Journal Archives - November 16-30, 2001
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November 16, 2001 ... Ah, sleep. Glorious sleep. Or the lack thereof, at any rate. I stayed up way too late playing Diablo, and it's now the following morning, and we are getting SUNSHINE for the first time in a month. The sky is blue, and patched with spotty clouds, proper clouds, not paint-the-sky-grey monsters. I went outside and the light literally hurt my eyes. It was thrilling. So, you see, now I can't sleep, because I have to enjoy the sunshine while it's there to be enjoyed.
Of course, given my general mental state recently, I'm not sure that adding a bit more sleep-dep to the mix will make things any worse. Let me give you a brief example -- a transcription of a phone call earlier today:
Me: Good afternoon.See what I mean? Those are not the words of a brain firing on all cylinders. Fortunately, however, the universe has learned to compensate for my being brain-dead by providing me with a supply of extremely weird things for me to amuse myself with. I am very easily amused when brain-dead.
For evidence of that last statement -- as if it needed to be proved -- you need look no farther than this. I amused myself on Wednesday night by photoshopping together the Leaping Kitty and Tourist Guy. I so amused myself that I ultimately ended up submitting three more pictures, of various subjects, in Fark's daily Photoshop competition thingies. I even seriously considered adding a "Photoshopped" section to my art pages, until I finally allowed myself to remember that it's virtually impossible to explain the necessary in-jokes to fully appreciate that sort of work out of context. (I may well, however, post them in the soon-to-be-created "Art Room" board in my forums.)
At least I ended the week on a productive note, despite my lack of
sleep. I dealt with a number of financial issues -- following up on a
loan application; requesting a fee waiver from the hospital I recently
visited for an ultrasound; talking with the Department of Labor and
Industries to clarify a few points about my worker's comp claim for my
RSI; and going downtown to pick up the paycheck I earned while
Then I went downstairs, played Final Fantasy Tactics, and found a way to sometimes interrupt an enemy's turn (and prevent their intended action) by shooting one of your own men in the back. It's amazing what the universe gives me to be amused at sometimes.
November 17, 2001 ... I returned home from my adventure today at about 1 in the afternoon. I hugged Erin hello in the kitchen and joined in the conversation going on there. Tim took one look at me and asked, "I take it you spent the morning volunteering for some park cleanup project or something?"
"Yes -- how did you know?" I replied.
He smiled and said, "That's usually how one gets a T-shirt that reads 'Friends of Cowen Park.'"
It started when I wrote yesterday's journal entry this morning. Over the course of the typing, I was enthusing about the sunshine, and Erin kept trying to persuade me to get off the computer, go outside, and enjoy it like I said I wanted to. (Of course, she had ulterior motives, in that she wanted to use the computer, but that's neither here nor there.) I finally got everything cleaned up, grabbed a coat, and headed out of the house around 9:00 AM. The sky was spotted with clouds, but the sun was shining brightly, filling me with a warm glow despite the chill of the air. I headed north, intending to walk through Cowen Park on my way to the urban wilderness of Ravenna, so that I could sit quietly in contemplation and enjoy the sunshine. On my way through the park, though, I got distracted by someone throwing a Frisbee around, and subsequently by a big pile of mulch sitting in the middle of the path. I mean a big pile of mulch -- about 30 cubic yards. A man -- I quickly learned his name was David -- was hauling some wheelbarrows and pitchforks out to the stack, so I asked him what it was for. "We're moving it as fill underneath where the new merry-go-round will go," he said. "Want to help move it?" On impulse, I replied "Sure."
I ended up carting wheelbarrows, shoveling wood chips, and raking down the carousel-area-to-be for over three hours. At first, it was just David and I; then a woman named Penny (apparently David's wife, although I never asked) joined us, shoveling while David and I moved the carts; and then, as the morning wore on, several dozen people appeared, seemingly out of the woodwork, turning the project into a real community effort. (That explained the little canopy they'd set up with a sign-up table.) I noticed, when I went to sign in halfway through, that I was one of the few people to contribute more than an hour of work; however, even before I had "formally" committed myself to the project at all, I knew I was in it for the long haul.
