a_bit_of_wit_2: (petrol we're running out)
As we get ready to move into our new apartment, April, Danielle ([livejournal.com profile] speccygeekgrrl), and I are putting some extraneous stuff on eBay in the hopes people buy said stuff and ultimately, lighten our loads. 

As of now, the stuff I put up on sale today consists of some books and graphic novels:

--From Hell, by Alan Moore
--Volumes 1 and 2 of The Perhapanauts
--Tellos Colossal, Volume 1
--Doctor Who Classics, Volume 1
--Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, Collector's Edition
--A pack of 10 Kid Icarus Uprising AR (Augmented Reality) cards (to be used in conjunction with the game of the same name for the 3DS)

Danielle has put up for sale some of her BPAL (Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs) perfumes/oils. Maybe some of you lovely people would love to grab some of it and smell awfully nice. 


Brian & April's stuff for sale
Danielle's stuff for sale

Have a look-see, and place some bids! If not, then share the links--thanks!
a_bit_of_wit_2: (fox news)
Well, thank goodness. Election is OVER. Glad at the result, although I was an idiot and stayed up till 2 AM that night watching the concession/victory speeches. WORTH IT. Not only was I glad for myself, but I was extremely happy for all my LGBT friends, and of course, all my female friends (who far and away are the majority of my friends) who get to keep all their ladybits and their dignity. I think Jon Stewart said it best though--after ALL THE MONEY that was spent these past few years, we ended up with no change in terms of our federal government. And we're gonna reap those consequences. For all of our bellyaching, all our griping about this Congress, we pretty much voted them all back. Apparently, that whole "only 10% of the country actually approves of this Congress" wasn't enough to sway us, as a whole, to elect a whole new one. There were, of course, some notable changes: Elizabeth Warren was elected, Tammy Baldwin (first openly gay Senator), the woman who is a wounded veteran whose name currently escapes me...the fact that now the Senate is 20% female. Awesome stuff. There's room for more improvement, to be sure, but these things will take time. But it's over. And Florida STILL hasn't been decided yet--THANK GOD THE ELECTION DIDN'T HINGE ON FLORIDA AGAIN FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

I can only hope now, with the majority (albeit a slim one) of the country picking President Obama again, that the GOP finally get off their totally obstructionist, spiteful, and racist (yes, I said it--let's not beat around the bush here) views of him, and actually do the work we want them to do. He can't seek a 3rd term, so there's no sense in trying to stymie everything he does anymore. 


Politics aside, I've come to the realization that we have about 5 weeks left in this semester. And my current course load reflects that: we're reaching the point in the semester where the assignments are getting longer, more involved, and more time-consuming. Soon final papers, projects, and portfolios will be on the horizon, and I expect to be buried in all of it. 

And on top of all this, we begin the process of moving house in A WEEK. We signed the lease on the new apartment on Wednesday, and starting the 15th, we begin transitioning. OY. I have a feeling that April will be doing the bulk of the moving since I'll be unavailable, but I'll see if I can help when I can. I still can't do much in terms of heavy lifting (still have a slowly healing wound to contend with), but any help is better than none. In the meantime, I've been putting stuff on eBay that we don't need, and so far, everything that's been posted has sold. If you wanna have a look, check out the stuff for sale right here.

So, yeah. That's the current goings-on. More to come, I'm sure. 
a_bit_of_wit_2: (this means war)
Oh, some free time. Bless you kindly.

My goodness, I've been absent from the ol' LJ for a long time. I haven't missed too much, it seems. Lately I've been starting to wonder if I should even bother paying for this thing anymore. My friends' list has been reduced to April and Danielle (they being the only two people on my f-list who still regularly update), what with the real-time allure of Facebook and Twitter now to keep up with. Thoughts in real-time! Whoda thunk it?

But to the 2 people who still are keeping track of my goings-on in the world we must all inhabit, it's been very busy. But let's recap, for those who have lost track of the score.

Left my job at the end of August to go back to school full-time. If everything holds and I don't have to withdraw again due to my rebellious guts, I'll be done in 2014.

Character Battle 14, my very last contest, came to an end a few weeks ago. I haven't had time to miss it.

This being the first time I'm a full-time student since fall 2004 back in that sinkhole that was MCLA, I've long since forgotten what it was like to be on such a schedule--more so, since I'm an art student and have to deal with studio courses. It's been rough. Ran into some trouble early on when my guts tried to undo me again (not to mention give me canker sores that went on for 3 weeks), but things have since quieted down, and I am stable. I was overjoyed to find out that I don't need surgery for Crohn's, and that the surgical wound inflicted on me two years ago for fistula correction is very nearly healed up.

I've survived through midterms, and now we're in the 2nd half of the semester. I'm holding on to a 3.7 GPA at the moment, and I hope to maintain it as I move into the harder, and more time-consuming part of it, where professors assign longer and more time-consuming art projects, and longer research papers.

I'm struggling a bit in terms of my social life--I knew going into this that I'd have pretty much no social life because most of my time is spent doing homework or other school-related stuff, but I didn't expect to feel the occasional rounds of depression from the lack of human contact. Going down to New Paltz for Wyatt's birthday party was a very nice shot in the arm--seeing everyone made me feel very good.

Also, I've barely seen April. Knew that was going to happen too, but it's still annoying. She's putting up with it as well, but come December, I'd love to get reacquainted.

