I’ve actually said that my job is mowing or not. In point of fact, for the last two weeks I’ve been not mowing and instead working at the sports park, helping with a softball tournament. But for the rest of the time that I’ve been employed, I’ve just been mowing. Well, the boss guy (I have no idea of official titles ~ this is partly my own ignorance and reluctance to ask questions, but partly because mowing keeps me quite out of contact with anyone besides the other mowers) is known to have a bit of a temper, so here’s what happened one day. He told the mow crew to hang back for a moment in the morning. Of the soccer nets at this one particular (particularly large, with particularly many soccer nets) park, he asked why they were “scattered to hell and back” and about some damage to them and to some of the trees. Obviously, it is quite possible to damage things with these mowers, and as for me this is my primary concern; I always feel that I am not going fast enough because I’m spending too much time trying not to hit stuff. Now, I think that the guy who is currently driving the big mower is more concerned with speed, but as far as I can tell, he is also concerned with reporting whenever one of us does hit something, and even watching out for any other problems in the parks, which my mind is insufficient to do. The point is that, while I may be wrong, I think we usually do a pretty good job and avoid damaging things. I should also point out that at this point in time, the mow crew consisted of that guy, me, and a new guy who had only been there a week or two. (Yet I don’t think he’d hit anything.) To cut to the chase, the boss guy had an envelope with him, in which he’d put all the keys to the lawnmowers after having somebody remove them. He said he was about to “replace” all of us. We told him that we hadn’t caused the damage and that the nets were “scattered” like that when we got there, and he said “okay” and gave us back the keys.

Because I’ve spent a couple weeks at the sports park, this incident is not so fresh in my mind anymore, and so I may not be as able as I would like to accentuate the ridiculousness of the way that this was handled, but the general idea is that we were mowing around the nets and the trees in the same way that we had been since we’d been hired, and the nets had always been wherever. As far as damaging trees, here’s the thing: the trees are supposed to be pruned to the height of the mowers, so if we are actually able to hit a tree branch, that is technically a pruning problem more than a mowing problem. Whoever was complaining about the nets being scattered obviously didn’t bother to check before we mowed, only after. And same with the damage ~ it was already there.

This was not the only strange and threatening thing that has happened on this job, but it was kind of the height of a series of them from which, again, I got cut off when I went to the sports park. At one meeting, the first thing that the speaker said was “Lawnmower speeds ~ we’ve had more lawnmower repairs this season than any year before.” And then he just kinda moved on without saying any more about it. I have no idea how these people think, but I mean, like I said, we’re not going around ramming into everything, and we’ve been progressively increasing the number of things that we do to the mowers to try to keep them from breaking down, so whenever they do have problems, I see it as kind of unavoidable and routine, but according to them it’s because we’re driving too fast. This when I can hardly begin to explain how much pressure they put on us to get all the mowing done on time.

My attitude is just kind of “Whatever ~ I’m not doing anything wrong, so either fire me or don’t.” But it’s just so much more complicatedly politicky than something as simple as mowing the grass could ever need to be. They seem to need scapegoats. It’s been made clear by this point that they don’t want to hire any of the seasonals on as full-timers even though they encourage them to apply for the positions, so they seem to want to have these disposable people to blame when something goes wrong, and they certainly don’t see any value in a seasonal who does a better job than another one.

