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It's Dangerous to Go Alone; Take This Below are 25 entries, after skipping 25 most recent ones in the "Marshall Arts" journal:

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October 12th, 2014
10:19 pm
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Update Pt. 2 - So lemme tell ya about what happened at school last week
DISCLAIMER - At no point am I trying to be braggadocios or trying to gossip. At no point am I trying to pass myself off as brave or even competent. I am simply retelling events as they occurred in my eyes. I will re-retell these events for my Kung Fu friends on our forum in a slightly different way, I'm simply putting it on here first because
A: The laptop has a problem with the cursor jumping while I'm typing
B: It also has a problem with going back a page or three at a time randomly (that may be user error and me effing with the mouse), losing information and LJ has an auto "Save Draft" function every time you pause a sentence
C: It's easier for me to remember it all in this way
I would not be writing this at all if I had not talked to the other person involved and gotten his OK, knowing now that everything is relatively fine, and I also believe he only gave me that OK because I was actually there and witnessed what happened.

So. I was telling you about Funeral Service Education. We have four classes a week, two each day, but we actually have five in total. To make sure we wouldn't have all five midterm tests in one day, Mrs. Smith gave us one on Wednesday the 1st.
So after the test, everyone was allowed to leave. If you're not familiar with the Jeff State campus, the Harold C. Martin Career Education Building (also known as the drafting, veterinary, and funeral building) is three parking lots downhill from everything else on campus. I called Liz and told her I was done but needed to go print some things in the computer lab first, so I'd just meet her where up front where she usually dropped me off. I put my earbuds in and was already up the hill in the next parking lot when I heard it.

Even through the music, I heard it. If you've ever heard a gunshot before, you know what it is. It's not a firecracker. It's not a car backfiring.
But I turned around anyway and yelled WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!?
I see one of my friends backing away from his rear car door, holding his... arm? maybe? an he yells back "GUNSHOT!"

One of our other friends who was abut to leave with him yanks he car back into the parking lot and helps him back into the building. In the, three? Five seconds that I've watched this happen, a lot has gone on in my head.
Gunshot? He didn't say gunshot. Holy shit, he said gunshot. Did he shoot himself? No one's around to shoot him, he shot himself. With what, he must have a gun in his car. What do I do?

So I did the only logical thing to do and I ran back inside to help in any way that I could.
When you enter our building, you enter on the second floor. I saw the blood on the ground and floor but couldn't tell which way it was going, and out of instinct I ran to the basement where our classes are held. I saw our teacher in her office with another student talking about grades and other funeral stuff.
WHERE THE FUCK IS [name redacted]?!?
"Hush that up," she yelled back. "He's done, he went outside."
No, he shot himself!
"What, gunshots?!?"
And she went kinda apes, because she heard "gun" and put it together with "school" and "one of her students" and that's just where her mind went, but I presume she was ready to even put herself in danger if it called for it. Thank God it didn't.
We ran back upstairs and the guy and girl were coming out of the bathroom, he had washed his hand and wrapped it in paper towels and blood and water was dripping everywhere. My teacher doesn't curse and had just gotten on to me for it but she saw that and yelled "HOLY SHIT!!!"
The girl was already calling 911 which routed to our campus police. Luckily, the veterinary classes had ice and gauze and we could wrap his hand tight and we were able to call his mother.

The EMTs showed up and I asked the girl if she was going to the hospital with him. She said she would if he asked, so I got outta there. It took a day or three for me to find out just how lucky he was, but I used my Facebook stalking skills and became friends on there with some cool folks from class who clued me in to what went down other than what I already knew from witnessing it.
He had told us Wednesday that he was moving the gun from his console to his backpack. He didn't know why it was primed and it went off.
I don't own guns, I don't judge people who do (except I dunno why you would have so many assault rifles unless you were in the military or somethin'). With the exception of a .22 when I was a kid, I've fired about ten guns in my life and that was all in one day. I don't know shit about guns or gun discipline except what I practiced that one time 'cause I don't have one to practice it all the time. What I do know is that to shoot himself through the hand, he had to have his hand in front of the barrel. Shit happens.
It didn't hit him anywhere else. Just his hand. From what I understand, it came close to his head on the exit, but we'll never really know I guess. It didn't hit anyone else. Just him. It also (presumably) went into the woods next to the road and didn't end up hitting someone's car or house.
The lucky thing is that the bullet went right through his hand without blowing out the back and destroying his flippin' hand in the process. No bones destroyed, very little surgery needed and a bit of a skin graft.

He's lucky as hell. Haha, "lucky." That's at least twice I've used that word in a row, but I don't know what else to say. I suppose he still would have been fine if no one else were around. If the girl had left already, if the teachers hadn't been alerted to his problem, if I had just moseyed on up to the student center and got a Mountain Dew and Kit Kat before priting my stuff off. He could have gone inside, called 911 himself, went into the veterinary office himself. But [fate, kharma, God, whatever] threw us all in together at the right time and we all helped because not only do we all care about each other in our class (at least a little, heh) human nature compels us to invest ourselves and stay far the hell away from other's tragedy, both at the same time, and on this day we decided we could all pitch in a little.
I say "we" did all this. The truth is that I didn't really do shit. I sat back and watched.
I'm sure that like me, a lot of you have lied awake, late at night, wondering when your "Superman Moment" will come, when you'll get to play the Hero. I've been working the punching bag and often fantasized about some no-armed SOB starting some crap with me. Or maybe that moment you stop a bully? Tell them to piss off? You never truly know how you'll react in a crisis situation until it happens.
I didn't do anything.
Not because I was afraid, but because everyone around me was already so afraid they wanted to fix the problem so quickly and it seemed there were too many cooks stirring the pot. If I tried to jump in and say, HEY EVERYBODY! Let's calm down, let him calm down, breathe, focus, the medics are on their way. They would have thought I was nuts.
I believe he needed that at the time and looking back I wish I had done it. When I first saw him come out of the bathroom, I immediately could tell that his pain receptors were off and his adrenaline was up, and he was angry... probably most angry at himself [if you're reading this and I'm wrong, please tell me]. He's a happy guy most of the time, you'd call him a teddy bear, but then you see this ball of rage, complaining about his opposite hand hurting because he's having to put pressure on the injured hand, it's the kind of pain that hits you but you don't care because you're so angry you got hurt you could feasibly fight through it and hurt yourself worse. I'm sure there's a term for it, but I dunno what.

I'll be most happy though when he's back in class and we can look back on it and laugh. I think I'm gonna call him "Quick Draw."

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

12:25 am
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Update Pt. 1 - After One Week of Work in a Funeral Home (plus all the trimmins')
For those that don't know, there are (I'm almost positive) only two schools in the State of Alabama that have a Funeral Service Education course. One is Jeff State, an the other is in Mobile somewhere. I thought both Shelton State and University of Alabama at Huntsville offered but apparently it's not a popular course.
ALSO! Before you begin your courses (the actual Funeral Service courses, not the pre-courses like I took during Spring and Summer semester), you MUST be a VALID LICENSED APPRENTICE at a funeral home. Somewhere. Doesn't even matter if it's nearby or not. Just be an apprentice. You don't even have to work, I don't think. You just gotta have that piece of paper that says you're someone's apprentice an then they let you in school.

I used up EIGHT HUNDRED MINUTES on the phone that had rolled over since I got this phone, all this Summer, calling every god damned funeral home in Jefferson County, and a few in Shelby and Tuscaloosa, too. Every single one said "We don't need you." A few said "Send me your resume." Two said "Come in and see us!"
Neither of those two gave me a job.

I was in the middle of a debacle with school's financial aid when one guy in Dora (which is 30 miles away) called me back and said "We'll take you."
He hired me. I got my apprenticeship, even though his office sat on the papers for almost two weeks before mailing them in to Montgomery an it was literally the day school started that I got notice from the Alabama Board of Funeral Directors that I was an apprentice and I missed the first class, but that's beside the point.
We were on our way back from signing some papers at the Dora funeral home on morning. Liz was asking how in the hell I expected us to get up, drop me off, and her have to come home in time to take her mom and sister to work and school, too?
I dunno. We'll just gotta bull through this Greek tragedy like we do everything else.
Then I got a phone call from Mark Sims. Mark's the operator/manager or the corporate funeral home Ridout's/Dignity Memorial in Trussville. He said he had looked over the resume I had sent him and did I still need a job?

