The Cat Is Stuck In Popcorn

Back in February, I detailed one of my few recurring health problems – bloody noses – shortly after I had it fixed. I wrote at the time that I had only two slightly bizarre health problems, and was otherwise normal.

I’ve been reminded of a third after events of last night; a health problem that I am not consciously aware of until it’s too late.

You see, my friends, apparently I talk in my sleep, in a somewhat hilarious manner.

My sister told me once long ago that one time when she was coming upstairs, she heard me repeating “TACO….TACO!!!!” in my sleep. I shrugged – and started sleeping with the door closed.

This isn’t a frequent thing – I’m not babbling every night, as far as I know. Then again, maybe I am and I just don’t wake up Katie half the time. After getting married, I do have someone who has to put up with me next to her each night.

Katie has occasionally mentioned that I’ll wake her up with some babbling, and annoyingly I seem to know how to shake her arm to wake her up while I’m asleep; one time while we lived in Ithaca, I woke her feverishly claiming that “the Chinese were coming”. This becomes problematic because when she starts shouting “WHAT?!” at me, I wake up – and my brain is fully in the context of yes, Kate, the Chinese are coming, yet I have no idea why or what it means or anything. So I sit there, wide awake, trying to explain what exactly I mean, only to inevitably get exasperated and tell her to just forget it.

Last night, I apparently shook Katie awake and uttered the words that will now haunt me forever:


Artist’s rendition of my wacked-out brain.

Katie’s retelling of this to me while I was on the phone with her this morning:

You shook me awake really hard, and your eyes were wide open, and you looked so scared, and just kept telling me, “THE CAT IS STUCK IN POPCORN.” I looked at the cat, and he was looking at me as if to say, “I don’t know what the HELL he’s talking about.”

So, needless to say – if you want hilarity, just hang out with me when I’m asleep. I am apparently a freaky laugh riot.



When I was a young boy
I wanted to sail around the world
That’s the life for me, living on the sea
Spirit of a sailor, circumnavigates the globe
The lust of a pioneer, will acknowledge
no frontier

Back when I lived in Trumansburg, between my tender years of 9 (early 1990) and 21 (mid-2002), I lived in an old house on some farm land. The house was surprisingly modern compared to the barn structures that occupied some of the remaining 19 acres of land, but it had it’s, shall we say, quirks.

One of these quirks was that directly above the kitchen was one of the two attics we had. Squarely placed above the kitchen in said attic was a window that didn’t particularly like to stay closed. The winter in the Finger Lakes region is, of course, a merciless thing, and so we’d often get pounded with snow from November through April. Systematically, snow would get into the attic, sit there in a perfectly content state until the weather warmed up, and then using the powers of thermodynamics, melt. The melted water would then realize the party was downstairs, flow through the now well-worn wooden floor of the attic, and inevitable start dripping rapidly out of the light fixtures in the kitchen.

This happening once is shocking; twice is creepy; but enough times to lose count over twelve years makes it sadly mundane.

I remember you by, thunderclap in the sky
Lightning flash, tempers flare,
`round the horn if you dare
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Lucky just to keep afloat

While in college, I found myself gathering my monetary might with nine friends to collectively rent a house senior year. The house at 133 North Quarry was pretty nice, all things considered – ten bedrooms, two kitchen plus an extra fridge, three bath. But like any house, especially in a college town, it had some “quirks”, to put it nicely.

The most notable one, at least as a one-time thing, was that when it started raining one night, we discovered a leak in the roof of the house. It was only a small leak, and ran down the wall of the person who’s bedroom it opened into on the third floor. What we weren’t expecting was that it then managed to carry on through the floor and down the bedroom wall of the person directly below them. What we weren’t expecting further still was this to occur again, leaving a trail of water going from the third floor all the way down to the first.

Aotearoa, rugged individual
glisten like a pearl
At the bottom of the world
The tyranny of distance
didn’t stop the cavalier
So why should it stop me
I’ll conquer and stay free

By this point, I think the story is kind of obvious in path, but let’s continue regardless.

Last night, around 11 PM, I’m sitting at my desk and notice a slightly repeated tapping sound coming from the bathroom. Slow, maybe once every ten seconds. I chalked it up to the heaters, which were just turned back on to accommodate the unusually cold April weather.

But in what was almost no surprise at all, when I went into the bathroom half an hour later when the click again bothered me (GET IT?!), I found a few drip points in the ceiling. Most of them were heading into the trash can, which was a hugely lucky break, but there was the larger issues. What was the cause? How can I fix it in the short term? Had someone moved my chair?

We still had some caulk kicking around the apartment, so I tried my hand with that. I have learned a number of valuable lessons from this:

  • Trying to caulk over something that’s already leaking is mostly futile.
  • Trying to caulk at the right angle of a wall while it’s leaking is even more futile.
  • Caulking a leaking right angle while wearing dark blue dress pants is a fantastic way to ruin said pants.
  • Any sort of futile experience with caulk will remove the portion of your sense of humor that finds it amusing that “caulk” sounds remarkably like “cock”.