The second thing to which the title refers is the fact that, although I am being paid for the above . . . stuff, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a net increase in money. This is not because of my college debt, which I’ve been pretty much ignoring; rather, now that I’m actually making money, the universe sees fit to throw random expenses at me that certainly never would have come up otherwise. Well, okay, the second-biggest one was college-related and predictable ~ when you sign up for a dorm, you agree to pay for it for a whole year even if you know you won’t be able to stay in it that long. And for some reason, despite you having to do this, they still bill you separately for each term, so I got a bill for this last term that I didn’t attend ~ only after they apparently sent my mail to the dorm that I wasn’t in for a few months, since I got a big envelope full of envelopes in the mail here. And the other stuff has been pretty little ~ having to pay for my own food here and there. But I’ve been trying to do as little as possible, as I specialize in doing, in order to save money, so guess what the universe decides to throw at me? On Wednesday my tooth broke. Like, about a fifth of the whole thing just fell off while I was eating lunch. Now, I’m not the best at keeping up with brushing and flossing, but I had been brushing in the mornings, and I had felt absolutely no pain or looseness or weirdness or anything from that tooth prior to this, ever. According to my mom, this happens all the time, but I know it never happened when I wasn’t trying to save money. Also according to her, there will probably have to be three separate dentist appointments, each probably costing like $700. Now, apparently the company that my dad worked for that hates him but is strangely afraid to fire him will be canceling our insurance at the end of this month, so I may be able to squeeze in the appointments before that happens, meaning (according to my mom) that I’ll only have to pay “like half” of it.

Barring further such random charges that are only oh-so-likely to pop out of nowhere, I will still come out of this seasonal job contract with more money than I went in . . . with, but here’s the thing. When I went to visit mi amiguita, I basically spent all the money I had at that point. Against all financial wisdom, I would really like to see her again, so my hope was, simply enough, to make rather more money than it would actually cost to do so, meaning I would not twice be spending all I have on her. I wouldn’t mind doing this myself (beat the hell out of me for valuing friendship over money), but it can’t look very responsible in the eyes of my parents. So, you know, I probably won’t be able to have another visit anytime soon. My cousin’s also still in Japan, and my dad was saying something about me going to visit him. This was brought up because we’re all applying for passports since my dad is now working in Canada, but I’m not sure if he was implying that he would pay for such a trip or not, and I can’t imagine possibly coming out of this thing with enough money to go that much farther.

I was at one point writing a story that was turning out fairly well and that I may be able to get back to if I ask my mom how weddings work (the story is in part much more realistic than my standard fare, basically in order to better highlight the unrealistic parts), but I have that whole phobia of people stealing my ideas so I won’t actually talk about it. I have noticed something rather disconcerting, though. My parents have always made a point to call me “creative,” and other people have occasionally agreed with them. I had always considered myself less than worthy of the word because, well, most of my ideas are terrible. They may be, ahm, flavorful, but they’re not well-developed enough to really be worth anything, and such flavor only diminishes as I gain the ability to flesh them out. As I may have stated in previous entries, for a while now my policy has been to save individual ideas until I can combine several of them into one grand scheme that might almost add up to one normal person’s idea. Since I have been employed, though, and far too tired to do anything after work, I have been avoiding trying to start another big Game Maker project or anything of the kind (the exception being that one story, which I’d hoped to keep somewhat short), and with I think good reason ~ Game Maker takes a ton of time and energy and I just don’t have enough when I have to get up at 4:30 AM and work for eight hours. Weekends are basically just panic attacks as I attempt to wring as much worth out of them as possible and in so doing use up all of their valuable time worrying about how to use it up. But here’s the disconcerting thing that I’ve noticed: I do, undeniably now, appear to have this outflow of creative energy, and I feel strangely frustrated if I cannot use it up. I’ve always tried to avoid being the kind of person who needs to accomplish things to feel good about themself, but it’s not about feeling like I’m making enough of an impact to justify my existence, it’s simply about needing to do something creative (whether it really accomplishes anything to speak of or not) in the same way that, I guess, I need to talk to and occasionally visit my friends once in a while. I choose this instead of breathing or eating because I can obviously hold off on creating things for a while without any real effect, but going for as long as I have (which is only a couple months, I guess), it’s taking a toll on me. This, you may have realized, is probably responsible for Arpeggio, and is the reason I get rather irritable when much time passes between sessions. The game is a great place to dump creative energy (just look at all the random enemy designs), but the need for everyone to be around to play it makes it quite limited.