Uhhhh... I uh... well. Would it be okay if uh... can I call you back?
He said sure. I told Liz the deal and obviously Trussville is closer than Dora and would be a lot less stressful on us as a family. I called Mark back and asked if I could come talk to him in person. He agreed and I told him that I had already gotten the Dora funeral home to give me an apprenticeship, but I would LOVE to work somewhere closer to home if possible. However, I would feel like a total dick telling the other owner that I had to go somewhere else after he paid my apprenticeship fee... which is only forty dollars, but hey. Forty bucks is forty bucks, right?
Mark said that after a year, the apprenticeship expires and we'll have it transferred, I could pay the other owner back, and over the next two month, I became Mark's pet project to figure out their new corporate hiring system.

I can't thank him enough. He put up with his own corporation's bad hiring system (I did, too, but I WANTED THAT JOB), especially from Career Builder dot com, and I started on Saturday, October 4th, a week ago yesterday.

I'm part time and so far I've worked ten funerals and almost wrecked a hearse, but hey! It's a living.
This is what I've observed. Most people want a decent, secular, Christian funeral. They want a preacher or minister to speak and someone to sing Amazing Grace but they don't want to go to a church. They want to come in a dress shirt, tie, and blue jeans. Some of the females... especially the younger ones, jeezy creezy. If your loved one could see what you're wearing to their funeral, they'd be rolling in their grave. "Little black dress" and "mourning black dress" are not the same thing.
Who am I to judge how a person does or does not mourn or grieve? I dunno. I'm just an asshole watching the spectacle and holding doors for little old ladies. Regardless, I've already seen people overreact, over share, hide their emotions, enforce stereotypical gender roles, both on themselves and children, meaning men and boys. I've listened to ministers use the same few Psalms and other Bible verses, preach hell fire and damnation as well as talk for OVER A FUCKING HOUR trying to save every last soul in the room.

It's tough.
It's tough not to empathize with these crying families and start to tear up at least a little. It's tough not to hear a preacher say something beautiful and motivational and feel the Spirit move in you some, the kind of Faith you felt when you held your daughter the first time.
But that shit gets old quick. You have a job to do and the families need someone to look to besides themselves for a strong hand of guidance (not that I'm much of that, really), and those preachers preach the same lines over and over and it's the same propaganda I've heard for years, like they care more about winning points for Jesus than preaching love or the good soul of the deceased.

But despite the flaws I find and the pain in my back and hip from standing up so much (I'm gonna need to go to the doctor soon, or do more Yoga, or both), I'm enjoying this job. It might be the promise of the paycheck in another two weeks, it might be the people I work with. It might be that I'm doing something I set out to do and that, at least once a day, I believe... I HOPE... I actually make someone's time of loss just a little bit better. I think I see that in their faces, I think I see it, whether it's a short conversation, or just holding the door open.

It's all gravy.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

September 6th, 2014
01:28 pm
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I am going to fail
I don't have any books. At least not any for my classes. For the most part, stuff has been online and I've been doing my damnedest to get all the information from there, but not all of it is online and I've been trying to get all of my information to Financial Aid so I can get my tuition paid and not get booted from the roster and get my loan and buy my books and maybe, just maybe pass two or three or all of these five courses this year with a C or better because I only have seven semesters to do it all in or else, kaput.

Now I'm pretty sure I know what several of you are thinking right now. But eBay and Amazon still cost MONEY. It might be a little cheaper than a campus bookstore, but not by much, even for used... and besides one or two of the funeral guides that I'm supposed to keep forever? I really have no idea what books I'm even supposed to have.

This biology class is nuts because it's four hours of this little toad woman droning on... and I'm sitting there, falling asleep but dutifully keeping notes, but now that I'm home trying to study for her test Tuesday... I can't. Because I know she wants us to know the names of several bones in the body, specifically on a list that was online, even more specifically in the hand, and all that information was in the book. So I can't fill in my blanks... hell, I can't even find my diagram. I just got a paper with a bunch of blank spaces on it. Asking me where some bones are and what marrow does and what osteoporosis is, reminding me that spelling counts, which, by the way, that is some true fucking bullshit if you take away credit for someone missing a letter in a word when you know what they meant. I just misspelled osteoporosis in that sentence and spell check corrected me. But if I had spelled it "osteoperosis" like I did the first time, apparently that would have counted off a full credit. Hell, one of the answers on one of my other tests was "Dr. Thomas Holmes" and I wrote "Dr. John Holmes," but the teacher gave me credit anyways. Good guy. Everyone has spell check, everything is done electronically, I know it's kinda sad, but that's the facts of life, teach. Get used to it.

(2 Great Big Fat People | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

September 1st, 2014
04:39 pm
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Dahlia Update
She's fine. See ya next time.

Okay, seriously, though.
She has a full vocabulary, even if she's having normal child speech problems like a small lisp, saying "-H-I-K-J-" when reciting her alphabet, replacing 7 with 11 when counting to 10, and still learning correct plural pronunciation for a lot of words.
Believe it or not, I give big credit of this full vocabulary to the TV she watches. We've made sure that since she was born, we've talked to her with a well balanced mixture of "talking to her like a child" and "talking to her like an adult." If you always treat a kid like a kid, then they stay kinda mentally and emotionally a kid. Not always the case, but... in my opinion (and from what I've observed growing up) it's harder for kids who are treated lightly to become balanced teenagers and adults. Not that I didn't have my own problems, but there it is.
Anyway, the shows she watches most often teach pretty good values (most of'em) and aren't just escapism drivel like we had as kids. Sure, those shows exist and are good for her imagination (more on that later), and they talk to the viewer like, hey! You're smart, what should we do?
Now... o'course, these are toddler shows and formulaic and a bunch of them are on my last nerve. But I deal with it.

Her imagination runs wild. She gives most of her toys, specifically the female dolls, new names day-to-day. She teaches school or they go to space or someone's a superhero and someone else needs to be rescued... a lot of times, there's a damsel in distress and I have to be either a prince or a monster. Sometimes there are invisible monsters and I have to give them suplexes or "Kung Fu them." Other times, I help her turn into Wonder Woman and bash them with her sword.
Just a minute ago, she came in here and said"These doors are giving me a shadow!"
Yeah, you have a buncha shadows all over you.
"But I don't want one!"
Everyone has a shadow, baby. If you didn't you'd be some kind of weird ghost thing. Or Peter Pan.
"But I just wanna be me without a shadow!"
She's pretty grood at a couple of video games... mostly ones on the iPad, but not bad at Kirby and REALLY, SURPRISINGLY good at Super Mario World. She watched us play ZombiU and thinks zombies are hilarious. We've had to give her "replacement words" for beating enemies, like, "beat" them or "squash" them, because she was saying she was "killing" them and we didn't think it was appropriate. Other than that, she has a pretty clean mouth. She's learned what words are for children and what words are for adults only, regardless, we do our best not to curse in front of her. Although there was one afternoon when the Roku was acting up and I said something like, Man! C'mon! to which she replied "Yeah, come on TV damn it!"

She's incredibly empathetic and caring, but there are times when she simply gives no fucks. She doesn't listen, she doesn't care about rules it's like she doesn't care if she's gonna get in trouble or not and only the threat of punishment stops her from doing whatever she's doing that she shouldn't be.
She sucks at picking up after herself. We cleaned up her play area (the living room) yesterday and as usual, her mind went ADD. That's fair... kids get distracted when cleaning up stuff they normally play with. But we eventually threatened to throw away toys to keep her on task. You can imagine the crying session.
O'course we didn't actually throw them away. I put'em in a bag and acted like I did, then when I was done, I said she had one more chance to apologize and prove she could handle a Big Girl Chore like cleaning up. She put away the toys from the bag and all was well.