In other news, we are going to be moving again; this house is trying to kill us. Also, due to all the repair work the landlord had to do, he wants to raise our rent by 300 a month. In addition, we're having to put up with a rather stupid realtor who has been showing the place to prospective renters. Whatever. After November 30, we're no longer responsible. We found a place in Guilderland, about 15 minutes away from here, and we'll begin moving in mid-November. Danielle will be moving with us, while Ryan will be moving out to a place of his own. So, we go back to apartment living, but that's ok. I'm looking forward to the next Januarymas.

In photo-related news, I've been updating my deviantART more often, and I've also joined the ranks of Tumblr in an effort to shamelessly promote my images. You can see my Tumblr here.

With Frankensnowpocalypseicaneageddon 2012 about to bear down on us (or not--I'm leaning heavily on the NOT), I find myself not believing the hype. Not a bit. I find myself laughing at all the panicked grocery shoppers who will stock up on enough canned goods to last through the next ice age. Call me jaded, but after all the hype weather forecasters gave us last winter about every single winter storm destined to hit us and never did, I feel justified. I'll believe this when I see it. This mentality may bite me in the ass, but whatever. So far, all's that happened is that the wind blew a bit. But apparently, the THREAT of possible doom has been enough to pretty much close every school and most businesses down, including my own college. Means I don't have class until Thursday.

However, if you do indeed get pounded by the storm, you're welcome to come here for shelter.

But if we do lose power, we've got board games. Oil lamps. Candles, camp stove. I can also have sex. How's that for a crazy idea?

Wyatt persuaded me to download Happy Wars from Xbox Live Arcade; it's the first free-to-play game (EVAR!!!!!) on the 360. It's hilarious. Basically, here's the best way to describe it. It's 15 vs. 15 online multiplayer, and the object is to capture the other team's tower before they do the same to you. Along the way, you erect towers which serve as spawning points in case you die. The battle ends after 15 minutes (or if a castle tower has been conquered). In the ensuing chaos, you kill members of the other team, support your own team, etc. But the kicker: it's all done in a hilarious, cartoony style of play; avatars armed with ham bones, equipped with tin can helmets and shields that look like pigs, for example.

Basically, think of it as King Arthur and his knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail trying to take Camelot from those nasty French guards. It's hilarious. If you want in on the fun, my gamertag is ERoivas.

Stay safe, everyone who's in the path of the oncoming bit of weather. For now, I'll take this rare moment and unwind a bit.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (For the win!)
It's the end...but the moment has been prepared for...

I'm gonna come right out and say this: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little sad about the end of the Character Battles. I didn't think I would be doing these for eight years. I didn't expect to have (and maintain) enough interest--not just from myself, but also from my players--in these things to do fourteen contests in all.

I've explained why I'm calling it quits after this remarkable run; not for lack of interest. Despite all the work that goes into all of these, I still very much enjoy running these. It's because it's time to move on. When I started these in the summer of 2004, many of us were either in grade school, or just moving on to college, and really, still being kids, with tons of free time. Now, here in 2012, many of us who have been along for the ride (myself included) are either still in college, have full-time jobs, are in committed relationships, and some of you have even gotten married and are beginning families. The free time is no longer there. That's true of myself as well; free time for me is at a premium, and has been for a while. And as the level of interest has declined over the past few contests, it's become clear that, while we've all had fun, we all have lives; no longer spending our days and evenings on message boards, forums, instant messenger, and chat, being geeks and nerds. The final realization came just before the first deadline for this contest's submissions, when I saw that I had just eight or so people entered, and it was seriously looking like I was going to have the lowest number of entrants ever, despite the theme of this contest (Final Fantasy), and that I increased the prize amounts.

Real life takes over. We're no longer teenagers. And it's sad, in a way. But, life goes on.

Even so, I've got a lot of great memories from this 8-year run. And how these things evolved; first starting on my own forum, Into the Lifestream, where anyone who wanted in had to fill out a bracket by hand via Microsoft Word. Later, Joshie, inspired by my own forum, created Fantasy World, and the contests ran on both our forums simultaneously. Then they made the jump to my LiveJournal and Joshie's later site, Late to the Party. Finally, I took the contests to Facebook and The Battling Arena. It closed the circle, actually. These contests began on message boards, and will end on a message board.

Some things that stick out: the epic Final Battle in Character Battle 9 between Leon Kennedy and Eddie Dombrowski, in which over 130 votes were cast and Leon won by just a few votes...Peter shattering the record for number of battles won in a row...Ben's unbreakable record of 46 days in 1st place...me winning my own contest in CB3, where the Final Battle was decided via tiebreaker (the only one to do so)...Sarah winning the very first contest when Laguna beat Sephiroth in the Final Battle (and her having the only correct pick), and her also becoming the first multiple-contest winner, when she won CB6: Video Game Heroes. Ron becoming the first 3-contest winner. And of course, the podcasts.

I'm gonna miss these, but I will be looking back at them fondly. Just for nostalgia's sake, let's look back at the winners:

Final Fantasy Character Battle Contest (July-September 2004)
Champion: EyesOfATragedy
2nd place: S. Roth
3rd place: Aeris115

Video Game Villains Character Battle Contest (January-March 2005)
Champion: CloudANDTidus
2nd place: WhorerOfMoogles
3rd place: Tsukinoyuki

Super Smash Melee Character Battle Contest (July-September 2005)
Champion: S. Roth
2nd place: Saya
3rd place: Dragon Mage

Female Gamer Character Battle Contest (January-April 2006)
Champion: Saya
2nd place: S. Roth
3rd place: Diamond

Colosso: RPG Character Battle Contest (July-September 2006)
Champion: Kinie
2nd place: Magus
3rd place: CloudANDTidus