Because I was happy to be doing the work. "A refuge never grows / from a chin in a hand and a thoughtful pose / Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose," sing the Indigo Girls, and I think that was why my heart was singing as I labored. The point of my excursion was to enjoy the sun, yes, but mostly to reconnect while the weather was good enough for me to enjoy being outside again. And I don't connect with the earth by sitting down and twiddling my thumbs -- I connect through motion. And certainly, I could have just walked on and hiked around Ravenna for a while ... but beyond simply connecting, beyond making me satisfied, I had a chance to help out my community at the same time. I had the chance to build something. I made a difference.
It took me some time, and the help of several friends, to figure it out, but I think I can positively state what my passion is, what really, deeply drives me: my passion is to create. I am a builder. I want to make things better, to develop, to innovate. So helping out at Cowen Park was a win-win-win situation -- I got to reconnect; I got to build; and the Friends of Cowen Park got three man-hours closer to installing a merry-go-round. I don't doubt that, in the months to come, I will visit that playground, sit on the carousel with friends, and tell them with a smile, "I helped build this."
That, or I can just wear the T-shirt I bought.
November 18, 2001 ... The skies held steady through the weekend; I looked outside the window on Monday morning, shortly after dawn, and the world was being pelted with raindrops again.
What a depressing start to the work week.
November 20, 2001 ... Well, so much for that "one post per day" pledge. I suppose I can't feel too guilty about it, because I am definitely sick -- runny nose, fatigue, and all -- but it's still something of a letdown not to meet the challenge I had set out for myself. I guess I could still technically meet the spirit of BaMoJoEnt by pointing out that I've been on a 48-hour-cycle since Saturday, and therefore I'm currently 19 for 18 instead of 19 for 20. Or I could just grit my teeth and write two journal entries someday this week.
In the meantime, I am -- as previously stated -- sick, and so I will present you with some mindless fluff to browse through and squeak excitedly. I'll start with some of the things that entertained me today. First of all, a neighbor loaned us a tape of Jhonen Vasquez' series "Invader Zim". It was full of much moosey goodness. The house consensus was that Gir -- the nutty-as-a-Californian robot sidekick, who often dresses up in a dog costume and is secretly a raver -- was the coolest character in the show, but I have to admit being partial to Dib, the maniacal-yet-dedicated Earth kid who takes it upon himself to single-handedly defend Earth from Zim's mighty plots.
The show itself was very classic Jhonen. In my opinion, he managed to not only translate his unique style from sequential art to animated art very well, but he also did it within the constraints of a children's show. "Zim" is morbid and cynical without being adult. Take, for example, the bitter rivalry that develops between Zim and Dib, who are classmates at Skool; Zim, in the first episode we watched, tried to turn Dib into a giant piece of bologna by splicing his DNA. The plot ended up affecting them both, and the two characters ended up as giant sausages sitting on a sofa taunting each other. Fun, and weird, while somehow light and fluffy.
Next, we have The Reincarnation Game, which occupied the entirety of my morning today. In this disturbingly addictive clickfest, you travel through successive lives in a pseudo-feudal Eastern kingdom. The game is very tightly knit -- most encounters that occur throughout your lifetimes, you will eventually experience from the perspective of both (or all!) parties involved. Here's some challenges to get you started: Can you successfully steal the Crown Jewels? Can you incarnate as pond scum? Can you meet the Crown Prince face to face as a humble rice farmer? Can you write a religious text that destroys the empire? Be persistent, and don't get stuck in the same patterns over and over again. "It is early in the Age of the North Wind ..."
"... and you are reborn a rice peasant. The winter is harsh. You die of the plague." I think that's my cue to go get my ailing body some life-affirming sleep.
November 21, 2001 ... I think I'm going to have to call this one another sick day. Bleagh.
While I'm referring you to other people's deep thoughts, you may want to read about Rene's introduction to magic. "What does real-world magic do?" came up in my forums a few weeks ago, and that's a good perspective on the question.
Ahem. Anyway, with my bloggish tripe dispensed with for the day, I'll make with the opinionating.
I woke up this morning to the sounds of my radio. There were the usual ads, in between blocks of music and DJ blathering, and it was while trying to tune out one of those ads that I heard ... jingle bells. (Not the song, the implement. Although I don't see as how that's much better.) Happy freakin' holidays, everyone. We have now reached the time of year when I can no longer listen to the radio.
