Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When Fandoms Collide

Andrew told me about a fan theory he read online.  I took it and ran with it.  Allow me to present...



 (Like this, but in reverse.)

"The name of the game is Dungeons and Dragons," announced Tony to the Avengers.  Seated around the table, they watched him with masked curiosity.  He had used a wide variety of lies to get them to come to his home.  Most of them had known he was lying, and most had come anyway.  They were used to Tony's eccentricities as much as Pepper was.

Tony's basement, garage, and basement were one and the same.  An expansive, modern concrete structure, he had a den that was perfectly suited to his purposes.  He had unceremoniously pushed all his tools, wires, microchips, potato chips, and poker chips off of the largest coffee table and dragged two mismatched sofas over to it.  The sofas faced the open garage with his collections of classic cars; Tony faced away from them, toward the other Avengers and a flickering neon sign advertising a beer company that had long since gone out of business.  The decor was purposefully, artfully decrepit; the stained glass chandelier hanging over the billiards table might have looked tacky if he hadn't paid six figures for it and hired a professional designer to help him install it properly.

There were six of them in total.  Clint Barton (code name Hawkeye) was poised on the back of a sofa behind Bruce Banner, who was sitting in a rigid posture next to Natasha Romanoff (code name Black Widow).  Not knowing why they'd been gathered, Clint had a quiver slung over his shoulder and a Kevlar vest on, while Natasha was in a bodysuit with several tell-tale, knife-shaped bulges along her forearms and thighs.  Tony sat across from them, leaning forward eagerly, pushing papers toward them, oblivious to their dress.  He had already set up a screen around his section of the glass coffee table; one of the dog-eared pieces of cardboard was leaning precariously against Thor's hammer, which took up the end of the table.  It was within grabbing distance of Thor himself, who was leaning back on the loveseat, aloof, while Steve Rogers (code name Captain America) was leaning forward, brow furrowed.  He had already been admonished several times for peeking over Tony's cardboard dividers.

"And this is a training exercise?" asked Steve incredulously, picking up one of the papers.

"Yeah, yeah, sure.  Me and Hank and Reed used to play in college.  It was great.  Hey, Bruce, remember that time I got a Book of Vile Darkness from the spider witch queen and razed that whole goblin village to the ground?"

"Why should we partake in imaginary, inconsequential quests for immaterial glory?" demanded Thor.  "Would it not be better to defeat our foes and reap honor for ourselves in actuality?"

"Well, in D&D, there's no consequences," explained Tony.

"Ahh," said Thor, head bobbing.  Natasha was also nodding.  The idea of indiscriminately killing people who annoyed her without getting in trouble seemed like a good enough reason as any.  Steve, however, looked hopelessly confused; he was examining a dwarf miniature with a look of overwhelmed befuddlement.

"Okay, so we start by picking a DM.  A dungeon master."  Tony clapped his hands together decisively.  "He needs to be a natural leader, someone who already knows how to play the game.  I mean run the... the simulation.  He needs to be good at math, a quick thinker..."  He let his sentence dangle in the air for a moment.

Only one person took the bait.  "Impartial," added Bruce,  "and fair."

"Bruce," said several people at once.

"Him?" protested Tony.

"Sure, I know how to play," said Bruce with a shrug.

"But..." began Tony.  His eyes scanned the room.  "But he needs to be... I mean..."

"Impartial, good at math and knows how to play.  That's Bruce!"  Natasha gave Bruce an encouraging push off the couch.  With a glare, Tony relinquished his seat behind the cardboard screen and switched places with Bruce.

Bruce cleared his throat.  "Well, we start by making our characters.  You pick your race first.  You can pick from this list."

"I'll be the leader," said Tony quickly.

"What?  No!  I will be the leader!" protested Thor.

"No, I'm the leader.  I know how to play so I'll be best at leading the group."

"I demand to be the strongest!"

"Guys, stop," protested Bruce weakly.  He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.  "There's no leader, okay?  And even if there were, the leader doesn't have to be the strongest."

"I am the strongest," said Thor.

"Sure, okay, you can be the strongest.  Just play a barbarian.  So you roll the dice like this and that number goes here..."

"He shall be a barbarian of noble stock, on an honorable quest for vengeance!"

"Okay.  Okay, sure, that's fine.  Tony, human rogue, I'm assuming?"