I went to bed around midnight, mostly exhausted but also crossing my fingers that the jury rigged buckets, towels, and badly applied caulk would hold long enough to get to the morning when I could alert the landlords as to the problem.

Ah c’mon all you lads
lets forget and forgive
There’s a world to explore
tales to tell back on shore
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Six months in a leaky boat

Luckily enough, it did hold for the most part. Sadly, new leak points developed elsewhere – not strong enough of a leak to flood anything, but enough to give the room that lovely faint smell of leaking water.

After failing to get in touch with the daughter of the landlords – who speaks perfect English and is usually our go-to on issues with the apartment – I went to the landlords directly and hit our standard language gap. English is limited to “problem”, “sorry”, “they come”, and “okay” and similar one word directives; most of the Spanish is too quick for me to run a base-level comprehension on; the common ground is gesturing and confused looks. Eventually I lead them to the apartment and showed them the problem, but they in fact already sort of knew; the leak appears to be on the second floor of the house, which means it would’ve dripped through them as well.
In the time it’s taken me to bat out this post, I’ve heard the repeated banging on pipes, and my checking every 15 minutes has showed at this point, the leaking appears to have stopped. I would imagine I’ll have to leave the pots out for the rest of the day, just in case. Katie’s going to come home early to check it all so I don’t have to burn all my personal hours today.

The real problem now is that every little crack and creak I hear, my gaze immediately shifts as I hunt feverishly to make sure there’s no new leak, especially not in any of the main rooms. Keep your fingers crossed for Buttons that he can keep this place together while I’m at work.

Ship-wrecked love can be cruel
Don’t be fooled by her kind
There’s a wind in my sails
Will protect and prevail
I just spent six months in a leaky boat
Nothing to it leaky boat.

P.S. Sixx Mixx 84 – Lowering The Barriers Of Individuality And Personality To Liberate You From The Burden Of Consciousness Edition is out.



One of the most frequent questions I get relating to my blog comes in one of the following forms:

– What’s “vj army”?
– What’s “vuh-jarmy?”
– Where did you come up with “vjarmy”?
– What’s “vjarmy” mean?
– Is your site about an army of [Viewtiful Joe](

I figure it’s about time to reveal the “whole story” of the domain.

First things first: If you haven’t heard by now, I play a little game called Beatmania IIDX (that’s “two dee-echs”). IIDX is a “dj simulation game”, with some connections to DDR (both games are made by Konami). I’ll save the verbose descriptions of the game for another time, but one of the key reasons I play is the tremendously nice music. All the songs are around two minutes each, and the genres tend electronic (trance, techno, two-step) but also run eclectic (piano ballad, french bossa) and occasionally imaginary (cuddlecore, forktronica, techno chop). All the music also has an accompanying music video.

Having listened to a number of the soundtracks long before I started playing the game, I found songs I found pleasing and started listening to them like crazy. One of these songs was, of course, “VJ Army” by good-cool. The song was interesting to me because it crammed four genres (and tempos) into one song: drum’n’bass, techno, trance, and two-step. The genre for VJ Army is listed in-game as “ALL MIX”, due to the inability to confine it to one of the four genres. Even the video had four distinct portions, each done by a different resident VJ that works at Konami.

(I should note, a “VJ” is a video jockey – someone who does to video what a DJ does to music.)

If you’re wondering what VJ Army sounds like, you can listen to the mp3 from the Beatmania IIDX 6th Style Original Soundtrack.

When I was making the move away from my csoft account back in 2003, I had to start thinking about domain names and where I wanted my blog to be permenantly lodged. The domain name I had named my site after for a few years – – was taken in 1998 as a personalized page for a baby girl. So I was a little stuck for ideas, and the IIDX bug had me looking at song titles, wondering what would be apt.

It didn’t take long for the connotation to hit me like a ton of bricks with VJ Army and my site. Like the song, I have a hard time being confined to one genre or topic. Believe me, I’ve tried – it’s just too hard not to randomly jump from topic to topic to topic.

So that’s the story – VJ Army is an ALL MIX of music styles I enjoy, and my blog is an ALL MIX of my life. (cue fanfare)

As for the “Primary Vivid Weblog” thing – also a point of inquiry – it’s also a IIDX holdover. The game, like most Japanese games that tap into western culture, has a fair amount of Engrish. One of the games had the subtitle “The Primary Vivid IIDX”, and something about the phrase stuck.

And regarding the [Beatmania IIDX score site I run]( having the same name as the domain – that’s just a lucky coincidence that the name of the domain fit in so well with the ideals of the score site.

Any more questions?