It starts with the ads. (It always starts with the ads, because basically every second of airtime on commercial radio is designed to make you buy something, and ads are liberated by not having to keep up the pretenses.) First thing Thanksgiving morning, the Christmas ads get green-lighted. Then the jolly references to "the holiday spirit" and suggestions of mass movement of merchandising. Then ... the songs. Now, I'm biased here, because I'm a confessed humbug; but I don't think you have to hate Christmas in order to hate the music that comes along with it. Let's take a similar example here to explain why. Say that you're a devotee of '80s and '90s rock, as many people of my generation are. Now say that you turn on the radio in May, only to discover that May has been named National Disco Month -- and nowhere you look on the dial can you find anything but '70s disco; new-wave 'retro' disco; sappy pop adaptations of classic disco hits; and country songs titled "My Woman Left Me, My House Burned Down, My Dog Bit The Mailman, But I'm Stayin' Alive." This is the situation facing every person in America come November 23rd, in a 32-day endurance test, as every radio station across the country starts spinning unbearable rehashes of "holiday music" into their repertoire. Every year. Without fail.
So I will be participating in my annual radio boycott, to every possible extent. (This is the time of year that I am vastly relieved to have a music collection of 600+ CDs, not a single one of which contains any song more Christmassy than a rousing instrumental rendition of "Greensleeves.") I will also probably try, as usual, to lock myself in the house as much as dragonly possible; but, unfortunately, it's kind of hard to avoid dealing with such trivialities as "shopping" and "looking for work", 'holiday spirit' or no 'holiday spirit.'
Bah. *hack, spit*
... Yes, yes, it is Thanksgiving, and I'd better acknowledge it lest I come off looking like an incorrigible grump: I am thankful for the same things as I was last year. I ate a faux-turkey dinner with my housemates, watched movies, and caught up on my regular webcomic reads. Compared to the other years of my adult life, this one's contained more than its share of stress, pain, and financial hardship ... but I've made it through, and I'm here reflecting on my life via the medium that will revolutionize the world in the 21st century (and, in many ways, already has). So I don't think I've done badly, relative to the human condition.
I hope you and yours are well, too.
November 23, 2001 ... What is it with me lately? In the last few weeks, I have pulled at least three proper all-nighters -- not just "going to bed after dawn due to getting bogged down in work," but the all-out "substitute work for sleep and clock in 40 consecutive hours of more-or-less full functionality before going to sleep at regular bedtime the following day," which I haven't done in years. I've been falling behind on my laundry, and my bed is surrounded by heaps of wadded clothing (clean on the right, dirty on the left). My diet consists largely of macaroni and cheese, microwave burritos, and ramen, and today I found myself cooking up the cheapest possible pizza (2 for $5.00 -- those vaguely edible Mama Rosa's things you can find in supermarket delis). In short, I am relapsing into college student-hood.
Finances can explain some of the behaviors -- the diet, and to some extent, my ability to pull all-nighters (regular employment is not conducive to that sort of schedule bastardry) -- but none of the details. Location would be a convenient excuse -- after all, I do live some 7 blocks from the University of Washington -- except that I don't actually know any U-Dub students, or even roommates of students. I could probably blame the Invisible Pink Unicorn, but it's not her scheduled time for non-sequiturial scapegoating: I believe the chupacabra is on the clock for that.
At any rate, tomorrow ... err ... today (since I'm getting this entry in about 24 hours late, having -- as I mentioned -- not slept since yesterday morning, therefore technically making this entry on time) is Erin's birthday. I'll be taking her out, along with a group of roommates and friends, to see "Harry Potter" at a local theater. I keep hearing good things about it ... well, if nothing else, it's 2 hours and 45 minutes long; we'll undoubtedly be getting our money's worth.
November 24, 2001 ... Today was Erin's birthday, and as a present, most of the house -- including me -- escorted her out to see "Harry Potter" at the Cinerama. Something tells me that today's post is going to become a movie review, no matter what else I try to think of to say; so I'll yield gracefully to the urge, and talk about "Princess Mononoke," which I saw for the first time last night.
The following contains heavy plot spoilers, if that sort of thing matters to you.
The movie is ostensibly about the fractured relationship between the title character and Ashitaka, the protagonist -- but, really, that's one small facet of the movie's arching theme, the ambivalence of living in a human world. The struggle of mankind is at once the struggle between (bad) civilization and (good) wilderness and the struggle between (good) civilization and (bad) savagery. "Princess Mononoke" simultaneously lays out that dilemma on two levels, the personal and the epic, against the backdrop of a mythologically rich pre-feudal Japan.