"Human rogue," confirmed Tony.  "Unlawful good.  Plays by his own rules.  He's on the run from the law.  And he gets a lot of ladies.  He has a really cool helmet that's like, red and gold..."  He had begun sketching as he spoke.  Under his hand, a helmet not dissimilar to his own Iron Man helmet was taking shape.  Natasha rolled her eyes but Tony didn't see.  "I'm almost done," he continued.  "I just need to name him.  I was thinking something sharp, like Arrow, or Quill."

"You're joking," said Clint dryly.
"No, why?"
"Are you serious?  QuillArrow?  You don't think you're ripping off my thing just a little bit?"
"Uh, no.  He's a human rogue, not an archer.  What's the problem?"
"How would you like it if I named my character Jet, or Rocket, or Tank?" challenged Clint.
"I wouldn't care."
Clint searched Tony's face for a moment, then scribbled something on his character sheet, mumbling about intellectual property.  Tony shrugged and went back to drawing.

"Wait, hold on, I don't get it.  What's the difference between wisdom and intelligence?" asked Steve hopelessly, staring at his character sheet.  "I got race, I think, and class... wait... wait, I'm confused, no I don't."

"Let me see your sheet," began Bruce, reaching.  But before he could, Clint shoved a sheet into his hand.

"Is this okay?  He's a little guy who everyone underestimates, but he's got a big long-range gun.  He's a gunslinger basically."

"Yeah, so you want to put your highest roll into dexterity, here, and then your race modifier goes here... wait, this isn't a race on the list."

"No, it's my own race, he's been like, engineered.  Like he's been experimented on and genetically modified.  He has a really dark past."

"You asshole!"

Clint whipped around; Natasha had stood and was staring daggers at him.  "You looked at my sheet!" she accused.  "You stole my backstory!  My character has high dexterity and my character is genetically modified!"

"Bruce, I don't get this..." murmured Steve, holding his head in his hands.  "What does charisma do?"

"This is my character," announced Tony, holding up his sketch.  The character was a slender, well-muscled human, but whether or not he looked like Tony was uncertain, because he was wearing a silver and gold helmet with red accents that obscured his face.  He had a leather jacket on.

"Let me see your sheets.  Look, Natasha, your character is all hand-to-hand combat and Clint is doing ranged.  These guys are separate enough.  It's okay."

"He copied me!" she protested.

"You copied yourself!"

Tony and Thor nodded knowingly to each other.  They had glanced at her sheet; she'd crossed out the character's original name, "Natasha."

"Bruce..." whined Steve.

"STOP!  Everyone just... stop!"  Bruce slammed a hand on the coffee table.  One of the cardboard dividers fell over, and everyone was quiet for a moment.

Bruce took a breath.  "Okay," he said, quietly.  "How about everyone just goes over their backstory so we make sure they're not too similar, okay?"

"My character is a genetically altered assassin," said Natasha quickly.

"Genetically altered," agreed Clint.

"On a quest for vengeance!" said Thor.  He hesitated.  "Maybe altered." 

"Just let me see your sheets," snapped Bruce, rubbing the bridge of his nose.  He reached out;  everyone passed their sheets over.

Bruce's eyes scanned the papers critically.  He pushed his glasses up several times.

"Thor," he began.  Thor perked up a little.  "Thor, your character's intelligence is really low.  I mean, really low.  Even for a barbarian.  He won't even be able to understand abstract thought or metaphors with this score."

"My character does not require high-minded, scholarly thinking.  He is a man of action!" announced Thor proudly.  "He will slay his foes without hesitance and will let no man stop him!"

"Well, okay, if you're alright with that, here you go.  Uh, Natasha, looking good... Clint, your stats are fine, but I don't know about this... you just completely made up your race and class.  I don't know how to assign you any modifiers.  What class is this?"

"He's a tinkerer-gunslinger."

"Okay, but that's not a class.  And this race, what is this, a drawing of a cat?  What is this?"

"It's a creature I invented.  It's got a dark mask and heavy fur and people hunt it for its fur and it's got good night vision and a big bushy tail and stripes and--"

"You can't just make up creatures.  Look, just put down 'fey' for now and we'll sort this out later, okay?  Let's see... uhh... Tony, you're good... okay, Steve, are you still working over there?"

"Yeah, just start without me."