Video Game Heroes Character Battle Contest (January-March 2007)
Champion: EyesOfATragedy
2nd place: Brie
3rd place: Saya

Generation Seven Character Battle Contest (July-September 2007)
Champion: Kinie
2nd place: MusicalRicardo
3rd place: Saya

Battle Royal: Character Battle 8 (January-March 2008)
Champion: Saya
2nd place: C&T
3rd place: S. Roth

Character Battle 9: Silent Evil (January-February 2009)
Champion: CrystalGuardian
2nd place: S. Roth
3rd place: EyesOfATragedy

Character Battle 10: Metal Gear (June-July 2009)
Champion: S. Roth
2nd Place: MusicalRicardo
3rd place: C&T

Character Battle 11: Kingdom Hearts (December 2009-January 2010)
Champion: Jesse
2nd Place: TetsuoTrunks
3rd Place: Nilfalasiel
4th Place: Kinie
5th Place: Saya

Character Battle 12: Second Fiddle (June 2010-August 2010)
Champion: Richard
2nd Place: EyesOfATragedy
3rd Place: Aeris115

Character Battle 13: Into the Legend (July 2011-August 2011)
Champion: Kinie
2nd Place: Arclayn
3rd Place: EyesOfATragedy

Character Battle 14: Final Fantasy/Dancing Mad (July 2012-October 2012)
Champion: Gabriel C.
2nd Place: Brittany
3rd Place: E

So what am I going to do with the slightly more free time I'll have? Probably devote it toward my schoolwork, as I attempt to finally get my Bachelor's degree. Get my career in photography off the ground. Spend more time with the wife. Tackle the backlog of video games that seems to only get bigger. Focus on keeping my health in check.

Will there ever be another Character Battle? Never say never, I guess. The mood may strike me again some time down the road; there are still one or two ideas for a contest I'd still like to run, but I don't feel an overwhelming desire to bring those to fruition. Maybe a few years from now, I might do a one-off contest, but we'll see. As of now, I have no plans to do more. If anyone else wants to grab the baton and continue on with a 15th contest (and beyond, or start the numbering again in your own era), then please, let me know. I'll show you how I do it, and, you know, it'll be nice to just be a participant, for once. Someone else do the work.

Time to bring this thing to a close, I suppose. All that remains is for me to spread my thanks. Thanks to Joshie for being a good sport and letting me host most of these contests on your sites. I hope I didn't inconvenience you too badly whenever I hijacked your site for a few months. Also, more thanks to Joshie and Zack for being the only two people to have played EVERY single one of my contests. You guys need a medal or something. Thanks to the people who have suggested characters, contest themes, and have served as my tiebreakers these past eight years. Thanks to everyone who voted in every and any battle.

But most importantly, thank YOU. All of you who have ever entered my contests. Even if you only entered just one. You know who you are, but if not...

Dragon Mage/Seraphi Magus/Magus
CrystalGuardian/Ryan W.
Liam Baden
Paul Morris
Kim Jones
Whorer of Moogles/nCS
Happy Slappy Jappy/Vivi
Chris G.
Lord of Chocobos
Mari the Great
Qrayzee Star
Sarah Ritchie
Gabriel C.
James C.
Danielle C.
Robert H.

You made these contests fun, enjoyable, and worth all the work needed to run them. I hope you honestly had fun competing and playing along, even if you didn't win anything. So many thanks.

And that, as they say, is that. You guys have been great. See ya around.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (O hai)
So...yeah. Been a while since I've given a photo-related update on the ol' LJ. I long for the days when I have more free time...but this'll have to do.

My two sites where I keep my photography have seen some updates in recent times. Firstly, my PhotoReflect site, Mad Squirrel Photos, wiped away all of my images. So I'm in the process of putting my images back on there. However, as I was looking back through what is now 9 years of photography, I find myself looking at these old images and looking how far I've come...and how much more improvement could be made. So it's being re-organized.

My deviantART site has been seeing more updates of late. While I get a good deal of traffic there, there's only one problem. I do, on occasion, nude shoots. The images from those shoots can only be seen on dA by other members. The site doesn't allow just anyone to traipse in and look at nude images. While I can understand the reasons why, it does get annoying. So, when I put those images up, they'll go on both sites, so that non-dA people can also look at my work without being forced to sign up for a dA account they'll likely never use.

So, what's new on the sites?

Over at Mad Squirrel Photos, the galleries are being redesigned. I'm breaking down my film work into their own galleries, as well as my digital work. New galleries include a space for my studio lighting work and my artistic nudes.

Meanwhile, over at my deviantART, recent images include my studio lighting coursework, as well as two nude shoots. Again, to see those images, you need to be a dA member. Mad Squirrel has no such requirement.

So go to those sites, check them out, let me know what you think!
a_bit_of_wit_2: (Downloadable Content)
What ho!

Hope you're all managing to enjoy your summer--and at the very least, staying cool while the country seems to be burning to a crisp.

We're getting to that part of the year where I'd like to honor some of video gaming's most classic franchises--as you know, many of the franchises we know and love began in the mid-late 1980s, and many of them are hitting some milestone anniversaries. I'd like to record some episodes celebrating these classics. If you want to join in any of the episodes and wax nostalgic, then please, let me know. Here's what I have planned:

Saturday, July 28

Episode 1: Street Fighter. First released in August 1987, this series has given us plenty of play these past 25 years.

Episode 2: Mortal Kombat. Released in arcades in 1992, this series turned the fighting genre into a bloody, gory mess...and loved by millions. 20 years later, the series is still going strong.

