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that went better than expected

Well, I think I got the bathroom as clean as I'm going to get it without purchasing any chemicals that are gonna get me put on a federal watch list. Downstairs is pretty spotless other than the wall of boxes yet to be unpacked. The kitchen is even clean enough to use! (I baked some cinnamon buns tonight!) Jughead has arrived and so far he doesn't seem to have any major complaints. I tried to anticipate all of his toiletry needs, and I remembered most of them but there were a few I forgot.

We didn't do much today, just ran a couple of errands, one practical and one exploratory. We went to Best Buy to pick up an antenna for my TV so that he can watch football while we sort cards tomorrow, and so that he can watch Riverdale live later in the week. Then we went to Grocery Outlet so we could participate in one of his favorite leisure activities: hunting for things that are about to expire and have been marked down to a ridiculous degree. Sadly, my Grocery Outlet seems pretty crappy. We barely found anything worth buying. We're probably going to hit the Fred Meyer today since I've had good luck with bargains there.

It's weird how even the moderate amount of progress I've made in this apartment has been such a weight off my mind. I really feel like I might be able to get it into a shape where I'd be proud to have company. I definitely have some things I need to talk to the landlord about once the boxes are put away. I might see if there's any way they can redo both the bathrooms while I go out of town for a few days or something. They are currently refurbishing the apartment next door and I really feel like mine probably should have been redone before I moved in as well. Oh, and it looks like C-Cakes and I did find the entry point for the mystery rodent. It seems to have chewed through something in the downstairs half bathroom. We didn't find it while cleaning, so I'm pretty sure it's been sneaking in at night and then going back under the house during the day. I've boarded up that bathroom for now.

Anyway, except for that, I feel pretty good right now. And I've got an ongoing offer of help from another friend to hang art on my wall and help invent some shelving solutions.

C-Cakes to the rescue

I wish I hadn't waited until tonight to ask for help with my apartment. With the help of just two people, I was able to get more done in four hours than I have accomplished in the past year. I mean, it's nowhere near done yet, but it's at least to the point where I am no longer ashamed at the idea of letting somebody sleep on the futon. Well, once I wash some beddings, anyway.

My movie buddy and I went to Fred Meyer after to work to pick up some cleaning supplies, and then he came over to help for a couple hours. His specialty was helping me disassemble boxes I don't need anymore, and also cleaning the hell out of the kitchen. Apparently he is one of those rare people who finds doing dishes relaxing.

After he left, C-Cakes came over and basically tore through this place like a tornado of productivity. My biggest problem, which is only exacerbated by my anxiety issues, is that I just don't know where to start. Once a problem reaches a certain size, it just feels insurmountable to me, and I can't get a grip on it. I freeze up. C-Cakes took one look at the mess and was easily able to formulate a plan that would yield maximum visible results with the most condensed possible effort. It was a whole lot of "Okay, do this. Now do this. Now do this." At the end, the kitchen was a lot cleaner, almost all trash was gone, and the pile of boxes was transformed into something much less intimidating. The boxes are still there, but they are all stacked up against one wall, in a single layer. They are completely out of the way, but easily accessible, which I think will make it easy for me to just grab one each day and tackle it.

The basic plan as I open each box is to split it into three piles. 1) Things I genuinely think I should keep. 2) Things that I thought were crafting components but are really just junk that needs to be thrown away. 3) Things that I have no use for but that somebody could conceivably want. This third one may get subdivided into 3a) Things I want to give to a specific person and 3b) Things I can give to Goodwill.

My only real concern for tomorrow is scrubbing the hell out of all the bathroom fixtures, and doing laundry so that Jughead has a clean towel and clean beddings for the futon. I wish I knew what mattress size is closest to the futon. The internet seems to think Queen is standard, but I am having a hard time convincing myself. Further research tomorrow, I guess.

damn it, Drave

I've tried every night this week and I've barely made a dent in my apartment. Fortunately, I've had a couple of people offer to come over and help on Friday. Even with help, there's no way in hell I'm going to get it into a state I'm happy with in time for Jughead's visit. I guess if I can make the bathroom not be utterly disgusting and if I can get enough of the living room cleared out so that I can unfold the futon, that will have to be good enough.