On the personal level, the film revolves around the rivalries of its three principal characters: San, Ashitaka, and Eboshi. San is the human face of the wilderness; she is called "Princess Mononoke" (princess of the spirits) because she was, well, raised by wolves, and lives a feral life out in the wilderness with them. Lady Eboshi is the mayor of Iron Town, a huge manufacturing city that clears the forest and mines the iron from the surrounding hills, fashioning them into rifles to feed a growing military force. Ashitaka was the young prince of a tribe of outlanders when he killed a demon that was threatening his village; as it died, its unyielding hatred infected him with a deadly curse, which he desperately seeks a cure for before his soul is consumed and he himself turns into a demon. San wants to kill Eboshi because her town is destroying San's wilderness. Eboshi wants to kill San, and the other intelligent beasts of the forest, because they are a constant threat to her workers and her plans. Ashitaka wants to stop both of them, because (in the form of the curse) he's suffering from the consequences of their fight, and wants to keep them from the same fate.
On the epic level, the forest and Iron Town are themselves characters. The primal force of the wilderness is a Forest God who, at night, turns into an enormous avatar, towering over mountains and walking the land. The primal force of Iron Town is the armies and war which it drags in its wake. The two clash at the movie's climax, leaving almost nothing standing. Meanwhile, Ashitaka is his own epic -- the curse grants him the strength of ten men, and he spends a fair amount of the movie deflecting arrows with his bare hands and shrugging off mortal wounds. He is also, significantly, a dead man searching for his resurrection -- he was exiled from his tribe and pronounced dead once the effects of the curse were discovered. His role is to provide hope; both San and Eboshi (and their respective forces) are committed to dying for their cause, and Ashitaka has to race against time to provide an alternative. In the end, the events occurring on the epic scale are too momentous to stop, but he does save both of his fellow protagonists on the personal scale. The struggle between machine and nature cannot be resolved, but we can find, on a personal level, our balance and our salvation.
Anyway, it's a great movie. Exceptionally well animated, very deep, and provocative (in a mental way, you perv). You can stop reading now if you don't care for my typical habit of viewing everything through draconic eyes.
That having been said, I am completely unprepared for how little attention Mononoke gets in Otherkin circles.
Its protagonist is stuck between two worlds, knowing that if he gives up one to join the other, the conflict between the two will tear him (and everything he knows!) apart and destroy his soul. The people around him think he's crazy for proposing that humans and nature should coexist. Meanwhile, San -- who was raised in a world that she doesn't really fit in to, species-wise -- has dedicated her life to saving the natural world, and spends most of the movie declaring her undying hatred of humanity's forest-destroying, power-mad ways. I ask you, Is that the quintessential Otherkin experience, or what? And yet, in both furry circles and Otherkin circles, whenever the movie comes up, it's in passing. A quick "go see this movie", or an out-of-context quote ("Trees grew ring upon ring, tall and strong, in forests primeval. Their roots and leaves sheltered eons of gods and beasts. ... And then came man. - Princess Mononoke") in a signature file, or some enthusing about the general state of anime. Heck, a Google search for "mononoke otherkin" returns only four completely irrelevant results. Has nobody pointed out yet how eloquently the movie deals with the fundamental issues that we, as therianthropes, confront? Didn't anyone else have a chill run up their spine when San shouted at Ashitaka, "Don't get any closer, I hate humans! All of them!" only to have him quietly respond "You are also human," causing her to scream at him to shut up? Haven't there been any long-winded discussions yet on the forest apes' desire, halfway through the movie, to kill and eat Ashitaka in order to become more human -- to trade away their wildness in exchange for humanity's power?
I don't know. Maybe it's just the case that not enough Otherkin have seen it to reach critical discussion mass on the forums I frequent. If that's the case, I'd like to urge you all to go out and rent a copy -- it's fully in English; translated by Neil Gaiman and released, unchanged, by Disney for U.S. markets -- and give it a watch. You won't be disappointed.
I'll leave you with a few links if you want to find out more about the movie -- heaven knows they were invaluable to me for research while I was writing this. http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/mh/faq.html has a FAQ about the movie background and technical details, and is where I found out that Neil Gaiman translated the English version of "Mononoke Hime." The script (a translation of the original Japanese version -- which is basically identical to the U.S. version, but not word-for-word accurate to it) is at http://www.mv.com/users/ctwilkes/. And, on a slightly different note, the Furry Films list (which gave Mononoke their highest rating, 4 claws) is a good resource guide to movies with anthropomorphic animal characters or furry themes. Maybe it'll be a good place to start if someone wants to come up with an Otherkin movie list ...