Sunday, July 29

Episode 3: Mega Man. Released in December 1987, this Capcom flagship has given us some awesome gameplay, great music, and memorable characters. While a Mega Man title hasn't been released in 2 years, Capcom's sure to keep this series going after it hits its 25th. NOTE: there will be a guest host for this episode.

Episode 4: Kirby. Getting its debut 20 years ago on the Game Boy, this adorable creature has been copying abilities and defeating King Dedede on many a Nintendo console.

So again, if any of you out there want in on any of these episodes, let me know!
a_bit_of_wit_2: (fox news)
I didn't expect that I would be doing these for 8 years, but like all good things, this too, must come to an end.

I began to see the writing on the wall a few contests ago, to be honest. After the 8th contest, I wanted to scale it down because doing 128-character contests twice a year was starting to no longer become fun...it was starting to become work. I knew that was the first sign of trouble.

So to keep my level of interest, and also because I wanted to make it easier on myself, I made these character battles 64 characters, half the size. It allowed the contests to be done in a shorter time frame, and it also allowed me to do some themes that I couldn't do in the larger version. And those were fun; for example, I will never forget the epic Final Battle in Character Battle 9 (Silent Evil) between Leon Kennedy and Eddie Dombrowski, where over 130 votes were cast, and the lead swapped hands several times...or Kinie being the first 3-time winner, or Joshie and Zack having been in every single one thus far.

However, the longer I do this contests, the number of people who enter are gradually getting less and less. I've been coming to the realization that the people who play these contests are no longer in high school. Many, in fact, now have lives of their own, between jobs, more schooling...some have even gotten married, will be married soon, and are even starting families. Free time is no longer in such abundance, including my own. Between work, my health, my wife, my home, and me going back to college full-time shortly, my free time is at a premium.

So, it has been a great, great run doing these contests...but this 14th Character Battle is going to be my last one. If someone ever wants to do these in my stead, I'll gladly impart the knowledge on how to do so, and maybe he or she can even improve on them.

It began with Final Fantasy, with Sarah winning that one via a bizarre twist of fate, Laguna beating out Sephiroth.

How fitting, then, it shall end with Final Fantasy as the final contest, as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.

So, as this will be my last contest, I am going to extend the entry deadline by a week. Last day for entries will be at 11:59:59 PM EST, Friday the 13th, with the contest starting Monday, the 16th.

Let's end this 8-year run with a massive turnout. The biggest one I've had was the last time I did a 128-character format, Character Battle 8. I got 30. Can we blow past it?

Good luck to all. To begin making your entry, you can start here--it'll tell you everything you need to know and do: http://l-loire.livejournal.com/469699.html
a_bit_of_wit_2: (Default)

Yes, signups for Character Battle 14 are now open!!!! For the next 3 weeks, you all have a chance to enter a contest where you could win a prize of $100!

As you may or may not know, the theme for this contest is Final Fantasy, celebrating the franchise's 25th anniversary this year. However, this is not simply a repeat of Character Battle 1 (done way back in 2004); it's more organized, and has more characters from more games. So, rather than bore you with the minutia of it all, here's the important stuff.

1) The entry period is from now until 11:59:59 PM, Eastern Time, Friday, July 13, 2012. So you have 4 full weeks. Contest will begin Monday, July 16, 2012. I will NOT accept late entries. One entry per person.

2) All contest battles (actually, everything relating to this contest) will take place at The Battling Arena. While you DO NOT NEED to be a member of this site to be able to vote, you will need to register if you want to post, make comments, etc.

3) To begin making your entry, you will need to be a member at BracketMaker.com. It's a free site, and you don't need to worry about spam or anything like that. It's just a requirement to be able to make your bracket picks. Once you've done that (or if you're a returning player), then begin making your entries right here: Character Battle 14: Final Fantasy--Dancing Mad

4) If you want to see images of all the characters competing in this contest, you can browse the image gallery here: CB14 Characters

5) It is strongly suggested that you print out or save a copy of your brackets once you've finished making them.

6) If you have any questions, you can refer to the rules at The Battling Arena, or you can ask me.

Good luck!
a_bit_of_wit_2: (Blow me.)
I purchased tickets to Zelda Symphony not too long ago; however, I've come to the realization that school is going to prevent me from going. I'd end up missing too much class time. So, if anyone is interested, I have two tickets for sale (a third may be available if the third person decides to bow out) to this event. Who wouldn't want to see an orchestra play classic Zelda themes? Details:

Date: Thursday, October 18, 2012, 8 PM
Where: Wang Theatre, Boston, MA

Seats are located in the 1st balcony, right center.

I'm willing to part with these tickets for $60 each. If anyone wants them, let me know.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (srs music)
I daresay that these two concerts I've seen this weekend of the Dave Matthews Band might have been the best yet. The place was packed; much, much more so than last night. Last night Danielle and I had spots of open grass around us. Not tonight. Tonight, had it been Danielle and I, our spot would've been completely surrounded. The crowd spilled above and beyond the top of the hill, stretching way, way back.

Tonight, Annie and I picked a spot near where I was yesterday, but a bit further down the hill. Didn't matter where you went; by the time the concert began, you weren't moving. Period. This was not a place for the easily claustrophobic. This is what I'm accustomed to going to a DMB concert--a complete and total sellout, with a vast sea of humanity stretching out for miles.