Today is the 1st, so it's a little over a month until she turns 3. Three years I've had this thing. I think I'll keep it.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

August 29th, 2014
06:25 pm
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So. Update.
I've finished my first "full" week of school. I say "full" week, because my week is two days long. Yeah, it's from 6AM until 2 or 4, depending on the day, but it's a pretty busy day. I also say "full" because I missed the first half day of class two weeks ago. That class is on a block schedule with my Biology/Chemistry class, so every other week, I take either Bio/Chem or Funeral Social Sciences. I completely missed that first half of the first day of class and that Social Science class. Why you may ask?

So here's the deal. You MUST be [at least] a licensed apprentice with a funeral home before you start the Funeral Service Education program at Jeff State, presumably everywhere.
I figured I'd finish my pre-courses before starting to call around to funeral homes. It would show that, yes, I did need the job, but I was already halfway through the course and would be closer to finishing. So Summer comes and I'm calling every funeral home in the Greater Birmingham Metropolitan Area, probably every one in Jefferson County. Even a few that weren't. Every day I did this. I got, "Call back tomorrow," or "We don't need anyone right now." A few took my name and number. Even fewer said they didn't need anyone but asked for me to e-mail my resume to them anyways. Even fewer asked me to come on in for an interview.
So I went.
One was a place in Hueytown, which... although it was a really small place and they said no pay, at least I would have had my apprenticeship. Plus, it was relatively close. But he never called me back.
Another was a woman on the way to Dora. Really nice. Said she'd pay. Pretty far, but hey! Worth it, I suppose. But then... enh, when I called her back she said "person who was quitting was no longer leaving and they no longer needed me."
Well shit.
Finally a guy said to come in, further into Dora, past the previous funeral home, past Wesley's Boobie Trap, past a combination Video Rental/Tanning Salon/Rent-to-Own Storage Facility... there was the funeral home. We filled out the paper work, I thought I was done.
But then his employees sat on it for almost a week and a half because one of my signatures was in the wrong place. Didn't call me, didn't call him... what the...? Really? I was calling and calling trying to find out why my papers weren't in Montgomery yet, and then had to drive back to the place to sign the papers. More on that later.
Once I signed it, they didn't send it to Montgomery for ANOTHER week. So I was literally down to the wire, calling the Alabama Board of Funeral Service every morning, checking to see if my apprentice papers had gone through, which they did not until LITERALLY the first day of class, after class had already been in session for over four hours. The only reason they let me go ahead and register is because one of my teachers told me she'd do it if I stayed until the end of the day.
Hell yeah I will, whatever it takes! Let's go.

But that's not all.
Like I said, I had to drive back to the funeral home in Dora to sign those papers again because of his employee's laziness/my clumsiness. It was around 9:15 on our way back. That's how quickly it took, he told me to show up at 9, he wasn't even there, I just signed and left.
So Liz and I are talking about the potential future, how the fuck we're going to juggle going to school and Dahlia and this job with no car of our own and how she's going to have to play Super Mom to not only me and Dali but everyone else like her mom and sister, driving them to work and school just so I can get to school and work and pick up Savannah from school.
I dunno. We'll have to deal with the hand we got. It'll be difficult as hell, but... we'll just have to do it, I guess, until something else better comes along.
And that's when I get a phone call.
Owner of one of the other funeral homes calls me back. "Hey Shaun, do you still need a job? Do you need an apprenticeship? Are you busy? Can you come see me today?"

Uhhh... wha?

So I went and he offered me a job. I told him I'd feel like a tool leaving the other funeral home since he was the only guy who said yes after so long... but this job is only fifteen minutes from the house.
"No problem. stay with them, get your apprenticeship, get into school. That should be your main priority. Afterwards, we'll set you up here, pay for the apprenticeship swap, you can pay him back for the apprentice fee, you'll start here while you go to school."
So my apprenticeship went through and Original Funeral Home never called me back to tell me when to start work. I guess he doesn't need me that bad after all.
So back to school.
While I was doing all this funeral home back and forth sha-na-na, I was also calling Jeff State every day and several times actually going up there to figure out what the problems were with my Financial Aid.
On a whim, I called my Voc Rehab counselor to ask her if there was anything she needed from school, make sure she wouldn't get in trouble, like my records or whatever. She needed a few things, so I called Jeff State and that started a hullabaloo of me not being able to get ANYTHING I wanted.
See, I filled out my FAFSA back in April. Got it done early like I was supposed to. Figured that was it. Apparently, there was a shitload more "holds" on everything that I was not made privy to because it was never sent to me, neither through snail mail, e-mail, or the inbox of my Jeff State account. As I've mentioned multiple times, I don't get how 18, 19, and 20 year olds figure this shit out. I'm 34 and have barely a fucking clue.
So, I go online and find the things they tell me to do the way I am told to do it. I go to the office and do the things I am told to do the way I am told to do it. Now, I'm two weeks into the school year without a Class Attendance Verification form, because apparently, every time I do something, another something pops up that I need to do. The things they show me in the Financial Aid office, I point to and... I strain from yelling at these old ladies... say "I've already done this. Where's my file? I turned this in a month ago."
Or then they say they need a copy of Elizabeth's tax return.
Why? She's not a student. You know how many people are in the household, just give me my fucking money, I have to pay my tuition and buy books before I'm no longer allowed to return to class. Give me the fucking money.

This is why people climb bell towers with rifles.

It's stressful, because classes are not easy. I've only been through two weeks and I already know I cannot sit and half-ass through class and do my homework on Sunday and be fine. There's a lot of memorization and quizzes every day in every class.
On the bright side, I told one of my teachers I was a pro wrestler and she mentioned she went to highschool with Shelton Benjamin, so, there's that.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

August 14th, 2014
03:56 pm
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Genesis Does
. . . What NintenDON'T!!!

Okay. So I was a little biased when I wrote this list, and it was before I had a Wii, which, along with the DS, printed money for Nintendo.
Today is the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Sega Genesis on North America. The Genesis was like nothing you could imagine as a kid. It seems Nintendo has always come just a little late to the party, coming out with the Super NES in 1991 as opposed to Sega's '89. Difference is, not a lot of people even knew there was a Sega Genesis for a while, up to a year. It was because of the release of Sonic the Hedgehog in June of '91 right before the release of the SNES that Sega could even compete with Nintendo for Christmas that year, and boy did they compete.

I was a Genesis kid. Everyone had to pick sides. You were either for Sega, Nintendo, or one of those assholes whose parents got you both, or one of those weirdos who ended up with a NeoGeo or a TurboGrafx 16. We'd argue over Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, over three vs six button combinations, and how the Genesis is getting a six button controller, how the slow motion controller is notion more than a shitty pause button, and how programmable controllers never work as advertised.
There were a lot of great games on the Super NES, many that I beat even back then despite not having a Super Nintendo. But as far as the Genesis goes, I spent hours after hours, both at home and at Bambi and PaPaw's house, laboring in front of the TV screen playing games we owned and had rented, or some I had borrowed from friends at school, sometimes using cheats, sometimes using the Game Genie, sometimes just grueling and toiling away getting big red sore thumbs, swapping out controllers with Jake, taking turns or playing two-player for the satisfaction of beating a game. There were no saves every level, no failed missions where you get to start over endlessly. Just three lives and three continues and if you lose those, it's back to the beginning. No mercy.

I made a list of the Sega Genesis games I beat all before stuff like ROMS and save states back in the day, although I did leave off several sports games like NHL '96 or one of the college football games... those are just too easy to "beat." It's not a lot, but it's a pleasure for me to remember. So here's to you, Sega. Happy Birthday. Your legacy lives on when I see Sonic the Hedgehog games on my Nintendo now.

- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic 2
- Sonic 3
- Sonic & Knuckles
- Sonic 2 & Knuckles
- Sonic 3 & Knuckles
- Sonic Spinball
- Beavis & Butthead
- Quackshot
- Jungle Strike
- Urban Strike (you try beating any of the "Strike" series without cheating)
- Earthworm Jim 2 (easier than the first one)
- Greatest Heavyweights
- James Pond 2
- Jurassic Park (Velociraptor only)
- Krusty's Super Fun House (the only Simpson's game I ever beat)
- Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
- Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
- Mortal Kombat
- MK2
- MK3
- Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
- Mutant League Footbal (if any game needs a reboot, it's this one)
- Road Rash
- Road Rash 2
- Road Rash 3
- RoboCop vs Terminator (if you thought Mortal Kombat was bloody, give this game a try)
- Samurai Showdown
- Maximum Carnage (Impossible without a Game Genie)
- Cool Spot
- Street Fighter II
- Super Street Fighter II
- Streets of Rage
- Streets of Rage 2
- Streets of Rage 3
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist
- WWF Royal Rumble
- WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game
- X-Men 2

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

July 25th, 2014
01:13 am
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Dahlia, Diapers, Discipline, and Games
So we're on the verge of starting potty training in earnest. It's been a tough road so far. She likes being naked. She also likes wearing panties. She is afraid of the toilet. Liz and I have different views on how a child should be potty trained. I do my best to gently remind Dahlia every time that I change a diaper, she needs, nay, HAS TO let Mommy or Daddy know that she has poo-pooed or pee-peed, and not in a little while, but at the very moment it happens, even before she does it if possible. She's let us know a time or three, even. She was walking around naked this afternoon, realized she was about to piss herself, and immediately jumped up and told Liz, "Momma, put a diaper on me!"
That's a big step.
Liz has a big plan in her head for training once I start work and school (did I mention I was getting a new job? More on that later) and that I might just come home one day and Dahlia would be in panties using the potty all by herself. If that happens, Hallelujah! If not... well. At least she can talk and doesn't drink from a bottle and never used a pacifier. She may using diapers when she's five, but she'll be homeschooled and I'll be at work, so Liz will be changing those.

So discipline.
She's a really smart kid to be only 2 and 9 months. She knows what her boundaries are and who she can get by with doing stuff with. She knows that I'm for goofy roughhouse play, but I'm also the main disciplinarian, so depending on what mood she finds me in she tries to push buttons. Liz has started to change her discipline routine as well so we'll both be balanced and now Dahlia has seemed to figure out that for Liz, daytime is when Momma plays, but late at night/bedtime is when she says it's time to calm down, so that's when Dali tries to push Liz's buttons.
She also knows that anything she does with her grandparents, she's not going to get in trouble, or rarely told no, and they give her candy or whatever, so she's obviously excited to see them when they get home, but sometimes, she'll sneak into their room and grab a Tootsie Roll without asking or if she gets in trouble with us, she runs and tattles to them, like she has a back up band. She runs to Liz the same way when she gets in trouble with me, so it's not really surprising, she's just learned to expand her "team" a little more now that she understands that Mom and Dad have more control than Dahlia.

It's amazing, 'cause she's such a sweet and empathetic little girl as well, whether it's with us, telling us we're her best friends or that she loves us and that she can never forget our face, or if she's playing house with her toys and says something like it doesn't matter if the T-Rex is a boy or girl, he can play with everyone and still be her sister.
But then she turns around and backtalks or throws a toy or a book across the room and... one of us has to do something.
Lately, it's been putting her in the corner for a time out. Liz's mom suggested that a couple of months ago and I didn't think it would work on a two year old, but lo-and-behold, I stood directly behind her, and gave her explicit instructions to stand up straight, face the corner, keep her arms down, no talking... I had to (and still have to) repeat everything several times for the duration of her time out, but it works. I never set a specific time, I just make her stand there until she stops pitchin' a bitch and calms down. After that, I ask her if she knows why she had to stand in the corner. She's not answered correctly yet, but she tries. She usually apologizes before I ask and sometimes even says "I forgive you." I correct her, but like I said, she is really sweet and empathetic.
We couple this with some breathing exercises she's seen on Ni-Hao Kai Lan where they breathe in and out slowly while swaying their arms side to side, but it's nothing much more than teaching her how to breathe like we're taught in Kung Fu, which is how we should all breathe anyway.
She had been giving "Fine," as an answer instead of "yes" so I'm instilling the words "Yes sir" and "No sir" as well as "Yes ma'am" and "No ma'am" in her. I know it's our fault (probably more mine) because Liz and I say "Fine, fine, whatever," to each other all the time but at least I know it's sinking in because she's telling us to say "Yes ma'am" and "Yes sir" to each other.
Occasionally, she'll do something really naughty and have to get a pop on the wrist or the butt. It's usually for hitting. She likes to lay down with us and kick the shit out of us. It's hard to discipline her for this, because we love to roughhouse play and tickle fight and all kinds of stuff, we're a playful family, plus she loves to wrestle with me. The problem is trying to teach her when playtime is over. She has knocked the shit out of both of us for no reason whatsoever, and she was just playing. I don't like spanking her, it's a real dick move to smack her on the bottom and then say, "HEY! IT'S NOT NICE TO HIT PEOPLE!" but it's not like I can invite another 2 year old over and be like, "Here. Pick on someone your own size." It's a real conundrum.
We both try to use positive reinforcement as much as possible, but sometimes kids do negative shit and get in trouble.

She came up to me one day and said "Let's play a game!" I didn't want to get up off the couch (don't judge me), so I taught her how to play Paper, Rock, Scissors. It took her a couple of play throughs, but she understands that Paper covers Rock, Rock crushes Scissors, and Scissors cut Paper. Her motor skill coordination isn't the best, so she yells "1! 2! 3! SHOOT!" and doesn't actually throw until AFTER you do. I stopped actually throwing on "shoot" so she started asking what I was going to pick. She'll get the hang of it.
We also came up with a backwards 20 questions kinda game I just called the Guessing Game. She was already pretty good at I Spy, so we'd descibe something she's familiar with and she usually guesses what it is... usually. Sometimes we give her something really simple and she gets stuck on it forever.
She's also been playing a lot of video games lately. Her game knowledge has mostly been limited to touchscreen games, like on the iPad or whatever, and she's pretty good at some of those. She's great at Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. But she beat two levels of Kirby by herself and has learned how to jump on enemies in Super Mario World. She plays some of the downloaded games like Dr. Luigi (and she's the only person I've ever heard pronounce it "Luh-ih-jee" instead of "Loo-ee-jee") and a game called Child of Light. She's no good at Dr. Luigi, I don't think she gets the concept yet, but even though Child of Light is an RPG, she's done pretty fair in it with minimal help.
She also plays Duck Tales Remastered and calls it the "Scrooge McDuck" game. I dunno how she learned that. During play, she could only get so far without help, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie called for "Unca Scrooge." I could get if she learned that. But she somehow learned Scrooge McDuck.
I tried to get her to watch the Duck Tales cartoon after that, but she still doesn't want to.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

July 15th, 2014
05:20 pm
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There was a storm last night
Around 11 or so, it started raining and thunderin' and lightning and crap like that. The power went out, came back on, went out again, came back on, went out again, stayed out. Usually, unless it's a tornado you don't think the power will be out for more than five minutes, tops. Used to, the power would go out and it'd be out until way after midnight, but that just doesn't happen anymore. Sometimes we'll get a powersurge and it'll flicker and reset everything, which pisses me off 'cause I have to reset the external hardrive that's attached to the Wii U, but it's really just a minor annoyance.
But naw, G. Last night it went out and stayed out, way past when the storm stopped. Plus the people across the street had power which was just rubbin' it in our faces. We were having to explain to Dahlia that there was a time before we all were born that people didn't have electricity and used candles and oil lamps and ate supper and went to bed when the sun went down. Plus it was hot up in this mug. At least after the tornado in Tuscaloosa, I could sleep with the door open in my underwears, not the same here. It was almost 3 AM when the power jolted back on and woke us up. I don't think I've ever been so glad to have a box fan in my life.

I go outside a little while ago ('cause I've been busy all day calling funeral homes and watching the replay of Monday Night RAW online) and check the damage. Out front seems fine. Nothing but a little debris to scoot out of the way when I took the garbage out.
So I go out back when I let the dog out. Shit, there's a big branch down, right where Barry parks his truck. Immediately I wonder if it had actually landed on his truck the night before? I didn't hear any ruckus this morning like someone was pissed a tree had fallen and fucked up their truck, so maybe not... but this branch was in prime location.