November 26, 2001 ... Huh. I think I somehow managed to skip a day again through weird sleep schedule mechanics. This doesn't bode well for my post-a-day efforts.
I'd write more, but I'm deep in the middle of trying to plan the TTU story collage. I've somehow managed to get a week behind on just about everything in my life; might as well try to catch up piecewise, because there's not much other way to go about it.
November 27, 2001 ... The roommates put "Princess Mononoke" into the VCR this evening; as such, I got to watch it again. I think I've now decided which quote from the movie I would like to put in my next signature file:
"He's a brainless, life-sucking god of death. At sunrise, he'll vanish like a bad dream." -- Jigo, from Princess Mononoke
I don't have much enthusiasm for post-writing tonight. I'd be simply ignoring the computer and going to sleep, except that I guess I'm still trying, in my own amusing little way, to adhere to the "post-a-day" schedule I pledged to do at the beginning of the month. Of course, there's no challenge in simply making a post every day -- an "I'm still here" or even just a random letter of the alphabet would technically fulfill the criteria. The challenge is in coming up with interesting posts. Worthwhile ones. Posts not like this one, in other words. As such, I'll change the subject.
... Or just quit and go to bed. Boy, writer's block sure has it in for me bad tonight.
November 28, 2001 ... Today, we went through the second day of a 72-hour plumbing marathon. Our landlords are having a bunch of new pipes installed -- sorely needed, those -- but the work has gone slower than expected; for whatever reason, the one-day job they promised us has gradually been drawn out to cover most of a work week. Thank goodness that they've been able to do most of the installation while leaving the water turned on -- three days with no showers or toilets would throw this house (or any other) into a state of panic.
The pipe-laying was a good impetus to get some actual housecleaning done. For the first time in months, the area around our washer/dryer is clear. I don't have stuff stacked on top of my downstairs computer (the MkLinux box, out in the hall). And the downstairs door isn't blocked by an upturned sofa, like it has been since Dave moved in -- we just plumb ran out of places to store the furniture, and in front of the door we weren't using was literally the place for it that caused the least additional fire hazard.
The gerbils (aka "snake food and sons") have also gotten moved upstairs, which has been the source of some amusement. Specifically, Amber the cat has been observed several times now lying down contentedly on top of the cloth draped over the gerbil cages. We know she knows what she's doing, because she's taken to spending hours every day in front of the gerbils lately, staring hungrily at them when she thinks nobody's watching.
Of course, I can't blame her for perching on the gerbil cage -- it's in the back corner of the rec room, about as far away as it's possible to get from the plumbing work while still remaining inside the house. The plumbers are using some tools I simply don't recognize, and it's weirding out both me and the cats. They've got one tool, probably a metal cutter or some such, which sounds for all the world like a whistling teapot. I keep wanting to run into the kitchen and take the water off the stove every time they build a new section of pipe.
For that matter, maybe some hot tea would be a good thing. It sleeted this morning. Full-blown wet snow, pounding down on the ground with heavy thuds yet zig-zagging through the air in the morning's gusty winds. I guess that marks Seattle's yearly transition to honest-to-goodness winter.
The plumbers moved my bicycle -- which was blocking the downstairs door, crammed in under the overhang for shelter from the elements -- out into the rain when they started working today. I wheeled it around to the (much larger) front porch, to keep it from getting any wetter; however, with winter upon us, for all the good the bike will do me, I might as well move it into my room.
November 29, 2001 ... I got to play household hero today. The plumbers came and went, leaving bright shiny pipes behind like spoor. Appropriately enough, shit happened ... and I just happened to be within leaping distance of the fan at the time.
I was downstairs mucking around with "RPG Maker" on the Playstation when a strange hissing noise built up from the corner to my right. I looked up, at the new pipe hugging the ceiling, and to my dismay saw water streaking down the wall, and a thin beam of it spraying out into the air. Now, because the basement is a cold place, and I was sitting down there for the long haul to play games, I happened to be wearing some cotton work gloves as hand insulation. Thinking fast, I leapt to my feet, shucked a glove, and wrapped it around the pipe.