The fact that this was the band's first time back here in 2 years was easily prevalent, as I felt such an energy from the crowd that had been majorly missing in last night's concert. While I really enjoyed last night's concert, tonight was much more intense; and both the band and the crowd played off each other. When Dave himself performed the song "Sister," it was a very moving scene seeing the entire SPAC lawn illuminated in a slowly moving ocean of lit lighters. When the band launched into "Jimi Thing," the entire audience sang the entire first two verses with the band providing just the music.

And as the band jammed the final few minutes of "Two Step," the crowd was fit to bursting with amazing energy as the band seemed to just give it all they had, culminating in Carter reminding us once again why he's the best drummer ever. End of story. An electrifying finish to a great concert, to say the very least. For the curious, here was tonight's setlist:

Saturday Jun 9 2012
SPAC - Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Eh Hee
You Might Die Trying
The Stone
Everybody Wake Up
Alligator Pie
Pantala Naga Pampa
So Much To Say
Anyone Seen The Bridge
Too Much
Rhyme And Reason (performed with the support band, Lettuce)
Jimi Thing (performed with the support band, Lettuce)
Stay (performed with the support band, Lettuce)


Two Step

See you next year, DMB. Thanks for an awesome two shows.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (srs music)
And on the 6th time, Danielle [livejournal.com profile] speccygeekgrrl finally came to a Dave Matthews Band concert with me. It's her fault I love the band, so it stands to reason that she finally came.

The band is back for a 2-night romp at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and I just got back from Concert the 1st. Probably one of the better ones I've seen, with a great mix of early stuff, classics, and new stuff, including a song or two from their upcoming studio album. I go back tomorrow night, but for right now, sleep is forthcoming. Tonight's set list, for the curious:

Friday Jun 8 2012
SPAC - Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Proudest Monkey
Don’t Drink the Water
You Never Know
Funny The Way It Is
What Would You Say
Say Goodbye
Seven (performed with the support band, Lettuce)
Cant Stop (performed with the support band, Lettuce)
Shake Me Like a Monkey (performed with the support band, Lettuce)
Lie In Our Graves
You and Me
Ants Marching


#40 (partial song)
If Only
Tripping Billies
a_bit_of_wit_2: (Downloadable Content)
It's that time again, ladies and jellyspoons. Here are the subjects for the next three DLC episodes. As always, if you're interested in recording with me in any episode, let me know.

As of now, all episodes will be recorded on Saturday, June 16.

Episode 1: E3. We recap all the highlights of this year's E3, including more details on the upcoming Wii U.

Episode 2: Games for cheap. The big game makers have really begun to notice just how much the mobile gaming market is eating into their sales. With console game sales down quite a lot this year already, are gamers finally getting fed up with the $60 game, instead relying on cheap downloadable games (or even used games) to get their fix?

Episode 3: Rabid Fans. It's one thing for a company to listen to their fans regarding feedback of a game, especially in a very popular series. However, is it quite another for fans to start making demands of a game company when a game (or bits thereof) are poorly received? Should the makers stand by their product, or should they cave to fans?

So there we go. Any questions, ask away!
a_bit_of_wit_2: (all caps)
This week has made me realize how much I miss my central A/C in my last apartment. In this house, there's no such thing, and April and I have been bent to the will of atmospheric science--heat rises and all that crap (well, farts always manage to find your nose, too, no matter what body position you're in, or even if you rip one then run; it always finds you. Well, science, have you an explanation for THAT?).

We've been screwed by heat and humidity, which has made a good night's sleep seem like a luxury. So we bought an A/C for the bedroom. And when we finally decide to install it...the heat and humidity breaks. Fuck you too, weather. It looks to be a good night--maybe the 3 fans we have in the room currently might make for a pleasant night's sleep.

In other news, going to be doing some traveling soon. I was originally going to go to Danielle's ([livejournal.com profile] speccygeekgrrl) college graduation, but as the date got closer, I realized that if I went, I'd be doing a lot of driving in a very short amount of time (3 hours there either today or tomorrow, then 3 hours back on Sunday, and then it's a 4-hour drive to the Cape on Tuesday). Between that, gas, and needing a hotel room, it wasn't feasible. I'm not too broken up, though--Danielle is going to be living with us for the summer, so we're rescuing liberating saving picking her up from New Bedford when we leave the Cape on Saturday, June 2. Before then, however, I have family to visit, friends to see, and work to do as a wedding photographer for Ronny & Dejah's wedding on May 31.

Plans for the weekend, then, since I'm not going to the Western Lands of NY? Heading down to New Paltz for the weekend, since that's a much more agreeable (and considerably shorter) drive, hanging out with Wyatt and company for his congratulatory barbecue (he just got his Master's from SUNY New Paltz). On Monday, we have a Happy Everything Party back here--combining Mother's Day, my mother-in-law's birthday, Ryan's birthday, the in-laws' wedding anniversary...this is why when April and I decide to have kids, we have to plan when to procreate. We have to time it so that we do not get a November or May baby. Too much shit happening in both months.

Speaking of shit, I'm glad to say that I'm still feeling like me, with the only issue I'm currently having is that I'm still experiencing some muscle soreness from bowling last Sunday. This is the issue I have with the Crohn's drug I'm on--works like a charm, but it's an immunosuppresant. Slows everything down. It means that anything that happens to me is going to hit harder and last longer than it would a healthy person. On top of that, I can't have the usual meds one would take for muscle pain--ibuprofen, Aleve, or aspirin; all of those can cause a flare-up, and I don't want a repeat of a month ago, thank you. In a way, though, it does suck because my only options for pain are either Tylenol (which does shit for muscle pain, as it's not a relaxant), or narcotics like hydrocodone (which also does shit for muscle pain, but makes me all loopy and forget about it for a while). So it's hot baths and heating pads for me.