These are some bulky paragraphs and I forgot what else I was going to say. Hopefully you stopped reading already. Oh, one more thing first: the boss guy previously mentioned has retired now, and was already supposed to have retired before that, but they still haven’t found someone to replace him. They had apparently decided not to consider anyone already employed at the city, and then they had a dinner with their outside applicants and didn’t like any of them. As a result of this I have no idea whether I’m supposed to go back to mowing or stay at the sports park, since it was the retired boss guy who sent me there.

Towel Day 2013!

 

Happy Towel Day 2013! This is me during my stint as a waiter on Santraginus V.

Happy Towel Day 2013! This is me during my stint as a waiter on Santraginus V.

I began this Towel Day with vague plans of picnicking (on my towel) at one of the parks that I mow for my job. I didn’t do anything like that. First, waking up far earlier than what I still consider the norm despite the aforementioned job forcing earlier to be the new norm, I bummed around the house for a while, dipping into various Hitchhiker materials (the book, the radio show, etc.); I assumed that none of my friends would be awake that early, so I waited on attempting to contact them. As a result, Deman contacted me first, and we ended up having lunch but not doing much else together.

Lunch at the Pizza Hut at the end of the universe. Deman was in a bit of a straggish situation and didn't have a towel, so I didn't get a picture of him.

Lunch at the Pizza Hut at the end of the universe. Deman was in a bit of a straggish situation and didn’t have a towel, so I didn’t get a picture of him.

We didn’t do much after lunch because it turned out my little sister (who is doing much better ~ whatever medication she’s on now seems to have largely knocked out the schizophrenia, which is very confusing but in a good way) was taking her friend from church hiking and my parents were going along, so I figured I’d come too. (Deman was too tired for hiking. So were my sister and her friend, by the end of it.)

Here's my sister and her three bears ~ Charlie, Payton, and Harry ~ before her friend arrived.

Here’s my sister and her three bears ~ Charlie, Payton, and Harry ~ before her friend arrived.

She tried to do her hair like Princess Leia, which came in handy when we ran into some Jedi on our way to Santraginus V.

She tried to do her hair like Princess Leia, which came in handy when we ran into some Jedi on our way to Santraginus V.

Here's our attempt to attract the attention of a spaceship to get us to Santraginus . . .

Here’s our attempt to attract the attention of a spaceship to get us to Santraginus . . .

. . . and here's a shot of everyone else exiting the ship in front of me. The aliens were awfully nice, but unfortunately their towels reflected some of the more unruly wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum instead of visible light, meaning successful pictures of them would have been an infinite improbability. And they didn't have that kind of ship.

. . . and here’s a shot of everyone else exiting the ship in front of me. The aliens were awfully nice, but unfortunately their towels reflected some of the more unruly wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum instead of visible light, meaning successful pictures of them would have been an infinite improbability. And they didn’t have that kind of ship.

Here we have the famous Mnirclec Falls, one of Santraginus V's more obscure water-based natural wonders.

Here we have Mnircliq Falls, one of Santraginus V’s more obscure water-based natural wonders.

This fell tree sits just below the rocky ledge from which the previous picture was taken. That's my sister in the purple and her friend in the pink.

This fell tree sits just below the rocky ledge from which the previous picture was taken. That’s my sister in the purple and her friend in the pink.

I couldn't get a good picture of her in mid-jump, but here's her catlike three-point landing.

I couldn’t get a good picture of her in mid-jump, but here’s her catlike three-point landing. Bounding isn’t just for the cold moons of Jaglan Beta.

Here's me performing the traditional Santraginean Dance of Natural Gratitude. Don't even pretend you haven't heard of it. Seriously ~ they get pretty upset.

Here’s me performing the traditional Santraginean Dance of Natural Gratitude. Don’t even pretend you haven’t heard of it. Seriously ~ they get pretty upset.

Here are some of the famous marble sands. Just a few, as they're located next to a river instead of an ocean.

Here are some of the famous marble sands. Just a few, as they’re located next to a river instead of an ocean.

Yeah.

Those things at the bottom are the ends of my towel =P

Santraginus uses these boulders to filter its water before it reaches the ocean. See those big logs? Yeah. They're being filtered out.

