Since I still find myself in a state of post-vacation bliss, I don't feel much like talking about myself, except to say that the bliss was briefly shattered by the crashing of my laptop on Tuesday night, courtesy of a power cord that shorted out. I am waiting on a replacement from eBay and, in the meantime, cursing Bill Gates and the Microsoft juggernaut for the colossal fuckup known as Windows Vista. Which is to say, I untangled myself from fighting with the life insurance people long enough to take my chances and dole out a couple hundred for a cheap Wal-Mart laptop.
The thing only took 45 minutes to complete the initial boot, and after that I spent another three hours systematically uninstalling all the superfluous bullshit that's only useful if you like looking at widgets and going "Ooooohhhhh, preeeeettttyyyy." While I am more a fan of shiny things than the next person, I have no desire to spend fifteen minutes waiting on my computer to process something because the fifteen toolbars in the side menu take forever to process. Nor do I want my computer's User Manager or my antivirus asking me if I want to continue every time I click on anything, open a program, or try to save a file. I clicked the damn button in the first place. Obviously I wish to continue. So I disabled all the cute little protective security measures and, when that still didn't solve the problem, uninstalled my anti-virus as well. I'd rather be wide open to attacks than treated like an incompetent child by my operating system. XP never hovered over my shoulder threatening to slap my knuckles with a ruler if I did something it didn't approve of.
But I digress. The previous two paragraphs were supposed to consist of a reason why I've been quiet for most of this week, (my laptop crashed) and a reason for my resurgence (I have a new laptop). I got sidetracked. That happens. A lot more than it used to, really. The real point of this entry is about fish.
The day I returned home from Tampa, Gran somehow finagled me into taking her to Wal-Mart. I didn't want to go, I'd just driven an hour and a half to get home, I'd been up since half past way too early, and I wanted to pet Sadie, play with Arthur and take a nap. But instead, we went to Wal-Mart, where Gran insisted on buying dirt to fill in a ditchline (because apparently the hillside behind our house didn't count as ditchline-quality dirt) and a little push mower I can personally guarantee you she will never use despite assuring me she would get enormous personal enjoyment out of trimming the yard. So we went to Wal-Mart to buy dirt and a mower and, since we were on the subject of things we didn't need, I decided to buy a few more fish for the aquarium.
I settled on a pictus cat and three rosy barbs, and on the drive home, I asked Gran to hold them so they wouldn't jostle around on the floorboard. Turns out, severe jostledom was the lesser of two evils. We were halfway home, driving by the turnoff to the office, when I heard a distinct pop. Before my Grandmother could even say "Oh NO!" I knew what had happened. She had gotten distracted by something we drove past, forgot about the fish and dropped the bag. It proceeded to pop and explode.
The next few minutes were spent hurriedly finding a place to pull over and ordering her out of the car while I picked up flopping tetras from the floor, trying to use the half an inch of water still stuck in one of the corners of the now-shredded torn bag as a temporary life support. Somehow, we managed to find all four fish, even though three of them had a reddish tint to match my floor mats and one of them had obviously been stepped on. The poor catfish had a spine bent at an unusual angle, leaving him more or less in a permanent L shape, and I knew he was not long for the world.
Flying to work, I had to pry my way into the office (I'd left my security badge elsewhere), where my team was made aware of my return as I rushed in and started ripping drawers of my filing cabinets open in effort to find a larger container for the fish. We finally settled on a lidded coffee cup accompanied by some tap water, dumped the struggling survivors into them, and hoped for the best.
Hope, for me, apparently only works when it comes to cats. All four fish had succumbed to the effects of trauma by the time we got home. I even lost the receipt so I couldn't get an exchange. And I really liked that little pictus cat. The guy had personality, for the few brief moments I got to know him.
Tomorrow is my day to play with the cats and try to convince Sadie that having two of them in the house is not a sign of the end of the world. So far, she and Emerald are almost getting along: almost being that Sadie stands stock still in utter terror as Em purrs and rubs against her, but it's more than she allows Arthur, whom she snaps at if he gets too close. I'm also pretty sure Gran is going to make me clean out the basement and rearrange a wall of photos. Monday will see me returned to fighting with insurance companies and the DMV (again). But they're my two days off and I hope to also get some reading in, as my new Vista laptop is making me far less inclined to waste my life staring at a computer screen.
I received a comment lately, from John, that it was nice to see me happy for a change. And it occurred to me that, even though I have a lot of things going on that I should be pissed off about, or throwing a fit about, or depressed about, I seem to have hit an even keel. Things are going surprisingly well. Whether this is due to the medication, a change in circumstance or some other unforeseen reason, I am more relaxed and generally at ease than I have been in a long time. It feels good.
And I plan on enjoying it.
The end of the Edo era marked the last time men would live as samurai and fight entrusting their lives and beliefs to the sword. The peace of the Tokugawa Shogunate begins to crumble with the arrival of Western influence. Amidst this upheaval, the youth of the nation seek a new era, but something else will bring turmoil and chaos. It is called Hasha no Kubi; the Head of the Conqueror. It is said that he who can obtain the Head shall rule over the whole country. However, another shadow being called "Eternal Assassin" is destined to oppose Hasha no Kubi. These two beings have been in eternal conflict, affecting the course of history from the shadows, influencing those who craved power. Some want it for their own, some want it for revenge, and some want it to fulfill their own ideals…
The wills of men intersect over the Hasha no Kubi. They combine and move together like complicated gear wheels of an engine pushing events towards the future.