And finally, the all-Dave Matthews Band weekend at Saratoga Performing Arts Center is quickly approaching. The band has a new studio album out in September, so they're working in some of the new songs in this tour--can't wait to hear them.

So there we are for now...enjoy the holiday weekend!
a_bit_of_wit_2: (ada)
Sex. And dreams.

It's said that some people dream in black and white. It's an interesting thing, because I always dream in color. I very rarely have nightmares, and most of the dreams I can remember are pleasant. There are some that I remember very vividly, many years later, because they were so fucking odd and strange, the stuff of maybe one of Lovecraft's eldritch adventures (although I haven't dreamt of anything yet quite as bizarre as Randolph Carter's unknown Kadath).

However, I do dream about sex pretty regularly. As a caveat, I take no responsibility for what my subconscious does while I sleep. It's interesting, though, because it doesn't really matter the timing that they occur. I could be getting laid nightly, and the sex dreams could still come.

Some things amongst these dreams are common throughout: every time it's with a different woman. I've never had consecutive sex dreams where I've banged the same woman (or women--threesomes do happen, but they're very, very rare). In almost every dream, the woman is someone I know personally, always a friend. It is very, very rare that my brain just invents a fictitious lady. I'm amused that my brain keeps a Rolodex of all the female friends I have, and pulls out a random one each time. I've dreamt multiple times of having sex with the same lady, but again, never consecutively.

Another commonality: if April is the one that comes up in the rotation, it means that we have gone too long without having sex. My brain only uses her when we've gone without for some weeks. Or, if we've gone a long while without sexing each other, my subconscious will invariably create a cockblock with whoever I'm dreaming about banging, like some event occurs to prevent consummation, or I wake up.

Also, it's never just sex. The dreams invariably do have a plot to them--it's never some sort of cheap porn setting. The sex is usually in the context of the dream itself, a function of the exposition. For example (and, just be forewarned, I have no idea what my subconscious gets up to while I'm sleeping, so bear with me): last week, I had a dream that Renaissance Faires were made illegal by the federal government for not being Republican enough. I can't get much more specific. As a result, the government was rounding up everyone who ever worked, attended, and/or somehow took part in a Faire, and was going to punish us liberal-minded, free-thinking Rennies by death (again, why my brain comes up with this dystopian nonsense...I'm not even on any mind-altering substances at the moment).

However, because the prison system was already overcrowded, the government was going to put us in specific houses, where then a federal agent would come and kill us. The house I was in was my grandparents' townhouse--where I lived when I was FIVE. My brain pulled up the house I lived in TWENTY ONE YEARS AGO.

Anyway, in this house were a few members of the NYRF cast (don't remember who, alas), the character Miranda from Mass Effect 2 (how the FUCK she made it in this I have no idea), and the girl I'm going to be fucking, unbeknownst to me (I'll refrain from using her name so I don't embarrass the shit out of her if she reads this). All of us in the house engage in talks to try to get out of our fate, despite the Feds taking very good measures at preventing our escape. Why or how the Feds became the Gestapo I have no idea--the dream began (or what I remember of it) in medias res.

During a break in the talks, I head upstairs and into the bedroom where I and my mom used to sleep. My brain remembers every detail of that house--where my uncle's bedroom used to be before he joined the Navy, then moved to Vegas, my grandparents' bedroom (including their twin mattresses--they never slept on the same bed. That confused the shit out of me at age 5), the bathroom with its ancient tile work...hell, the only thing missing from this house were my grandparents and the dog, Chumley.

But I digress. In my former bedroom, there is said female friend, already very naked, and very sexy. Friend has resigned herself to the fact that we're all going to die at any moment (because we never know when the Feds are gonna show up and kill us), and that if we're gonna die, we might as well go out happy. So we have sex, and it's very long and drawn out. It seems like we've gone at it from all positions--we go at it for a very long time, it seems.

Not too long after, as we're beginning to dress, I hear gunshots coming from downstairs--

--and that was when I woke up, with a massive erection.

No mess, though. Despite the regular occurrence of sex dreams, they never end (if the dream takes me through to orgasm) with me waking up with a need to change underwear, which is very nice of my body, because semen clings to everything.

Now, dreams that I have when on mind-bending opiates...HA. That's a whole 'nother post.

So there we go. Not that I'm asking for any interpretation of my dreams, but what say you, Freud?
a_bit_of_wit_2: (hold me rit)
I must say, it's nice being (mostly) healthy again. After spending all of April bedridden, it's been nice to spend the last 3+ weeks up and about, getting back to being me again.

So, much has happened in that length of time. We've acquired two roommates--Heather and her boyfriend Ryan. Heather needed a place to stay in order to be closer to her job; Ryan decided to come in so he could spend his time with his girlfriend. However, now that Heather lost her job in Albany and found one in Saratoga, she'll be leaving in a few weeks, this time to be closer to her job there and not make the (somewhat long) commute from Albany to Saratoga. Ryan's likely to follow suit.

So, as they move out, we're gonna be picking up two new people shortly. The ever-awesome Danielle ([livejournal.com profile] speccygeekgrrl) will be here for a bit, now that's she's graduated and in need of a place that isn't her parents' house. And personally, I'd much rather her stay here with me in comfort and calm than at her parents', where she'd likely to become miserable. I can relate. Completely. I've grown very protective of her, I've come to realize...

Also, my brother-in-law, Ryan, is likely moving in after the lease runs out on our old apartment and probably will be here for a good while. Which will be nice--I plan on leaving my job at the end of August to go back to Sage as a full-time student. It'll be good to have extra incomes to help April out while I attempt to get my Bachelor's once and for all.