Santraginus uses these boulders to filter its water before it reaches the ocean. See those big logs? Yeah. They’re being filtered out.

This is a (very small) crashed flying saucer that I reappropriated into a storage tray. You may recognize it from the waiter picture. Funny story ~ it was actually a Santraginean national monument, and they made me work as a waiter to pay off the damages. Luckily, local opinion was that it was a crappy monument, so I didn't have to stay for very long.

This is a (very small) crashed flying saucer that I reappropriated into a storage tray. You may recognize it from the waiter picture. Funny story ~ it was actually a Santraginean national monument, and they made me work as a waiter to pay off the damages. Luckily, local opinion was that it was a crappy monument, so I didn’t have to stay for very long.

Once again, happy Towel Day everybody! If you have your own pictures, be sure to visit www.towelday.net and post them for us to see.

Once again, happy Towel Day everybody! If you have your own pictures, be sure to visit http://www.towelday.net and post them for us to see.

What?

It’s ironic that the last post was named after time, because, well . . .

Yes, I did get a job of sorts ~ eight hours a day, five days a week, but it’s only seasonal; I think it ends November 13th or something ~ and well, I can’t really think of a good enough simile to describe how fast time has been going by because of it. You see, while the job description was general labor, they happened to randomly put me on the mowing crew, so I do nothing but mow all day. It’s for the City of Medford’s Parks and Recreation Department, you see, so we’re mowing the parks. And there are an awful lot of them ~ I certainly wouldn’t have guessed this many. (I don’t, of course, know the exact number, but I think it’s somewhere around 15, probably more.) Mowing makes the time go by very quickly, I think because, in my case anyway, I get onto an “island” of grass, and I know that I have to finish it before we leave, so I know it would be pointless to constantly glance at my watch . . .  Anyway, I like that the workday feels like it goes by quickly, but because I have to get up quite early for the job (and it will be switching to earlier still someday here), I’m always quite tired when I get home, so I’m never able to do much after work, and all together this makes a week feel like it goes by in about one second.

Allow me a brief moment to note that, from my first day of school long lost to memory, I have never liked or gotten used to getting up early; I can do it, and without an alarm clock at that, but I will always feel tired and prefer sleeping in.

A fair amount of stuff has actually happened at work in the few weeks I’ve been there, but I’m not that interested in talking about it. Probably the most significant thing is that I continue to have a lot of anxiety about the job, and while I can find justifications for it, the amount is probably excessive. I’ve been taking an herbal anxiety reliever every morning, which is probably a placebo, and I’m fine with that. Initially I found that it at least relieved the physical tightness in my chest; I guess my overall level has reduced enough that I don’t really get that anymore, but still . . .

See, the thing about the Job Council’s forestry program was there was no pressure. The work we were doing did not urgently need to be done. And I guess in the real world it’s going to be really hard to find a job like that. If only I could finish a book and if only that would actually make me any money.

I do have a couple of neat story ideas, though, but none of them are quite there yet. I have beginnings but not the rest. I am, in fact, blogging to scratch the writing itch, which was the reason I started blogging in the first place, and the reason that entries are not exactly regular. This is actually what I’d intended to write about, but I started with other things, and now I can’t think of much else to say about writing, since I don’t really want to reveal the ideas themselves.

I suppose in addition to the anxiety, I’ve been feeling a bit strange ~ I guess you could say I’m torn between enjoying the lack of responsibility involved in not currently working on any particular big project such as a book or Game Maker game, and feeling as though I’m wasting my weekends when they’re the only free time I get due to the stuff I’ve mentioned above. This is exacerbated by a number of things including it being a particularly bad allergy year; it’s very odd that my allergies don’t act up at work, where I’m doing the actual mowing, and the first thing that I do when I get home is shower, but sometimes after that they just go crazy . . . other times they don’t, so I don’t know. But the point is, it discourages me from going outside on the weekends, and hiking would probably make me feel as though I accomplished something. I guess part of the struggle is that I don’t want to see myself as the kind of person who needs to feel like they’re accomplishing something, but that’s why it’s a complicated mess of feelings.