See, I've complained about cutting the grass before. It's because of several reasons:
1: I don't like cutting grass anyways
2: This yard does not have a good grass-to-obstacle layout.
. . . The main obstacles being trees and branches, the biggest tree not even being in our yard. It drops big assed branches over the fence all the time. Well now it's about to drop the motherload. That big ass pecan tree had a branch break about 30 or 35 feet up and it's still half-assed hanging on and hanging over our yard. If it falls, it's gonna break a buncha crap on the way down. Even worse, when it broke, it upset a LOT of bees. I presume they had a hive somewhere in that tree, but now they're buzzing all around the yard and don't seem happy.

So now we can't take Dali outside 'cause bees might attack or a branch the size of a smart car might fall on us. I dunno if it's something we should take care of or the city because it's a danger to power lines or the neighbors because it's their tree... and what about the bees? They need to relocate. This is some fucked up shit.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

July 10th, 2014
02:12 pm
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Fucking Alabama... Fuckin' 'Murica
So, we were talking about Alabama earlier. I love my home state, and the South in general. At the same time, I hate it. I know several of you would agree. I won't name names, but you'll out yourself in the comments, either here or on Facebook, especially since most of you have lived here or throughout the Southeast.
First of all, there's constantly road work. On every highway and interstate, there's men, construction crews, surveyors, barrels... and the problem is that no improvement ever really gets made. A huge chunk of 20-59, where I-59 split into I-20? It was detoured all through Winter to fix the interstate. Not widened or anything. It's still as bumpy as ever. I can't tell what exactly they fixed. There's a piece of "new" freeway being built over I-65 North that's been being built for five years. Only in the past year has any new progress been made. Seriously, like, when I rode the bus to Huntsville to see Jasmin, that shit was there with construction vehicles on the side of the road not doing anything, traffic barreled onto one lane.
Maybe if fourteen years ago, Alabama had voted for a lottery, we'd be able to fix this kind of stupid shit in a timely manner, but retarded right wing Christians looked at other states like Georgia and Florida and Mississippi and how awful they're doing with their roads and education and thought we can't have any of that. Just recently... I can't find the hard numbers, but here's a link for a similar story, Governor Fucktard turned down roughly THREE HUNDRED MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS in Medicare and Medicaid support for the people of Alabama because he's an old rich white Republican ignorant stupid motherfucker piece of shit who doesn't know any better.
I mean, do I want foreigners who live here taking jobs and getting free health care? No. But god damn it, there are people who were born and die here, fucking 70, 80, 90 year olds who don't have proper health care, even foreigners who have come through the proper system and have green cards and need health care and the ACA could provide the shit they need PLUS fucking jobs and revenue and lawmakers are fucking stupid and obviously don't realize that. Fuck.

I'd like to move back to Tuscaloosa where my friends and Kung Fu are but it's still Alabama and there's ignorant dumbasses everywhere you go, otherwise we'd just stay here.

Check this shit out. They just give those away. We can't even convince people [politicians] that women need birth control in this fuckin' country. It's a great dream to move the fuck out of Alabama and it's a greater one to GTFO of the United States. Where to? I'm not sure. But just about any other "first world" country would probably be a damn sight better than here.

For years, one of our country's slogans was "America: Love It or Leave It!"
Well, I would, but the people in charge have made it so that they stay in charge and everyone else is too goddamn poor, therefore they don't love it. Most of them don't even realize the problem(s), but the ones who do can't do anything about it, thus, can't leave. Land of the Free and the Home of the Slaves.
I saw a quote today which kinda fits. “The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”
- Adolph Hitler

(1 Great Big Fat Person | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

July 9th, 2014
09:59 pm
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Gotta wake up. Go to the doctor. Go to the pharmacy. Go to Hueytown. Go to an interview at a shitty funeral home in a strip mall. Hopefully get a job. Stop by Dad's.
It's worth going to this awful place if only just to get the documentation so I can stay in school next semester and not get paid and perhaps leave them to work for another funeral home. Hell, as long as I had the papers, I'd go and work for Cash Moulding again if I had to if Jay West would let me work on days I wasn't in school.

Hmmm. Actually, that might not be such a bad idea.

$8 at Cash vs. $0 at Integrity (considering they hire me tomorrow)... I could work Integrity on weekends when they need me for funerals or whatever. Go in to Cash on Mondays, Wednesdays, maybe Fridays? I know they'd be prepping for the Christmas rush and would need the help, especially from someone that had experience.
I don't wanna go back to the frame shop. I've called him before. I really didn't want to because I felt that calling Cash Moulding and asking for a job back was like... I dunno, it really made me feel like a fuck up.
"Oh hey, you couldn't cut a 9-5 here and had to go pussy out with disability for ten years and now you want your old job back, hunh? Come'n'geddit, pussy."

BUT!!! That is also considering I make it to next semester at all. Math has been a pain in my rectum damn near killed'em. The algebra shit? I just can't grasp. I mean... okay, I can solve for x if x2 = 4. But more complicated shit and I just fall to pieces and fail.
But now we're into measurements and percentages and ratios and geometry and I can do all this. I don't necessarily like the formulas we use or the fact that we have to show AND check our work (I showed it, YOU check it, you're the teacher), but it's something that comes easier to me.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

July 5th, 2014
01:05 am
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I had to post this for memory's sake
I know I've posted (either here or on Facebook) that Dahlia says she has an imaginary friend named Darla. Apparently, Darla is a kitten, and has two sisters; Mittens and Batman. Dahlia is their mother. There might be even more imaginary kittens, I dunno. I just think that it's pretty funny with two cats actually in the house, she's inventing new ones.

We took her to Build-A-Bear this week where she got a (yeargh) My Little Pony. She loves those damn things. I blame McDonald's. I tried to keep her away from Dora and My Little Pony but she found them anyway. She can't use the internet so she'll never know the horrors of MLP Fan Fiction, thank God. Maybe I can get her to watch more Teen Titans.

(1 Great Big Fat Person | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

June 28th, 2014
12:48 pm
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Birthday / School Update
So, Thursday was Liz's birthday, yesterday was my birthday. Dahlia told me it was also her birthday, but she was staying two years old.
So Thursday night I had a test. Before we even got to class there was a big hassle because the car's battery had died and we had to call Liz's grandmother. But I got there in time to take the test, which I made at least a 50 on.

Y'know, whichever Greek genius it was that invented math is an asshole, and the mathematicians that followed him are assholes as well. He saw all the philosophers and sculpters and writers and painters getting that phat pussy, yo, and said, "Well. I better get a skill."
Yeah, well. Your skill shoulda stopped at division, peckerbutt. OR!!! At the very least, your skill shoulda went left-to-fucking-right, top-to-fucking-bottom every damn time. This FOIL and PEMDAS shit is ruining my grade.

HOWEVER! Even though I'm not the best math student, I refuse to take full credit for my steadily downhill grade this semester (our grades thus far have been comprised of 2 bonus points and two tests and that's all).
Our teacher taught us for a week and a half. That's three lessons. Then, she goes on leave for her daughter's wedding. She's gone for FIVE FUCKING LESSONS. During that time, we have to
- Get used to a new teacher all of a sudden
- Have our first test
- Have the sub leave
- Get old original teacher back
- Get used to her again
It's no way to run a class, especially when we're relying on you for our fucking education and getting in to classes next semester. If she knew she had to be gone for that long, why even teach the Summer night classes?

Anyway. Our birthdays.

I searched for weeks to find Liz the right thing for a present and couldn't. Eventually, she showed me a Studio Ghibli movie pack that had My Neighbor Totoro, Sprited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Howl's Moving Castle... like 8 movies, several I've never seen, some I'd never even heard of, all for 30 bucks, not a bootleg or anything.
I saw it online several places for as much as $130 so if you go looking for the Studio Ghibli Movie Collection, don't even think about paying that much.

She got me Mario Kart 8. I played the last Mario Kart on the Wii and didn't like it because of the motion controls, but they made that optional in this version so I figured this would be the first Mario Kart I'd enjoy since the 64. HOLY HELL, it's a great game! I haven't unlocked everything yet, but it's superfun.

I think this'll be a tradition from now on. Each year, we buy the other one something they want, but we'll both enjoy. She hasn't played or enjoyed Mario Kart as much as I have yet, but she will.