"Okay.  So to justify this as a training exercise, we're going to do this in space, okay?  You guys are on a spaceship."

"It's my character's spaceship," said Tony quickly.

"My character has a spaceship too," said Clint, scribbling frantically on his character sheet.

Bruce rubbed his eyes.  "You're all on Tony's spaceship, okay?  I mean, Quill's spaceship."

"Can I change his name?  I mean, I know I wrote Quill, but he's actually got a code name he uses that's way cooler."

"What, Arrow?" muttered Clint sardonically.

"Not now.  Okay, you're on a spaceship, and you've just received a communication about a threat to a nearby planet.  The threat is coming from a flagship headed by a known enemy.  The enemy is an unreasonable, uncontrollable, unstoppable monster who causes destruction and mayhem where ever he goes.  He is a powerful, unstoppable force of nature, who destroys whole planets without a thought or care for the people who populate them..."  Bruce took a shaky breath. 

"Jesus, Bruce," muttered Tony.

"Maybe someone else should be DM."

"Don't take it so hard, buddy.  Look, switch places with Steve."

Steve looked up sharply.  "What?!  No, I can't be the leader guy!  I'm still making my character!  I don't get this!"

"So you'll be the most impartial judge we can have.  Come on, Bruce can't do it, he's already getting himself upset.  Give him your character.  He'll help you out, right, Bruce?"

Bruce nodded weakly.

Steve hesitated, then shoved his sheet toward Bruce.  The two shuffled around the table so Steve was behind the screen.  Steve's eyes read the paper in front of him quickly and he nodded.  The bad guy was a tyrant who hated peace and freedom and diversity, which made perfect sense to Steve.  Bruce, on the other hand, was looking even more upset.  Clutching either side of Steve's character sheet, his knuckles were white, and his brow creased more and more as he read.

"The enemy is a war criminal!" announced Steve happily.  "He is a threat to the whole galaxy and he must be destroyed to protect it!  He is a very charismatic leader with fascist tendencies..."

"We shall stop this monster or we shall perish in our endeavor!" yelled Thor, raising a can of Mountain Dew.

"Steve, what on earth is this?" asked Bruce quietly.


"None of this makes any sense.  You wrote your race in the name slot.  Is the character's race and name the same thing?"


Tony reached across Natasha and grabbed the rumpled sheet from Bruce.  He looked it over.  "C'mon, Bruce, this character is perfect for you.  Quiet guy who protects others.  Doesn't know his own strength.  High wisdom, crazy high constitution, good alignment... what's the matter, his name's stupid?  Maybe he can only say one thing, and it's his name and race and "yes" and "no" and everything else.  Don't be such a wet blanket, just play the game."

"He's a plant creature and this is a space story."

"So?  Clint's playing some weird fey thing, too.  You two can be buddies."

"My character's way stronger than he looks," said Clint quickly.

"My character is the strongest," said Thor.

"Okay, guys, come on.  So you're on the spaceship and you have to go protect the galaxy now," said Steve, trying to adjust the cardboard partition.  It kept sliding.  With some annoyance, he moved Thor's hammer so that it would prop it up better.

"But just so everyone's clear, I'm basically the leader," Tony said.  "It's my spaceship."

"Yeah, yeah, we got it," said Natasha.  "I want to cast a spell.  Can I do that now?"

"What?  No, you can't... your class isn't a magic class," said Bruce.

"We need a team name before we can play.  C'mon guys, brainstorm with me.  We're on an intergalactic adventure and we're like, protectors of space..."  He snapped his fingers and stood.  "Guys!  Guys!  I got it!"

"What?" asked Natasha.

"From here on out, we'll call ourselves..."  Tony glanced down at his character sheet.  "...StarLord and his Pirate Space Patrol!"

The doorbell rang.  Tony glanced at the monitor on the wall.

Outside, a white-haired, mustachioed man was leaning against the gate with a large Domino's bag.  He was wearing aviator glasses and a sweater over his collared shirt.

"Oh good, the pizza's here.  Geez, these delivery guys keep getting older and older.  Okay, come on guys, put in a ten, don't be cheap, come on..."


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Rain on my Parade

Last weekend, I went to San Diego for Pride!  This was my second Pride at San Diego, and boy was it a memorable one.