Work was a little weird today. The chat program that we all use went down for about three quarters of the shift, so that was fun. Oh, and we had a random fire drill right when the early shift was trying to clock out. I can't even remember the last time we did a fire drill. It was really freaking loud. My ears are still ringing a little bit. Also, the teams are swapping people so rapidly that the fire drill roster sheet I was given just a few days ago is already inaccurate.

Blerg. Why am I awake? Why have I accomplished so little? How am I already a full week behind on my 365 movie challenge?
I don't know how a four hour shift could be so exhausting, but today was a rough one. I'm not even sure why. Maybe just overall background levels of stress/anxiety. Maybe because when I'm not around to keep him on task, the day shift lead likes to steal all the easiest work and leave the difficult stuff for me. I have no idea. At least I had my annual review meeting with the boss, and it went very well. It didn't answer the question about whether or not I'm going to get a raise, because apparently those decisions are made one or two levels above her, but it was still an encouraging meetings.

I really wasted this whole morning. I feel pretty dumb about it because I didn't even go to bed any later than I normally do last night. For some reason, I was thinking I would get home much later from the book signing. Sadly, I just don't seem capable of getting up any earlier than I need to on a work day, even if the work day doesn't start until after noon.

I tried to do some real cleaning today, but then realized I was out of garbage bags, so I had to go out and get some. When I finally got back, I realized I was out of paper towels, too. By then I didn't want to go out again because it was pouring rain. So, yeah, didn't make a whole lot of progress. I'm running out of time, and starting to freak out about it. I wish I could afford to pay people to help, but I miscalculated my finances pretty severely this month once again. So much for that resolution. Hopefully tomorrow will go a little better. If not, I might end up pulling an all-nighter on Friday.

made of magic and spiders

Work is barely worth talking about today. I only worked four hours, and it went by very quickly, and then it was time for adventures with my Hufflepuff friend! We met up at 1pm and drove to Seattle to have dinner with BeardsWin and then go to the Maureen Johnson book signing at the University Bookstore. For dinner, we went to 8oz Burger, and we happened to arrive during happy hour. This place had a lot of really fancy burgers that I wanted to try, but I was pretty freaking hungry by this point, so I just got the basic burger because it comes with free fries during happy hour. It was a damned tasty burger, though. Would definitely try again next time I am in Seattle.

So, the signing was really weird and really awesome. It was a small ticketed event with maybe forty attendees. Everything was grouped into four rings of chairs, each with roughly a dozen. Everybody picked a chair, and then each author was sent to one of the circles. We all got to chat with the author for about ten or fifteen minutes, and then they all rotated clockwise. It was incredibly fun, and way more intimate than this type of event usually is. It really made an impression on me. I hope this type of signing catches on!

There were four authors participating tonight. The first one we talked to was Kendare Blake. She was promoting her Three Dark Crowns series, which is about an island where everybody has some kind of magic power. Once every generation, the current queen gives birth to triplets. When those triplets turn 16, they are forced to fight each other to the death, and whoever survives becomes queen. I wasn't planning to spend money tonight, but BeardsWin paid for dinner, so I bought this book and got it signed. The author was really funny and told great anecdotes.

Number two was Sara Holland, who wrote a book called Everless. This is another fantasy, about a society where time literally is money. People contain a certain amount of time within themselves, and it can be extracted by taking their blood and binding it to iron. It sounds kind of like a fantasy take on the movie In Time. I found Sara endearingly awkward, and I would definitely have bought her book if I had any more spare cash.

Three was Kasie West, who mostly writes contemporary YA romance. She was the only one of the four authors who came across as a fairly confident person. I guess you have to be confident to write ten books in five years. I don't normally seek out contemporary romance, but I do love Stephanie Perkins, so who knows. I have added her to the to-read list as well. I want to check out one of her earlier books, called Pivot Point, about a girl who is able to see the potential outcomes of any decision she makes.

Maureen Johnson was the final author to hit our circle. I still absolutely adore her. She is so gloriously awkward and vaguely unsettling to talk to, but she can also switch gears to being totally normal and focused when appropriate. Her new book is a mystery set at a fancy boarding school for creative people. Kind of like Peter Parker's magnet school in the new Spider-Man, but for all kinds of creative weirdos and not just science nerds. Definitely psyched for this one. I've read and loved all of her books. I'm also psyched that she not only recognized me as MoonRascal, but insisted on signing it to MoonRascal as well.