We finished up with dinner at a Korean place called Seoul which was pretty great, followed by a trip to 2nd and Charles. The food was awesome, it's not drowned in sauce like Chinese food is, but it's still really full of flavor... hard to explain without you eating it. They also gave us like, six side dishes WHICH INCLUDED BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES!!! Do Koreans usually eat bread & butter pickles? I dunno, but those were great.
I would've gotten the Korean BBQ, but it was a little expensive. Maybe next time.

With the exception of math, it's been a good birthday weekend.

(1 Great Big Fat Person | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

June 25th, 2014
08:29 am
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I have/had this dream... maybe it was a fantasy... where I go back in time to right around my 2nd year of 9th grade, except I know everything I know now and can do it again right. Well, maybe not "right" but "differently." After seeing Days of Future Past, it seems exactly like that. I hadn't thought about it like that before.

Still, I get to go back and see Mom and Bambi and Pa-Paw again and prepare for wrestling better, and hell, maybe even finish school the first time around. Problem being, friendships and other relationships might not happen organically like they did the first time and even worse, I'd start to forget who Liz and Dahlia were, never seeing them again.

I woke up this morning and I thought it had actually happened. I was certain I was in my old bed and someone was taking a shower in the shower-stall, all of which now in Jake's room. It kinda gave me a small panic attack.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

June 21st, 2014
09:52 pm
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So I kinda learned a few things about myself
It's been a tumultuous couple of weeks... tumultuous or a word like that. I never realized it before, but did you know that people think that I come off as ungrateful and/or unappreciative, and even deserving. Yeah, I didn't believe it either. But! Liz pointed out a few things to me a couple o'weeks ago and turns out, and she's right. I had never thought about it in the ways she had put it.
After Brandi and I split up, Adam, Brian, and Tim would do stuff for me, mainly taking me places and letting me use their computers and junk like that. We've been friends for so long that I figured my thanks was virtually implied... after all, when they showed up, I said Hey thanks, what's up? and when they left, I said Thanks, see ya later, be careful. I even offered them gas money.
They told me I was being ungrateful and was actually acting like I deserved their help. I said they were wrong and just being dicks. It's not my fault you were late, I asked you to be here at 12:30, you said you'd be here, show up on fuckin' time. I offered you money for gas, what more do you want?

I've since apologized.

That's just one example. I'm not entirely sure of all the things I do in a similar vein that piss everyone off and it's not like I do it on purpose... it's a little character flaw that I suppose I'll have to work on. I remember one time I said this thing about my comics and how pissed I was about not getting a break. It's something I'm REALLY bitter about, a lot of artists (of multiple genres) get really bitter about, because we all think we're better than someone who we see "make it" and get pissed when our chances don't follow through. Hell, I got pissed when you guys, my own friends didn't understand my frustration at myself. Lookin' back, no one was wrong, but I just... I dunno. I've always been a little angry because I was supposed to be exceptional and when something doesn't go as exceptionally as it used to I was told to be better than I was and be like someone else, then I find out I'm disabled and... I don't wanna use it as an excuse now but I know I'm a better creator than a dozen other comic creators and could make fuckin' better comics than they could and everyone thinks I get by so easy because of the disability an' shit. It's not true.
Regardless, I don't mean to act that way. I'm still not really sure what all things I do that make me come off like that. If I do something that pisses you off and you think it's nonchalant, I don't notice? Just brush it off. When I piss you off on purpose, you'll know. If I do it by accident and it's really bad, just tell me and if I don't apologize right away, tell me I'm an asshole and eventually I'll come to my senses.

(1 Great Big Fat Person | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

June 1st, 2014
06:39 pm
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I want to choke a bitch
So, last week, someone shot our cat.
To be honest, it's not even our cat. The lady across the street died about nine months ago and all her cats were released into the neighborhood, and a few moved under our house, fucked, and then we had a bunch of kittens. We took a liking to two and had them fixed. Once they were brought home, one ran away for good (great waste of money), but Rosie stuck around.
Then she comes limpin' in the house. Thought she had gotten hit by a car. Marilynn took her to the vet and they found a slug from a .22 in her leg. Who knows which sociopath is out in the neighborhood shooting cats, but it cost $800 goddamned dollars in vet bills, which we're supposed to chip in on.

This morning, Rosie squeezed out the door while I was bringing groceries in. Marilynn gave Liz shit about it, because... she's a shitty mother and gets off bitching at Liz, apparently. I dunno. I had to bite my tongue again and refrain from saying that even though I like this kitten, we should have gotten rid of them all months ago and saved time and money; not to mention don't bitch at us when we're not the ones who are supposed to keep her in her kennel. Fuckin' a.
I hate to say this, but if we/Dahlia has a pet that ever needs that kind of dough to be healed? Well, that pet might just have to go "live on a farm."

Then I came inside and the goddamn dishwasher is broken. I'm not surprised. It fucked up not too long ago and Barry "fixed" it. Now he's in there "fixing" it again. I'm pretty sure there's a part missing. But whadda I know about dishwashers? I've only done the dishes every fuck day for six months and pulled food and paper towels and coffee grounds outta the drain and cleaned nasty shit outta the sink and drain of the dishwasher and done what I could even when I fucking LOATHE doing goddamned dishes...
. . . But hey, don't ask for my help. It's okay. Just remember that without me and Liz this fucking house would fall to pieces.

But hey, it's not all bad. Dahlia said she wanted to be a dinosaur when she grows up and she's excited to watch the PPV tonight. She correctly called a suplex and a powerbomb just the other night and that made me swell with joy. She can also do a pretty proper Shen Lung salute and sunrise/horse stance, which is awesome. I wonder how long until her hands have the dexterity to do handsets?
Math is going okay. It's not hard, but it's not easy, either. Like, Thursday night, we were reviewing some addition and subtraction of integers and fractions... I got lost as fuck. But then we moved into multiplication and I nailed it, so much so that the other girls in the class couldn't figure out the answer and I wrote it on the board to show them. Not trying to show off, 'cause I'm counting on my fingers to get a lot of answers, but I know that School House Rock has helped me infinitely in math over the years... 3 truly is the magic number.
We're gonna be short on money again this month, which sucks because it's our birthdays this month. I hafta get glasses, and hopefully I'll get a driver's license.

(6 Great Big Fat People | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

May 19th, 2014
12:55 pm
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So Dahlia just got through being sick and I'm about to start Summer School for the 2nd time ever
Thursday night she started getting kinda sick and whiny. The next day, she had a fever and was very whiny and had turned into a true bossy pants (more than usual, that is). The fever was maybe a degree, degree and a half up until Sunday morning when it broke and any time we asked her if she felt bad or if anything hurt, she would adamantly insist "No! I'm FiiiiiiiNE!!!"
So praise be to her for being as stubborn as her kin if not moreso, especially regarding illness. But, she is a little baby girl, so she cries at the littlest thing like her hair being brushed, or washed, or my whiskers when I giver her smooches, or when she gets juice instead of milk, or when she gets ice in her drink, or when she has to watch Olivia instead of Peppa Pig... you get the idea.
She threw up a time or two and that kind of worried me, but it was mostly because she insisted on drinking milk and wouldn't eat any food except a little rice. We tried to give her Pedialyte and she just wouldn't have it.
Yesterday she was actually fine, but after she ate it went right through her system and she had the squirts. Through all of this, she still had a severe case of Resting Bossy Pants, telling us to "Stop saying that," and "Don't do that!" She does that kind of crap at regular intervals, though, but it was amped up while she was sick. She's going to have to get over that shit soon whether or not she's feeling bad. Regardless, I'm glad she's better.
I don't think it's at all related, but I've been having to put alcohol in my ear for the past three days 'cause it feels like I've got water or something in there. It's not like an ear ache or swimmer's ear, but damn it's bothersome.