I’m getting a bit distracted by the TV, though, so I think I’m out of stuff to say.

Date and Time

Well, I can’t remember what I said about jobs last time, but I might possibly have one of them. It’s with the city. I still have to pass a physical and drug test and some other stuff ~ there’s something that’s been given a couple names but tests my basic ability to stand and reach and lift things and run in place or something, and this is the one I’d be most likely to fail. It sounds easy enough, and I’m not that out of shape, but there’s always an important distinction between a guarantee and a probability. Mathematicians seem to think otherwise ~ they go on about how the number of people you’d need to recruit to guarantee winning the lottery would, assuming you divide the prize money evenly between them, render the whole thing pointless, but they seem to forget that someone has to win the thing. How did I get to that topic? Well, whatever.

What I’d meant to point out was that time has been moving very quickly for me. Oh, right, this is how I was going to get there: the physical and drug test and stuff are scheduled for Monday, April 1st, so my first thought was of course that it could be an April Fool’s joke, but from there I recalled that I had released Jumpy and Speedy on April Fool’s Day (as a sort of double-negative joke ~ it is a real game, but I was trying to make fun of myself), and that sort of mildly highlighted the whole time-moving-fast thing. I mean, it does feel kind of distant, but it still feels like I haven’t done anything since then ~ which is normal for me, but still. Anyway, time is just going ridiculously quickly, and that’s not so bad ~ most of life is not stuff that I care to savor. It’s pretty easy for me to wait for things now ~ an hour is nothing. I am using too many dashes ~ or am I?

So uh . . . I figured I should post because of the upcoming J&S anniversary, but I probably don’t have anything else to say. I had started toying with a remake of Super Smash Bros. Fisticuffs, which had never made it out of the demo stage anyway; I basically have the characters done now (my characters; I may still add one of the characters from Game 2 of Arpeggio, and the player is working on those sprites), and although they’re most of the game, the rest is harder because it’s decorative and unimportant. The whole point of Jumpy and Speedy was that I can’t draw and I was shoving it in people’s faces. I’ve already stolen numerous explosion sprites from I don’t even know where-all, so it’s not that hard to just steal random graphics, but the original Fisticuffs was the game where people complained about such clashing graphics, causing me to make Jumpy and Speedy. (At least, causing the graphical style; the programming part came after my other game imploded and I wanted to make something comparatively easy.) I have probably said all of this in previous entries.

Hmm . . . oh, right, so, like, the other time-related thing is that this week was spring break off of school, and that’s a bit of a problem because, although I basically have the job, as I mentioned it’s not a guarantee, and if I don’t end up getting it then I should really be back in school to avoid having to do more job hunting, but since school restarts on the same day as the various body tests . . . you get the idea. They took forever to get back to me, is the point ~ my original interview for this particular job was . . . I don’t even know how long ago. Possibly as much as two months. And the other one basically never even called me back. I mean, neither did this one originally ~ they only responded to one of my calls ~ even though they wanted to hire me. Still, not nearly as bad as all the waiting and other stuff I had to do in order to not get that airport security job. I’ll try to restrain myself from ranting about interviews.

Ehm . . . Oh, I did have more snowy pictures, didn’t I. I should get those off of my camera.

Oh, yeah, so, some random person on the Internet made some videos of my Portal 2 levels, which is pretty neat. Let’s see, how can I find a link here . . . Okay, Steam is not cooperating. I clicked it and the computer instead started a Quick Scan with my antivirus. Further clicks have had no effect. I’ll just find the guy’s first video on Youtube in my history, and you can probably find the rest of them from there. I’m not terribly Youtube-savvy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTgS74szVuk&hd=1

Anyway, the point was that I know how to use FRAPS, which is a program that records videos of computer games (it might do other things), so I might do a sort of creator Let’s Play of Jumpy and Speedy, although if I get a job then that might take a while. The main problem, though, will be privacy ~ I should have started it when I had a dorm room to myself. Perhaps first I’ll just make videos of my Portal chambers showing how to find all the hidden Companion Cubes that this guy didn’t find (he did find the first one). I can do commentary, but the thing is that my voice is very quiet . . . it probably works best to just only get input from the microphone, which mainly records my voice but also picks up a little of the actual game sound since the speakers are right there on the computer. But it would be kinda nice if I could hit a key to change between inputs . . . I wonder if FRAPS can do that.