In other news, I'm heading to Cape Cod during the last week of May to visit friends and family, but also to be the wedding photographer for the wedding of Ronny & Dejah. That should be a mighty fine party. Also, I know my sister Heather wants to take me to Martha's Vineyard.

The week after, I'll be heading to Saratoga for a weekend of Dave Matthews Band concerts. A few weeks later, down to Peekskill for a long-overdue visit to Mary and James, and also...

...RenFaire. Oh, I long for the Faire. It is, without a doubt, the highlight of my summer. Don't know if we'll go there very often; heck, don't know if we're even going to Tanglewood yet. Money may be tight, and I want to save as much money as possible for the coming semester. But we'll see.

That's the news from Lake Wobegon...
a_bit_of_wit_2: (timelords)
(For context, my friend Wyatt ([livejournal.com profile] neo_ninja) is Christian, and a good man of faith. Always fun to talk theology with him.)

During our chat over God, creation, homosexuality, and ancient cultures, this gem happened:

Wyatt: there's also the fact that biblical literalism wasn't really an issue until the 1860's and that Evolution scared the shit out of secular humanists more than Christians at first, one can argue

Me: I want to ask someone this in an attempt to break their brain: "If God created the heavens and the earth, and also created mankind and all of that, then could it also be true that God created homosexuality? If He didn't want us to partake in it, why'd He give us that option?"

Wyatt: This constant pandering to Christians in the name of 'tradition' and order and the way things always have been is complete and utter bullshit and the people spewing it know it. I'm disgusted with how people are willingly using such tools to keep people in their pockets and if there is a hell or some unfortunate section of the afterlife, those are the people that are going there

Me: Let's face it, mankind enjoys the various interesting ways of sex. No amount of ancient literature is going to change it.

Wyatt: A lot of ancient literature confirms it, actually

Me: I'm not surprised. Homosexuality is certainly not new. It was embraced in some ancient cultures.

Wyatt: also, in response to your question: a classic response (with a good amount of poetry to it) is that God did not create homosexuality or sin, but merely allowed it--in order to be a true creator, one must make something completely opposite of itself, something which does not share part

Wyatt: In an analogy, God did not force us into anything, just opened a lot of doors and said 'have fun', or 'choose'

Me: So, the Earth is essentially God's sandbox-style video game.

Wyatt:  ...pretty much, yes. My love of Civilization is just a sincere form of mimicry. When I play video games I'm just being a good Christian. *sagenod*
a_bit_of_wit_2: (what is this i don't even)
I'm nuts. But I'm gonna do it. We're gonna take the Character Battle all the way up to 11 (or 14)!

Coming Summer 2012:

A character battle contest rich in history.

A character battle contest with characters from over a dozen games.

A character battle contest with characters from one of the world's most famous video game franchises.

How many characters? 128 of them.

That's right. For the first time since Character Battle 8 (Winter 2008), the 128-character battle format is making a special appearance. Why?

Because for a series that has been around 25 years, a 64-character format is just not big enough.

I bring you:


Yes, indeed! Character Battle 14: Dancing Mad brings the Final Fantasy cast back for an encore! However, this is simply not going to be a rehash of the very first Character Battle contest (done in the summer of 2004!). In the past 8 years, we've had several new Final Fantasy games, and plenty of new characters to love and hate. However, the past 25 years have brought us some of gaming's (certainly if you're an RPG fan) most memorable characters, scenes, and music. To honor them, we bring them back for a 128-character battle to determine who, exactly, remains standing as the most memorable.

While I'm still working out logistics and how I'm going to work this (after all, it's been 4+ years since I used the larger format), I now bring the floor to you. I am asking you now to recommend characters from this amazing franchise. Before you send me a complete list of every character from the past 25 years, please read the following guidelines.

As this will be a 128-character battle, there will be 4 divisions of 32 characters.

1) I am using characters from the MAIN NUMBERED SERIES only. To clear up any confusion, I will be utilizing characters from the following games: Final Fantasy 1, 2, 3, 4 (including The After Years), 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (including 10-2), 11, 12, 13 (including 13-2), and 14.

2) Doing the math, this means that I'll be using approximately 7-9 characters from each game, depending on the size of each game's cast. Some games may be more represented due to a smaller cast size in some games, especially the early ones which didn't have a massive cast.

3) With that in mind, I ask that give me no more than 20 suggested characters. I would appreciate it if you give me characters from multiple games. If you give me a block of 20 characters from just one or two games, I'm chucking your list.

4) Also keep in mind that the star characters from each game are pretty much going to be in the final bracket (Cecil, Locke, Terra, Cloud, Sephiroth, Squall, etc), so if possible, try to give me a list of supporting characters. If you can't, I'll understand.

5) Since I am using a seeded bracket once again, the more suggestions for a particular character, the higher they will be placed in the divisions.

Suggestions can be given to me in a variety of ways:

1) Facebook—leave me a message, don't post to my wall. I want the suggestions to be sent to me only and not seen by the public.

2) LiveJournal comments (if you still use LJ).

3) Email: lloire1119@hotmail.com, subject line as “CB14 suggestions.”

4) If you happen to catch me on a messenger program, you can find me at: AIM—Xcbrian2; Yahoo—LLoire01; MSN—lloire1119@hotmail.com

The suggestion period will end on May 25, which will give me time to then create a contest bracket and hopefully get signups started in early June.