So yeah, it was a really fun event. It wrapped up a little sooner than I expected, and we were able to get back home by 10:30. We even stopped for gas and still made great time. I found some truly disturbing energy drinks which I am eager to try. Now that I think about it, I probably didn't need to take the first half of tomorrow off, but now I'm excited to sleep in so I guess it worked out for the best.

lingering dreams of the 90's

I was incredibly saddened to learn that Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan passed away today. She was only 46. I have no idea how she died. The family isn't saying, which usually means one of two things, both equally sad. This one hit me pretty hard, because the Cranberries were one of the first bands I fell in love with when I first started seriously exploring music in high school. Their debut album was probably one of the first ten albums I listened to on the first CD player I owned. The singles off that album are so deeply embedded in my soul that they come flooding back if I catch even a few notes on the radio or in a store, even after a gap of seven or eight years in between listenings.

Today was a fairly rough Monday at work, but tomorrow is going to be ridiculously easy. Today was technically a holiday in a lot of places, so hardly any new correspondence came in, which means there won't be all that much for me to do tomorrow. That's a good thing, because I'm only working a half day tomorrow and Wednesday. My Hufflepuff friend and I are going to Seattle for Maureen Johnson's signing! There may also be a burger with BeardsWin at some point!

I'm already falling behind on the 365 Movie Challenge, but I knew that was going to happen this week. I have too much cleaning to do before Jughead gets here on Saturday. It's not going well. Anyway, I did watch a Netflix movie tonight, but was terrible. I watched Turbo Kid, which is one of those ironic 80's pastiche flicks, like Kung Fury. This one is about a kid in a post-apocalyptic wasteland who stumbles across the corpse of the real version of his favorite superhero comic, so he puts on the suit himself and gains the ability to make people explode. The tone is very weird, because it tries to have a Last Starfighter or Explorers vibe, but it feels more like a Troma film, especially with all the completely over-the-top gore. I think I didn't like it because it just didn't strike me as sincere. It somehow comes off as a little... smug? Does that make sense? I know a lot of people really flipped for this movie, but I'm just not feeling it.
Had a nice relaxing afternoon running errands with C-Cakes. We started at Uwajimaya, which I haven't been to in way too long. As usually, I looked for at least one new sweet and one new salty snack to try, as well as a couple new beverages, and she did the same. Pretty much our only misstep was the salty snack I got, which an odd sort of tangerine flavored cracker. It barely had any flavor, which was a surprise. I was much more successful with the sweets, including a Kit-Kat I've never seen before and something that's basically just Pocky but with the coating on the inside of the pretzel stick instead of the outside. Oh, and there was a really tasty carbonated tea beverage.

I also introduced C-Cakes to the wonders of Cash & Carry. Always fun to bring a new person there. I mostly just go there to restock my rice, lentils, and sandwich fixings, so going with somebody who had never been was like seeing it with new eyes. Plus we went down a lot of aisles I normally ignore, so that was exciting.

I spent the entire rest of the day watching Doctor Who and sorting cards. I am now finally caught up for the first time in I want to say three or four years. The previous couple of seasons have had some uneven episodes, but season ten was pretty solid start to finish. The Christmas special, in which the Doctor regenerates into a woman for the first time, had an absolutely staggering amount of fan service. Also a surprisingly emotional and fitting end to Capaldi's run. I wish he had got to do at least one season with the new showrunner, but I am still eager to see what we get this fall. I will definitely be subscribing to that on Amazon. No way I am going to wait a year and a half for those to show up for free on Prime Video.

but I didn't order a pizza

Today's first adventure was seeing Molly's Game with my Hufflepuff friend. This movie tells the story of Molly Bloom, who started out as a skier who was a serious Olympic hopeful until an injury during her qualifying run put an end to her career. She took a gap year and went to Los Angeles to find herself, where she stumbled into the world of underground poker and ended up running some of the most exclusive games in the world until things went south in a big way. It's an immensely entertaining movie, largely due to the utter awesomeness of Jessica Chastain as Molly Bloom and Idris Elba as her lawyer. It's a riveting story, and Molly is an extremely compelling person who I would really love to spend a long bus ride with. Most of the poker stuff went over my head, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment at all.