Another problem we had this weekend was that the refrigerator died. Marilyn and Barry had to go and buy a new one.
This is my problem with moving furniture and appliances... really anything I've had to do with "moving" over the past ten years because I've had to move myself a number of times and helped multiple others move: You fucking ALWAYS have to take the doors off of shit and off the hinges and doors to homes are never goddamned big enough and stairwells are never fucking big enough and I don't understand how the fuck people even HAVE fucking furniture in their upstairs in places like San Francisco or anywhere in England or shit like that.
It is my duty as a lazy person to buy a house that has doors that are four feet wide and no stairwells.
Barry had to turn the fuckin' water off and on multiple times to make sure the old ice maker water supply wouldn't run for no reason since the new fridge doesn't have an ice maker, I was taking doors off and on, we were both lifting and putting shit up... by the time I got up this morning, the old refrigerator was absent from where I put it in the alley and NOT because the garbage truck came by to pick it up. I dunno why so many people come by to dump-pick, it's not like this shit works. I can't think the scrap you'd get from it would be worth the effort of coming and picking up a fucking refrigerator.

Finally, I start school on Thursday. I only have Tuesday and Thursday night classes, and it's weird that Jeff State chooses to start their new semester on a Thursday instead of a Monday. It's like that for everyone's classes. I presume if you have Friday classes, they'll be in session, but there are no classes for Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday... just starting at the end of the week on Thursday.
This is Math 116, which is... I dunno. I'm pretty sure it's called Mathematical Applications. I think all math is "applications," yeah? It can be applied to all kinds of shit. When I did it online earlier this year and sucked at it because I couldn't understand a fuck of it, it was basically algebra. Looking it up online, I've heard it described as algebra and geometry with an introduction to calculus as well. I don't even know what the fuck calculus does.
While I'm taking these two classes a week (albeit at 8 PM), I also have to
A: Go and get my driver's license
B: Go and find an internship/apprenticeship at a funeral home
Neither of these are going to be especially easy because of our schedule and our wallets, but they literally MUST BE DONE before I register for my Fall semester, otherwise, I don't finish school. Not on time, at least.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

May 11th, 2014
12:47 pm
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Mother's Day
So, Liz has to work today. She took Dali with her, so she not only gets to be mommy to her, but all the other kids at the daycare. It's a heavy job. We knew ahead of time today today would be like this (isn't every year?) so we went out yesterday and Friday night.
The Singapore Noodle House on 280 is effing amazing. Looking at the menu, I wanted at least 75% of what I saw. Eventually I got a spicy beef and pork noodle soup. I forget what kind Liz got, but this stuff was no simple ramen, and that's not even talking about the steamed spring rolls.
Yesterday we went to the Red Pearl, which is a side restaurant in the Oriental Super Market in Homewood. I can't say enough about this place, but the best thing was that EVERYTHING TASTED FRESH, like made to order, literally cut and cooked that day fresh. If I had any complaints, the portions were a little small. But then again, I'm a fatass.
Liz also got herself a canolli and Dahlia got some Hello Kitty pocky. I think we're good as far as food goes.

I bought her these weird water color crayons that you draw and then wash away to make it look different... I keep telling myself I'm going to use her watercolors, but I haven't yet. I dunno what I'd use'em on anyways.

Liz and Dahlia are the lights of my life. We don't always get along, but that's family... specifically family that's in the same closed quarters 90% of the time. Without Liz, I wouldn't have had much reason to have done much with myself, and we wouldn't have Dali, I wouldn't be in school... I'd kinda be fucked, living in a little apartment getting drunk every day.

I love you.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

May 2nd, 2014
06:05 pm
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Update about school and Dahlia for the millionth time
What starts with A? The ah ah sound?
"Uhm... ass."

No lie, she actually said that. Since before she was born, we tried, I tried especially to curb my cursing and started using a lot of "replacement" words, mostly saying all the shit piss goddamn motherfuckers on the internet, because if I didn't get it out SOMEwhere, I dunno where I would get it out at all.
But, about two or three weeks ago, I was sitting at the computer here, and I hear her in the living room... her show ended and she goes 'Oh, god damn it."

It was such a simple curse. She sounded so downtrodden when she said it. I could feel her emotion and was almost proud... there was pain and annoyance in that curse. She used it correctly. But moreso, I was pissed at myself, because I say goddammit more than any other curse word.
So Liz tells her fairly sternly "No, we don't use that word, that's a bad word."

. . . Damn it."
So she modified it and dropped the "god." And she didn't really get in trouble, but we had to let her know it wasn't cool, and then a few days later, she and I were going over the alphabet and she said the ass thing and got reprimanded for it.
More to the point, Liz and I are reprimanding each other whenever we curse without really realizing it. So I've been using more of my replacement words and she's started saying "what the heck?" Better than the other stuff, I suppose.

Anyways, school is done with for the semester. I know I got an A+ in Art History... my average was like, 101.97. I'm not sure if that's before or after the final, though. I got a B in Sociology, which seems more than fair; a high 300 points out of 400. Before I left school yesterday, I was talking to three girls who are in the same class and discussing grades and they said they had Bs, too. Another girl came up and said she had gotten an F for the course 'cause she plagiarized her term paper and the teacher found out (IE; used Google). I asked her if this class was needed for her major and she said she was taking Criminal Justice, so yeah.
I don't want to make it sound like I'm that much better than anyone, but this girl is lazy and dumb as a box of rocks and doesn't need to be anywhere near criminals or the justice system. She was late every day and all the way up until the class before the final she was STILL asking where the lecture notes were online. I doubt her grade would've been that good even if she hadn't plagiarized the paper.
But that got me worried... my opening paragraph was a stolen joke from Christopher Titus. Shit... would she look that up too and say I was plagiarizing and fail me, too?
Luckily, no. I got a low A on that paper and passed the course. But the others?
I know I had a C before the final in Introduction to Public Speaking and he said nothing could bring our grades down... I dunno if my final was good enough to bring it up. I'm a little more worried about English 101. My pop quizes weren't always that great, but my compositions were. But neither my Public Speaking teacher nor my English teacher post any grades online... who knows why. You'd think with Jeff State encouraging the students to do so much on their website and the online blackboard, they'd try to encourage the teachers to do so as well.

I suppose one day over the next week, we can swing by the school and I can go in and see where grades are posted to see how good I did. For the most part I have confidence in myself, but if I don't nail all these classes before Fall, I can't start my next set of classes... which is why I'm taking Math at night over the Summer semester. It's only two nights a week and I'd hate to throw in an English course as well.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

April 20th, 2014
06:28 pm
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Religious Holidays
So I saw this picture earlier today someone shared that said "Without Jesus, I am Nothing."

Yeah. Imagine if that replaced the word "Jesus" with "my boyfriend" or "coffee" or "llamas." You'd think you fuckin' dolt, shut up and quit posting. Some people probably thought that the original way.
I got a bunch of Christian friends and I don't bash their ideals and I got a bunch of atheist friends and I don't bash them, either. I leave them alone and I leave them the fuck alone. That's the way it should be, but that's not the way it always is. After all, Jesus told His people to go and proselytize. Christians kinda don't have a choice if they believe in their God, yeah? But I believed for fucking YEARS and didn't even have the balls to pray with my Pa-Paw on his death bed, 'cause I didn't know what he'd say, and I didn't know what he believed and I didn't even know if I was right. I still don't know if what I believe is right. How th' fuck am I supposed to know? I'm just some mortal. Like the rest of you.

It gets harder as you get older. Like several of you, I have a kid. Two of our major holidays revolve around big Jesus-y festivals.
Both Liz and I were force-fed religious ideals that we didn't like. I probably wouldn't have been such a rebel as a kid if perhaps morals hadn't been tried to be shoved down my throat at so many twists and turns. Mom made us go to church and I hated it and even later when I chose to go I was treated like an outcast and, fuck it, a demon, basically. They all told me how bad I was. So I acted worse to show them how bad I could be.
So we don't wanna tell her about shit like, "Well, Baby Jesus was born to a fat jolly man, and then a bunny got him off the cross and he came back three days later..." it doesn't make sense and there's all kinds of historical shit that doesn't make sense along with it.

Do I believe Jesus existed? Yeah, most likely. Do I also believe that there were several other guys that fit his "description" (for lack of a better word) in multiple religions that all the same guy that are all the prophet to the same God? Yeah. How do you explain that to a CHILD who will be surrounded by predominantly Christian white people for the rest of her life who will say something totally different?
We want to present her with information and let her form her own opinion instead of having one given to her.