Pride, for those who aren't in the know, is a sinful celebration of equality and love where people gather to show support for each other's basic human rights.  There's a parade, a festival, and a lot of rainbows.  This Pride was particularly memorable as the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide on June 26th.  Also, we also got rain of biblical proportions.

Incidentally, Noah was cool with gay lions, apparently.

There are a lot of possible explanations for the freak rain.  One is Tropical Storm Dolores, if you're into science and logic.  If you're not, you could also chalk it up to God's wrath.  (Although, as Matthew points out in 5:45, "He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.," so it looks like God sends rain entirely randomly and isn't casting judgement when He does so.)  A third option is that there was a lot of dancing, and it stands to reason that at least one of the people dancing might have been doing some sort of rain dance without realizing it.

Dammit, Glenn Dances-With-Bears, stop gyrating!

By Saturday evening, San Diego has recorded over an inch of rain, which is more precipitation than the city had received during the entire month of July dating back to 1902. San Diego normally averages only 0.02 inch of precipitation in July.

It was raining men.

So yeah, lots of rain.  I had not expected it and showed up without a coat or umbrella because, you know, southern California.  I expected it to be 80 degrees and sunny. I'd even brought sunscreen like a chump.  Then it rained and after two hours, I looked like I'd been dunked into a swimming pool.  Everything was soaked through; days later, my wallet is still slightly damp.  Andy and I had our legs cramp with shivering, and our fingers prune up as if we'd been soaking in a bath.

Against all odds, we did have fun, though it's not an experience we'd like to repeat.

One thing I think people don't understand about Pride is that it's not really just a "gay thing."  The parades tend to be overwhelmingly composed of various businesses and organizations and groups that are there to show support for LBGT rights.

Like these guys!

So it's not just gays.  There's everything from the local ASPCA to the George R.R. Martin Fan Club, and all that's in between.

 A Lannister always spays his pets. 

The thing about equality is, it affects everyone, and everyone can get behind it.  So it's not like the ASPCA is out of place there.

Quite the contrary.

And speaking of dogs and raining on parades, I have another bit of news.  I sent a secret into PostSecret, which is an art project where basically people send in postcards with secrets on them and then the secrets are displayed for others to see.  The project is all about empowerment, facing one's demons, getting support, and demystifies issues like depression, suicide, eating disorders, rape, abuse, et cetera.  So I sent one in and it was put on display this week.


Except not woo, because the comments were honestly not very supportive.  In fact they were downright critical, including such gems as "For Christ’s sake, it’s supposed to be one of the most happiest days of your life, for both you and your family. Why are trying to make it one of the worst?"

Inexplicably, it never occurred to me that people would be able to draw the wrong conclusions about two lines on a postcard that lacks any other context.  People thought of it as shameful, vengeful, petty, and insulting.  They also seemed to think my immediate family members are entitled to participate in my wedding, which they are not, unless they pay for it, which they are not.

For clarification for anyone reading, I don't hate my dad.  I just love my dog.  Besides, the whole "dad giving away the bride" thing is a rather outdated symbol of sexism.  I don't need anyone to give me away because I'm my own person to give.  If I didn't have a dog, I would opt to walk down the aisle alone.  But I think it seems pretty scary to walk down the aisle, so I'd just as soon have Seamus by my side.  Also, this is a good excuse to put him into a little bowtie, which is adorable.

Honestly, people's reactions bothered me more than they should have.

Of course none of this matters because I'm not actively getting married right now.  I'm not even engaged.

Which isn't to say that Andy and I aren't pretty serious.  But what's the harm in taking it slow and letting my ovaries shrivel up and slowly turning into a crazy dog lady?

A literal crazy dog lady!
Let the record show that I'm kidding and that was a joke, by the way.  I am honestly in no rush.  I'm just starting to recalibrate from my depressive episode, and part of that means getting my interpersonal relationships back in order.  Overall, though, this has been a great week for me, rain and all.

They should have used a semicolon.  That's okay, though.  I'm semi-inspired anyway.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Relationship-Style!

Relationships can be tricky things.  I have good ones, like with Andrew, and bad ones, like with Andrew's mother, and ugly, complicated ones, like with Andrew when he plays the harmonica.  This post examines three recent relationship adventures!

The Good

My friend Brad visited me for the fourth of July weekend!  Brad and I go way back to high school, where we were partners in a physics class that taught us the four types of forces: gravity, magnets, mousetrap cars, and pasta bridges.