Well, that’s probably all for now. Maybe now you see why I haven’t posted much ~ there’s really nothing to say. If anything actually interesting happens, I’ll let you know, but don’t hold your breath.

An Immodest Proposal

Now I know my whole thing is supposed to be overdoing modesty to the point of self-deprecation, but the title here is more a parody of something that you very much should know about than an actual reflection of the content. What I mean by it is that, since this is a blog and not a live conversation, I get to state a claim and not have anybody argue against it (nobody will even comment since nobody actually reads this blog, and anyone who actually does has probably heard this spiel already and will not find it very interesting).

First I will, for the purposes of this point, define “humor” as “a measurement of how funny something is.” With this, I will propose that The humor of a joke is inversely proportional to the predictability of the punchline. This may sound relatively obvious and unradical, but the important point is what I am leaving out of the equation: the actual content of the joke. Under my definition, it doesn’t matter at all what the joke is actually about; the only important part of the joke is the interplay of the elements of its content to generate unpredictability.

I must then be claiming that so-called “random humor” is the best kind of humor, yes? Well, no. You see, my definition of predictability is, once again, not concerned with the particular details of content. Because what happens when you have, say, a television program that solely employs “random humor” is that the audience very quickly learns to expect “something random” to happen ~ they are not expecting something specific, so it is not likely that they will be able to foresee the specific thing that will happen, but the program will be required to go to greater and greater lengths of unrelatedness in order to do something that will truly come as a surprise to the viewer.

Take, if you will, “the oldest joke in the book,” the chicken crossing the road. In point of fact, this joke could not possibly be the oldest one to have originated, because it is the type specimen of antihumor ~ telling a joke with a mundane, predictable punchline in order to subvert the audience’s expectation that the punchline will be funny. What the antiquity of this joke does demonstrate is that comedians have been wrestling with this problem of their jokes becoming predictable for a very long time.

And so you see, even a mundane sentence such as “The chicken crossed the road to get to the other side” can be more humorous than some fantastically well-spun gem of a joke if the latter has been heard by the audience before but the former has not. But predictability lies within the joke-teller as much as the audience, and this is the part that bad comedians do not seem to understand.

It’s about how you tell the joke, but that can mean a lot of things. There are many styles of humor, and different tastes. But here is what I am really trying to get around to:

Sex jokes are not funny, because everybody already knows the punchline. It’s right there in the name of the genre.

Of course, as it turns out, further examination will reveal that the “humor” from sex jokes really does not come from the same source as that of other jokes; rather, the fun is in breaking taboo and flaunting concepts that, as a child, we learn are not proper to bring up in public. I understand this, but for whatever reason (I guess that’s what is meant by different tastes), I still don’t find them funny.

Because I must, I will state the obvious follow-up thoughts: that in some circles, sex jokes have become so widespread that there really is no novelty in them, and no taboo being broken, and yet these people still find them funny, which is obviously the reason that they became that common in the first place; and that I am not trying to be “prudish” and reprimanding the aforementioned people: other people can do whatever they want as far as I’m concerned; I am not offended by sex jokes, but I find them humorless.