I don't care what religion someone is. Almost all world religions I've studied, even a little bit... Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Judaism, even Satanism... you're supposed to be humble and leave people alone for the most part. Just whatever it is, stop flaunting it and use the values that you're supposed to have to be excellent to each other.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

April 4th, 2014
01:19 pm
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"I wouldn't mind going to church if it weren't for all the god damned Christians..."
This was a favorite quote of my friend Emilio and myself, usually when driving past huge, rich, giant Southern Baptist (usually) monuments to God Himself.
Not all Christians are stuck up or rich, obviously... so they can't all be bad. Inherently, they're supposed to be good, but that's not what we always see. Check out this article: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/03/31/how-evangelicals-won-a-culture-war-and-lost-a-generation/
What the fuck? Seriously? Cutting funding to your sponsored kid in order to get your way from a religious group... especially when you claim to be a Christian yourself? Just... what a buncha bastards. The right amount of words can't come for the anger I have.

Yesterday, we were at the mall. Dahlia wanted to ride one of the little carousels, but we didn't have any quarters. I went around to a bunch of the food huts asking if I bought a drink, could I get cash back? One guy finally asked how much cash? Just 1 or 5 dollars for the change machine, my daughter wants to ride the carousel.
He reached in his wallet and gave me five bucks. I tried to refuse him but he kept giving it to me, and this kid couldn't have been more than twenty.
So I cashed it, she rode, and I took him the rest of his $4.25 back. He saw me, and went in the back.

A couple o'years ago, a woman named Patty Segars paid for me n' Brandi's groceries in Wal-Mart. I asked her what I could do to repay her and she said "Pay it forward."
I looked for ways to pay it forward for months before realizing that if you're actively looking for ways to be a good person, then your [Tao, Christianity, whatever other philosophy] is all fucked up. You don't go looking for stuff to do, you just do it when it happens. That's how you pay it forward.

Yet these people, these "Christians" are so pissed over the inclusion of workers who may or may not have a same sex marriage... which, BTW, it's FUCKING ILLEGAL to not hire someone based on their sexual preference, the same as not hiring them based on their race or age or anything else, you can't even legally ask a person if they're an immigrant because that's infringement upon their rights... and these "Christians" are pissed because supposed same sex marriages in a company they donate to.
They had seriously better be ready to take their money out of a lot of stuff, or perhaps even have their utilities taken away? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_first_LGBT_holders_of_political_offices_in_the_United_States
Maybe stop watching TV and movies and pretty much all forms of entertainment? http://gaylife.about.com/od/gaycelebrityprofiles/ig/Gay-Celebrity-Profiles/

I know it's not the first time the comparison has been made, but you can't have "STRAIGHTS" and "QUEERS" water fountains. I mean... fuckin' seriously, if I can find ways to realize that I've been a good person without even knowing it, and that kharma is paying me back with five bucks to make me smile by watching my little girl play on a mall ride... and then I'll eventually pay that forward unconsciously, and kharma will come back to the kid at the Fry Hut, too... you'd presume the people whom Jesus told "Be Excellent to Each Other" would try to actually love one another with no strings attached.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

March 29th, 2014
04:21 pm
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Awesome time last night at Cowboy Mouth with Liz, Jas, and her boyfriend Kevin. If you missed it, then you suck... or you have something DUMB... like RESPONSIBILITIES. Yeesh. Can't you just leave your responsibilities with someone else? Like we did? Like we left Dahlia with Dad for six hours? Don't worry, he loved it, and I'm pretty sure she did too, for about five hours.
Anyways, AWESOME NIGHT! Got to let it go, let it go, let it go... all the bullshit in my heart that's been bugging me for... what? The past year? Living here in a tight space with a a bunch of crappy animals... including the whole pig incident, then all the crap dealing with Voc Rehab and then starting school... it's been a helluva stressful year. And something is always just around the corner to intensify that. To be honest, I know I'm no worse off than anyone else, but fuck... it seems like we never get a break.

But y'know what? It's easy to bitch, easy to whine, easy to moan, easy to cry... harder to work, harder to strive, hard to be GLAD to be ALIVE. And right now, I'm glad to be working on graduating and glad to be getting up and going to school and striving to make our lives better, better than they were a year ago, better than three years ago, better than my life five years ago.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

March 27th, 2014
05:19 pm
[User Picture]


Picture Update
I've got like, three months of pics to show, but I'm gonna narrow them down to just a few for y'all.

Starting with Christmas last year, right before we went to see Santa Claus
Dali Christmas (3)

Dali Christmas (5)

Christmas Day
Dali Christmas (6)

Dali Christmas (7)

Dali Christmas (10)

Dali Christmas (12)

Dali Christmas (17)

DaliMarch14 063

A special one that I really like
DaliMarch14 035

Then there were the snow days
Snow Days (1)

Snow Days (6)

Snow Days (8)

Snow Days (11)

Snow Days (12)

Snow Days (14)

And finally, just earlier this month when it was actually warm for a week, and we went to the Holi Festival ar the Museum of Art
DaliMarch14 068

DaliMarch14 080

DaliMarch14 081

DaliMarch14 089

DaliMarch14 093

DaliMarch14 101

DaliMarch14 102

(5 Great Big Fat People | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

March 20th, 2014
05:56 pm
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So, Dahlia just made my millennium
I think by now we all know why I wanted to be a wrestler when I was a kid. So just a minute ago, I was cleaning up my half of the bedroom and I had one of my old 8x10s of me as Pimp Juice when I had that long robe. So she looks at the tights and boots and the robe hangin' off my back and says, "Oh! You're a picture of your superhero outfit!"
My superhero outfit?
"Yeah! Can you fly?"
Mmmmnope, not very well.
"I'll get my supahero costume and we'll fight th' TROUBLE MAKERS!!!"

It's a good day

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

March 15th, 2014
10:56 pm
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So we went to the Birmingham Museum of Art today because they were having a celebration for Holi, a Hindu festival of colors. We, or at least I didn't technically learn a lot more than I already knew about India, which isn't a lot: The young women are usually hot (especially belly dancing); the food is amazing; their clothes are cool; their language is cool; they love soccer.

There were awesome dances and fun activities, I got an assignment done for Art 100, there were well over 1000 people there just for the Holi festival, and of course we got covered in the color powder. Don't worry, we took a lot of pictures, but despite being "clean" since we got home, I still haven't actually taken a shower and there's still color powder in my hair.

But here's the real thing:
Since meeting Elizabeth, I've done more NEW things, especially in just Birmingham, that I didn't even know happened or existed, things outside my "box," the box that I was just complaining about last week.
Yeah, I did a lot by myself, but with other SO's I wouldn't do stuff I didn't like. I dunno why. I miss some of the stuff from my old boyfriend/husband box sometimes, but we can't always do that kind of stuff... so I enjoy being brought out and doing stuff I woulda never done but enjoy anyways.

(Put the Lotion in the Basket)

March 11th, 2014
11:26 pm
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I just checked my grades on my Jeff State blackboard, and the first one that popped up was my Art History. I have an average of 102.85%. One of the tests I took last weekend had a short essay section at the bottom and, although I haven't actually looked to see if that's what got me the bonus points yet, I'm pretty sure that's what got me the additional points. Then, we went to that exhibition on Friday night and that'll give me bonus points for the semester, too.
This is just for Art History, though. Most people don't even want to take this class. I think they only do it because it's one of the "humanities" classes they are forced to take for whatever their major is.

I no longer dislike my Soc teacher either. She is still kind of a bitch and I still disagree with her teaching methods, but at least we get along better. She's got like, 300 or so students between three campuses, so I can see why she wants to make it as easy on herself as possible... I'm surprised these teachers remember anyone's names. I need to make up some points in her class, but I think I'm doing pretty okay as far as my grade in there goes.

English 101 is alright, except she's kinda boring. Public Speaking is INCREDIBLY boring, and he's a hardass as far as grades go. I've given two speeches and graded two, and I think I've gotten two Cs and two Bs. My mid-term for his class is Thursday and I'm gonna have to fuckin' make sure to pass, even if speeches are 2/3 of the grade.

(1 Great Big Fat Person | Put the Lotion in the Basket)

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