There was a ton of applicable knowledge in that class.

Brad now works for the National Weather Service, and I hadn't seen him since I was 19, a solid 8 years ago.  Brad's currently stationed in Oregon, and so he came down to visit me.  We had a blast!  He hasn't changed a bit, unless you count losing weight and becoming more awesome.  I forgot what an optimistic, supportive, and caring person he is, and I feel really lucky to have people like him in my life.  I'll stop now, since I know he reads my blog and is probably blushing.

Hi, Brad.

I'll let the photos do the talking:

 At the Tar Pits!

At the Museum of Jurassic Technology!

 The Museum doesn't allow photography, but Brad shamelessly stole this picture of mice on toast.  
I cannot recommend this museum highly enough; it is one of the most surreal experiences in Los Angeles.

 At the California Science Center!

At the Hollywood Walk of Fame! 

Yay Betty White!

Dog approved!

At the Science Center!

Oh shit a shark!

The only bad part of the visit was when Master Chief robbed me.  Speaking of bad...

The Bad

Well, things with Jack finally came to a head.  I've complained and complained about him, but enough is enough.  He's just too busy for me.  The final straw was that he scheduled a fourth of July party during Brad's visit, which I had already told him about.  Making conflicting plans felt like he wasn't respecting my plans.  I mean, Brad's visit was a big deal to me.

It's worth noting that, the last time I was over at his house, his roommate started smoking the ganja in front of me, AGAIN, and blew it in my face, and then tagged along with us to dinner.  Jack was cool with that, for some reason.

 How were we supposed to know she was going to do the same thing she did last time and the time before that?!

So for my own health and mental wellness I decided to put our friendship on hiatus.  My one exception was D&D.  The game requires consistent players.  Well, the last four sessions, Jack slept through two.  And in the last one, he didn't even bother showing up for an hour and twenty minutes, because he was at the beach with his friend.  D&D is an every week, same-bat-time, same-bat-channel affair and there's no excuse for missing it.  I'm actively looking for a replacement player now.

I want to clarify that I'm not angry at Jack.  I just recognize that he is a very fair-weather friend, and his actions aren't supportive.  I'm someone who puts a lot of value on reliability, and his failure to show up to D&D and his inability to accommodate or compromise when we had conflicting plans is part of a larger pattern of bad behaviour that hurts me.  I don't feel like I need to stick out a hurtful relationship; Jack has his own priorities, and respecting me by showing up to plans we made clearly isn't one of them, so instead of getting angry and bitter and passive-aggressive, I'd rather just shake hands and part ways.

(Obviously, there's a third option here, which is to apologize and make up.  But that would require Jack to talk to me, and when the D&D thing went down, he actually e-mailed Andrew.  I sent Jack an e-mail stating that his behaviour was pretty disrespectful to the group and that he owed us all an apology, but got no response.  And I'm the fucking DM!  If he can't communicate with me as a friend or as a DM, there's really nothing more I can do on my end, you know?)

Life without Jack has actually been much more stable and less worrisome.  I do miss his company, but I miss it like a fat person misses Krispy Kremes: I'm all too aware of how awful it is for me and it's better to keep it at arm's length.

I'm sorry you had to see that, Blog.  Hey, and speaking of ugly...

The Ugly

Work has been chugging along nicely, though recently I got into an altercation with one of the researchers.  More specifically, he got into an altercation with me.  The issue was that I had sent him an e-mail.  (Yes, seriously.)  See, one of my various job duties is to keep the researchers informed about their animals.  Dead animal?  Sick animal?  Injured animal?  Overcrowding?  Not enough food?  Required medication?  You're gonna get an e-mail.

So I e-mailed him to let him know that a couple of cages were mislabeled.  All animals have unique IDs and those IDs cannot be changed.  So I e-mailed him and, as per our policy, CCed my supervisors.  Later that day, he called me into the room and for 30 minutes basically had a meltdown in front of me and the lab manager.  Some notable parts that got repeated more than five times each:
  • "I've worked here six years!  These are new policies!  I've never gotten e-mails before!"
What I said: You should have been getting those e-mails and I'm sorry to hear you haven't.  We really value communication to ensure both the animal welfare and the best circumstances for your research.