Anyway, what have I been doing since the last blog entry? Not a lot, as you probably guessed based on the lack of entries. At the moment I’m in the confusing process of potentially getting a job in the “Parks & Recreation” field which would basically be cleaning up the parks and recreation sites; as you may be aware if you’ve read previous entries, jobs have pretty much been my personal demons for a while now, so I am reluctant to assume that anything will actually work out, but what has happened so far is that I did one interview which was nice and brief, and now I’ve been called to another one. As such a simple job that is related to my only previous job experience, someone other than me would probably have a good chance at it. The confusing part is that if I don’t get the job, I have to be taking more college classes next term (don’t ask me what “have to” means), but if I do get it, I probably won’t be able to take classes, so I have to sign up for some in case I don’t get the job, but I will have to cancel them if I do. Remember how the airport job took like a year or whatever to call me back? This is the city instead of the federal government, so it won’t be quite as long, but it will take a few weeks, and Spring Break is only one week, so . . . Look, I know it doesn’t sound very complicated, but to my two-track mind, it’s hard to follow. The other part of it is that, among the classes themselves, I want to take more creative writing, but because I waited a blink of an eye before signing up for classes, all the creative writing ones are full. See, every term I get a hold put on my account (which prevents me from signing up for more classes) because I haven’t filled out a plan that says what classes I’m going to take for the next few terms, and so I have to find some professor or another to remove the hold. And when you fail as many classes as I do, there are only so many professors to whom you’re willing to talk without wanting to throw yourself down a well out of embarrassment.

Whew. Anyway, my computer is doing this weird thing where sometimes lines of text on webpages start to look all weird and crinkly, but if I hover my mouse over them they kind of change back to normal. It’s even happening with some of the text up there in parts that I’ve already written, though not all the way down here as I’m writing more. Dunno what that’s about.

Other than all that stuff, well, I left off in the middle of posting snowy pictures, and I do have more than I posted, but perhaps I’ll save the rest for next winter. It isn’t snowy here anymore, so the excitement wouldn’t quite be there. Other than that, I’ve been playing Fire Emblem 13 for the 3DS, and also remaking my attempt at a Super Smash Bros. game with Game Maker. We also occasionally play Arpeggio, I guess.

With the Smash Bros. game, the original was called Super Smash Bros. Fisticuffs and it never made it past a demo stage, but it did feature some formulae that actually produced something relatively similar to the Super Smash Bros. physics. The idea, then, was to take the better movement physics that I had developed in Jumpy and Speedy and combine them with these old formulae, and it actually worked out more or less as planned. Now, at this point I have altered the original formulae to try to get the damage and knockback numbers to be closer to the professional Smash Bros. games, but the new versions still use similar concepts, so on the whole the merger was a success. At the moment, I have four characters (Jumpy, Speedy, Judy, and Monster Mom) more or less fully programmed, and the rest of the cast is in there in terms of sprites and sound effects (except that I need better voice clips for Noshi), but I haven’t programmed their actual attacks yet. What I am attempting to do with this game is define my goal for the completed game as very sparse ~ basically no single-player adventure mode, and no items ~ because that means that I’m already rather close to completion. I’m approaching the project very tentatively, in short, because I don’t quite want to get sucked into full programming mode again yet ~ it’s nice not having anything to do.

As for Arpeggio, I can’t remember how many times we’ve played since the last blog entry, but one of the players is going to attempt to draw sprites for his player character so that I can add the character into Fisticuffs, so that’s a thing. I also can’t remember which other RPGs had been started by the last blog entry, but let’s just say that among the players, the concept has rather caught on. Every player of Game 2 of Arpeggio has now proposed an RPG system of his or her own, and they have reached varying levels of preparation and play. The actual people have been rather occupied as of late, but such is the fluctuating continuum.

Fire Emblem: Awakening is impressive in all respects other than the lack of an ability to battle your friends. I was looking forward to that, but the game is by no means a disappointment. And like all Fire Emblem games, it has tons of replay value.

I suppose I’ve yapped enough. Perhaps I’ll post the rest of the pictures next time. If not, something else will have happened that I want to talk about. I did say that my cousin is in Japan, right? I probably did.