Cold water was no longer spraying into the air, but that had by no means fixed the problem. My first thought was to dash over to my computer equipment, fifteen feet away, and grab the tarp that had been covering it; I returned to the site of the leak and spread the tarp, which did nothing about the water but kept the huge piles of stuff on the desk underneath the crisis zone from getting soaked. Having bought just enough time in my race against the cascading water to leave my post, I informed the nearest roommate -- who happened to be Erin -- of our plight, and looked for ways to minimize the damage while she was trying to find a more permanent solution.
I ran to the laundry room, overturned a 20-gallon Tupperware bin that was serving as a hamper, and placed it under the dripping water. Now, at least, we had the situation contained. Erin improved the setup by removing stuff from the desk so that the bin could sit there by itself, instead of having to be held ... and from there on out, it was merely a battle of wits.
Sarah, once informed of the situation, found our water main and attempted to shut off the flow to the mortally wounded pipe. Erin went to our upstairs neighbors (for that was who the new pipes had been installed for) to warn them that their water supply was going to be broken. I grabbed the Yellow Pages to look up the name of the plumbers who had done the work -- they had been hired by our landlords, hadn't left a business card or any paperwork, and nobody could remember quite what the name on their van was. Nevertheless, thanks to my diligent searching and a flash of memory on Sarah's part, I found the company on my first call. After ten minutes on hold while they tracked down the plumbers who'd been to our house and done the work, the company bade them back to our house, and promised they'd arrive within the hour.
That left nothing to do but wait and continue to play triage. So I shrugged, sat down in front of the Playstation -- conveniently located eight feet away from the trouble zone -- and plugged away diligently at RPG Maker, making certain that someone was on call near the bad pipe in case of further developments, until the plumbers arrived. I did get up once to enlist Erin's aid in emptying the half-full bin, but it was an otherwise uneventful vigil.
Thanks to the fact of me having been in the basement when the problem arose.
The moral of the story is: Who says that no good can come from sitting around and playing games? Here, it saved us several hundred dollars in water damage.
November 30, 2001 ... Ah. The 30th. The end of BaMoJoEnt. A time to reflect on the 13,500 words that my daily ramblings have wandered through. A time to sum up the daily-entry experience, gather my lessons from the process, pay silent homage to those who have written four times as much, and figure out how to enliven December. A time to ...
*a breathless Tomorrowlands intern dashes into the newsroom, hands Baxil a piece of paper, and runs away screaming*
A time to grit our teeth and deal with crises, it seems.
Remember that narrowly averted disaster yesterday, when the newly installed water pipe split a seam and only my quick action (and video game consumption) saved us from a thorough flooding? It seems that the pipe in question was rather a poor loser. Misty came home from work and went into her room, only to find a soaked carpet and a strange hissing noise from the storage area behind her closet. She opened up the storage's door and stepped inside, only to be greeted with a quarter-inch of water covering the floor and an oddly familiar pipe spraying liquid all over the place. The new leak, an improperly soldered joint, was less than eight inches away from yesterday's, right on the other side of the wall.
Triage was too little, too late. We did get the water shut off, and called the plumbing company who apparently had botched the initial job twice; it was after hours, so they sent a different plumber in for the repair, and he promptly got stuck in rush-hour traffic (and would later get lost on the way to our house). In the meantime, we discovered that -- beyond the storage room's flooding and the decimation of at least a bookcase's worth of stuff -- enough water had seeped under the walls to soak the carpets of both Misty's and Sarah's rooms, and start spreading out into the hall, as well. We're still assessing the damage. I, at least, have renter's insurance, so the actual financial loss may not be as bad as first feared ... but that remains to be seen, and for now, everyone's just dealing with the headache. (And the screaming. And the sobbing. Some more than others.)
Tim suggested, once everyone had recovered and gotten their perspective back, an interesting hypothesis: that God, having already visited upon our house the plagues of famine (an increasing lack of edible food in the pantry), war ("The Food War" -- don't ask), locusts (or at least really big spiders), and disease (the latest round of the flu), has now moved on to the next one on the list, flooding. (Tim further suggests that He is angry with us because of my wholly blasphemous and reprehensible Chibi Jesus page. I pointed out that a more likely reason, given God's decision to miraculously spare Tim's box of hard-to-find out-of-print books while destroying the one box that he was both unprepared and completely unwilling to lose, is that He is merely a sadistic git.)
This series of localized plagues, while fraught with hardship, has at least been tolerable so far. I dare say, however, that things are really going to start to suck once we get to the bit about slaughtering firstborn sons.
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