What I was thinking: Someone wasn't doing their job.  They were probably not sending any e-mails because they heard what a fucking drama queen you are.
  • "No one informed me!"
What I said: In an institution of this size, sometimes information falls between the cracks, but we'll continue to do our best to keep you in the loop.  E-mails like this one are a great means for us to keep you up-to-date on our expectations.

What I was thinking: Uh, you were informed.  By me.  Just now.  In the e-mail you're complaining about.
  • "Was it necessary to inform all those people?  Do you have it out for me?  Is there some personal issue here?  Why are you trying to make me look bad?"
What I said: We always CC the supervisors for every e-mail, and always have.  It's so that there's a time stamp on our communications and we can reference them if necessary.  In general, no one reads those e-mails; it's just a way for us to time stamp them.  I certainly am not trying to make you look bad, and this e-mails don't reflect badly on you at all.

What I was thinking: Yeah, I do have a problem with you.  I have a really big problem with the way you're talking to me right now, dickhead.
  • "These policies are fucking retarded."  (ACTUAL, VERBATIM QUOTE!)
What I said: I'm sorry you don't like it.  Although not all policies are necessarily convenient or efficient for every individual lab, it's important for us to maintain consistency throughout the institution, and these policies are best for the largest number of people.

What I was thinking: USC is hosting the Summer Special Olympics this month, you fucking asshole!  Did you seriously just talk to me like that?  This is a place of business, not the Warped Tour, you psychopathic worm!  If you want to be taken seriously, don't talk like a sullen preteen who's about to get sent to his room without any chocolate pudding.
  • "It's just common sense!  I mean, come on!  You KNOW what the ID number is.  Why can't you just give us a break?"
What I said: We do not give any lab special privileges.  Everyone is expected to adhere to the same policies all the time in every circumstance.  Those policies are there for a reason.

What I was thinking:  In the time it's taking you to have this little tantrum, you could have already printed up a new ID card and fixed the error.  But, hey, I'm not going to tell you how to use your time, Mr. Ph.D.

In the end he wore himself out and cried for his juice.

He carried on for about 30 or 40 minutes.  I wanted to ask the lab manager if he spoke to her like that, and whether she found his reaction both immature and completely unprofessional.  Fortunately, working at Macy's for a year or two in college prepared me to deal with assholes like this and I just kept reassuring him that his lab gets treated EXACTLY THE SAME as all others and no, I have no personal issues with him.  Although I sort of do after being spoken to like that, obviously.  Don't need a Ph.D. to figure that one out.

I later informed my supervisor.  He told me I didn't have to deal with that and should have walked away, but I'm glad I did, for two reasons:

1) I de-escalted the situation, which demonstrated my leadership abilities and also helped out my supervisor in the long run.  If I'd let him go to my supervisor hysterical, I feel like it would have been an even bigger mess.  And I think my handling of it reflected really well on me (as well on me as it did poorly on him).  More importantly...

2)  I stood up to a bully.  The lab in question hires a LOT of young women and I get the impression they do not respect young women very much.  I may be small, attractive, and quite female, but I'm not going to let the likes of them boss me around.  He was clearly trying to intimate me and I didn't back down; he stood too close, and I stared him in the eye and said, "No, this is the way we do things, and this is how it's going to be."  Having a tantrum as a grown-ass man isn't going to get you your way, and disrespecting me doesn't do anything except make everyone feel embarrassed for you.

Being an adult isn't about how you look, but how you carry yourself and treat the lesser of your peers.  
To drive this point home, I wear pigtails and a pug onesie as often as possible.

Other stuff: I am now training for a marathon.  Ditching Jack has opened a TON of free time for me, which is great.  I watched the first season of True Detective, started writing again, started crocheting again, and I'm running a lot.  I've lost over 15 pounds!

So to sum up the month in terms of points:

Days sober: 42

Friendships rekindled: 1

Friendships lost: 1

Motorcycle repairs made: 2 (would be three, but the fork seals are leaking again)

Bullies stood up to: 1

Miles run: 2+ without an inhaler.

Chickens molested: 5+

 ♪ ♫    Jeepers, creepers... where'd I get these peepers..   ♪ ♫ 

Total points according to my convoluted happiness algorithm: + 18

I'm happy again!  Wooooooo!  It was a long couple of months, but this month, I've really felt better.  So suck it, depression!