Let It

Yeah, I guess I should have posted sooner or something. Whatever. Anyway, I have lots more snowy pictures. <3

I guess I'll start out with Christmas since it was chronologically first. I did actually take down my LEGO Christmas display last year, so this is it set back up again. I used an actual Christmas tree instead of seaweed, but the paperclip decorations are the same ones.

I guess I’ll start out with Christmas since it was chronologically first. I did actually take down my LEGO Christmas display last year, so this is it set back up again. I used an actual Christmas tree instead of seaweed, but the paperclip decorations are the same ones.

My mom told us to go easy on Christmas presents this year, and not to ask for anything too expensive. Then she bought us this many presents.

My mom told us to go easy on Christmas presents this year, and not to ask for anything too expensive. Then she bought us this many presents.

She is psychotic, but this was actually intentional.

She is psychotic, but this was actually intentional.

I actually took pictures of almost every present that everybody else opened (not mine, though, since I was holding the camera), but I won't bore you with them. Suffice to say I pretty much got everything I asked for, except for snow on Christmas. But as you can see, we got plenty on other days.

I actually took pictures of almost every present that everybody else opened (not mine, though, since I was holding the camera), but I won’t bore you with them. Suffice to say I pretty much got everything I asked for, except for snow on Christmas. But as you can see, we got plenty on other days.

We went to that same spot to go sledding again. Twice, actually. The first time, on my last trip down the hill, I had the most epic wipeout ever. I was literally leaving claw marks in the snow behind me, but it wasn't slowing me down.

We went to that same spot to go sledding again. Twice, actually. The first time, on my last trip down the hill, I had the most epic wipeout ever. I was literally leaving claw marks in the snow behind me, but it wasn’t slowing me down.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to get good pictures of such things. This ride was a little smoother.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get good pictures of such things. This ride was a little smoother.

My dad went too. He's fifty-something, but of course he was actually in shape at my age.

My dad went too. He’s fifty-something, but of course he was actually in shape at my age.

They added new bathrooms. Which isn't terribly interesting, but it's cool to see that much snow on top of there. And none of it's yellow.

They added new bathrooms. Which isn’t terribly interesting, but it’s cool to see that much snow on top of there. And none of it’s yellow.

Here's a snowman . . .

Here’s a snowman . . .

. . . and this is the second time we went, and the green cooler thing is sitting on what's left of the same snowman. Well, we call it a cooler, but we were keeping hot cider in it. It retains heat surprisingly well.

. . . and this is the second time we went, and the green cooler thing is sitting on what’s left of the same snowman. Well, we call it a cooler, but we were keeping hot cider in it. It retains heat surprisingly well.

There were several of these fire pits the second time. I'm not sure how much the fire melted the snow versus how much they had to actually dig, but we spent a good fifteen minutes trying to fill in a hole on the sliding hill that wasn't there last time. Bumps much smaller than this pit have . . . severe consequences.

There were several of these fire pits the second time. I’m not sure how much the fire melted the snow versus how much they had to actually dig, but we spent a good fifteen minutes trying to fill in a hole on the sliding hill that wasn’t there last time. Bumps much smaller than this pit have . . . severe consequences.

There's my dad again. We also had a polar bear sled that went a lot faster than the tubes. At one point we tied a tube on top of it, which worked fairly well.

There’s my dad again. We also had a polar bear sled that went a lot faster than the tubes. At one point we tied a tube on top of it, which worked fairly well.

This I just thought was kind of cool for some reason . . .

This I just thought was kind of cool for some reason . . .

This was a little rear path to the top of the hill. I don't really think it's any less winding to go this way, but it looked like it would make a nice picture.

This was a little rear path to the top of the hill. I don’t really think it’s any less winding to go this way, but it looked like it would make a nice picture.

Close-up. The second time we went, the snow still looked just as fluffy as the first time, but it was actually icier, and some of it was falling off the trees.

Close-up. The second time we went, the snow still looked just as fluffy as the first time, but it was actually icier, and some of it was falling off the trees.

That's it for now. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, other holidays, and . . . may the snow be with you.

That’s it for now. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, other holidays, and . . . may the snow be with you.