I spent the rest of the day out running secret errands, most of which were very successful. I think there were really only two of them that I didn't manage, and that was just because I ran out of juice at around six. Oh, and I didn't finish my laundry, but that's because all the machines were occupied again. That means I'll have to get up early and do that, because I have C-Cakes adventures tomorrow!

I watched the first three episodes of Doctor Who season ten tonight. So far it's pretty solid. I know Moffat has been fairly hit and miss for most people the past few years. This season seems a little stronger than the last one. I still really like Capaldi, and I almost wish he could have got one more season after Moffat left, but I'm pretty excited for the new Doctor. I am really really tempted to watch another one before I go to bed, but I really need to get up and do that laundry.

leaning in to the 70's

Heeeey season ten of Doctor Who is finally free on Amazon Prime Video! ♥ Well, that's definitely going to distract me from being distracted by Assassin's Creed Origins for at least a few days! I totally thought they were going to add it before Christmas to try and entice people into purchasing the Christmas special, but I'm pretty sure I checked ON Christmas and it wasn't up yet.

Speaking of Christmas, I wonder where would be a good place to find Christmas wrapping paper in January? It may be a few weeks late but I am still bound and determined to have a Christmas, even if I have to do it one person at a time.

Work was slightly dumb today, but not nearly as bad as the past few days have been. It's still been a surprisingly busy week considering we don't really have any major deadlines. Maybe all the brokers are still playing catch-up after all the work they didn't do over the holidays.

After work, my movie buddy and I tried once again to see I, Tonya, but it's still selling out like crazy. Plan B was to grab dinner and then go see Proud Mary, so that's what we did. Proud Mary is a movie starring Taraji P. Henson as an assassin who takes a young street kid under his wing when she sees him being abused by the grumpy Russian version of Fagin. It's your basic "assassin trying to do one good thing" story, although it's a little weirdly edited, and all the plot beats are visible a mile off. I would say overall it's a fair to middling film, except it does have one card up its sleeve, and it plays that card to great effect in the last act in an action sequence that belongs in a far better movie. It makes me think of the way I used to play Marvel vs Capcom back at Comics & Comix. I would basically flail around aimless punching and blocking until I built up a level three super meter, and then I would unleash something really spectacular. That's kind of what the movie does. Actually, my biggest complaint is that the marketing (and even the opening credits!) are really leaning in on this 70's blaxploitation vibe, but the movie itself doesn't have a whiff of it. Totally modern.

I think... I won?

I never could get the hang of Thursdays. The emails are always the worst on Thursdays. I'm not 100% sure why. The emails are stupid on Tuesday and terrible on Thursday. I sort of get why they are stupid on Tuesday, because I am usually processing Monday's emails on Tuesday, and of course people aren't going to be sending their most intelligent thoughts on a Monday when they still have weekend brain. I don't know why all the jerks wait until Wednesday to email, though. Anybody have any insight into this?

Despite today's work being unusually bad, one awesome thing happened today. Maureen Johnson has a new book coming out called Truly Devious. My Hufflepuff friend and I are actually going on a Seattle road trip to go to her signing! Anyway, she was giving copies of it away on Twitter, and then her agent joined in the fun. All you had to do was explain why you think you should get a copy. I told the story of flying to Las Vegas just to get an Awkward Voldemort Hug from Maureen, and how the dessert salami I brought from Olympic Provisions ended up setting off the bomb detector at the airport because it had a similar consistency to C4. Maureen's agent thought that was amazing and decided it was worth a book! ♥

After work, my movie buddy and I tried to go see I, Tonya, but it was sold out so we had to settle for The Greatest Showman, which is the musical about the life of P.T. Barnum. I normally really enjoy musicals, but I was having a hard time connecting to this one. I finally realized it was because I know too much about Barnum, so I knew how much of the movie was utter bullshit. Near the end of the movie I had a revelation that made it a lot more enjoyable. The musical isn't an adaptation of his actual life, but the exact movie he would make about himself if he were alive today. I would say the lyrics of most of the songs were still fairly weak, but the actual staging of the musical numbers was frequently impressive and usually delightful. Anyway, if you don't mind seeing a shifty douche-bag re-imagined as a charming roguish social justice warrior, maybe it's worth watching. Probably on Netflix, though.