I look forward to seeing what your minds come up with for characters! Any questions, please ask.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (Eggs! And milk!)
So, after overdosing on laxatives and having my colonoscopy yesterday, here's what's now going on:

The colon is a little bit worse off than it was a year ago. Most of the colon is still clean of disease, including my rectum. However, because what's going in my gut is simply very stubborn inflammation due to Crohn's, my gastro still has yet another idea.

Now, if the results of the CT scan and colonoscopy showed narrowing, strictures, or an actual bowel obstruction due to Crohn's, then surgery would've been the immediate thing to do. That's something that really can't be corrected by meds. But because this is just inflammation, he would like to try doubling the dose of the drug I'm currently on--the IV meds called Remicade.

Since I stopped responding to the basic dose (which is the lowest possible dose--5 mg of drug for every kilogram I weigh--administered every 8 weeks), I can safely have the dose doubled and get it more often. In fact, according to the drug manufacturer, this is what you do if people stop responding to the basic dose. So, what we're going to try is a double dose of Remicade, every 6 weeks instead of 8, and hope that does the trick. Surgery is not completely off the table (after all, about 75% of Crohn's patients will need some manner of bowel surgery at some point), but I'm glad to know we can try this option first.

I love my gastro. He is doing everything he possibly can to keep me out of the operating room for as long as possible. It is muchly appreciated. If the increased dose of Remicade does the job, I hope to finally be back to my normal self soon.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (the 1st doc)
Having a disease is bad enough. Having a chronic disease is worse. Having a chronic disease that doesn't show any external signs can be downright maddening.

While I can happily say that I haven't had the experience of someone actually questioning how sick I am (Crohn's doesn't typically exhibit visible symptoms on the skin and such, although it can), I still find myself frustrated. If you were to look at me right now--apart from the wild hair and the fact that I've gotten skinnier, you would think that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. Yet inside, my immune and my digestive systems have declared a war against me, for reasons that are a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It struck me six years ago without any warning at all. I'll never know for certain (unless the science of Crohn's disease is perfected in such a way that it becomes possible) what ultimately caused me to be hit with this nasty disease, but I have it, and I must deal with it.

What's been particularly maddening, specifically with me, is that the disease seems to be always one step ahead. Just two years ago, the meds I was on for years decided to stop working, and my body developed a fistula which needed surgical correction. After that, I was put on a drug that is frequently touted by doctors as one of the best medicines for Crohn's disease known to current science. A month ago, THAT drug stopped working, and here is where I now find myself, experiencing a flare-up which has caused me, to put in video game terms, to be hit by a bunch of status ailments at once, something that has never happened before--an outbreak of canker sores in my mouth, nightly fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, arthritis-like pain in my feet, fatigue...all accompanied by the usual agonizing gut pain I feel when I normally eat something that disagrees with me.

Since the initial flare-up, some of these symptoms have gone away--the vomiting has stopped, the diarrhea has tamed, and as I worked solid food back into my diet, I realized (with the return of gut agony) that my digestive system apparently can't handle more than one solid meal a day. This explains why I've lost nearly 30 pounds in the last month. My gut simply refuses to process anything more than one meal a day. I have to subsist on liquids for the rest. It's too much work for an actively-inflamed intestine.

So, since the drugs have stopped working, I'm left with really just one alternative: surgery. The surgery would remove the infected and inflamed parts of my intestine, and then the remaining healthy intestine would be sewn back together. The possible benefits? Remission of the disease. The downside? The likelihood that the disease would return at the site of the surgery. Most sources put the chance of Crohn's returning at 50%.

But what are my other alternatives? Languish and suffer in my bed and let the disease continue to progress? Or get rid of the infected parts now and enjoy at least SOME decent quality of life for a while (maybe a LONG while if I keep myself healthy)?

This is the question I face. And I must decide soon, otherwise the disease will not only consume my social life, domestic life, and end any shot at me finishing school, getting a career going, and starting a family...but will also eventually consume me.

But you wouldn't know it if you looked at me.
a_bit_of_wit_2: (Luigi)
All righty, might as well get you up to date on what my current situation is, health-wise. Because my mouth is full of canker sores at the moment and I don't want to repeat myself a dozen times (because it's a bit painful to talk), here is the situation.

I had a flare-up a few weeks ago, which caused me a lot of gut pain--the usual. However, unlike before, where they've gone away in a day or two, this one hasn't left. Because of this flare-up, I am experiencing a wide range of symptoms I've never had before at the same time, all of which are related with Crohn's disease:

--canker sores popping up all at once in my mouth
--arthritis-like pain in my feet
--weight loss
--nightly fevers

Right now, the gut pain is gone, and I'm slowly re-introducing solid food back into my diet, but the other symptoms above still remain, which tells me that the inflammation in my intestine has not gone away.

I am seeing my doctors and am having tests done to see the extent of the flare-up.

There is a possibility that surgery may need to be done; if so, it would likely result in the removal of the infected part of my intestine, and then having the remaining healthy intestine sewn back together. This would essentially remove the Crohn's from my body--I would not be cured (Crohn's is chronic), but if all goes well, I'd go into remission.

However, I can't stress enough--SURGERY IS NOT DEFINITE. At this time, THERE ARE NO PLANS TO HAVE SURGERY. It's just a possibility. That's what these tests are to determine.

Once I have a more definite idea of where we're going to go from here, I'll let you know.

I don't even have a definite idea of where things are going, which is why I haven't really said too much until now.

A lot of things still remain up in the air, but until I find out where we're headed, I am taking it as easy as possible.

And that's where I'm at.


a_bit_of_wit_2: (Default)

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