10-Yards of Closed Captioned Bookends

My apologies for the tardiness, I do endeavor to have a post by noon each day. Unfortunately, an injury to my shoulder kept me up all night and I finally fell asleep early this morning. Then comes life. I try hard to get my work finished before I do other stuff, today was a reverse.

How many of you know what a bookend is?

Please someone raise your hand.

Oh, thank you.

A bookend, for those who do not know, is a device, as simple as an L-shape with the singular purpose of keeping standing books in place. A bookend, as the name implies, is placed at the end of a row of books, both ends if necessary. Bookends come in many shapes and designs, I have a pair of Budhas. I only wanted some simple L-shapes.

Do you want to guess how many places I had to go and how many people I had to ask before I found bookends?

If you guessed two you were two short, on both ends of the equation. I have no clue why bookends are not an item in big box stores. I have even less of a clue why when asked, “Do you know where I can find bookends (or “Where are bookends located?”)?” The response was a confused look, the question “What is a bookend?” or my favorite, a confused look followed by “I think over in (insert section of store where there are no books, furniture, or office supplies).”

Ugh, this is a college town. You know books in college or at least the idea of books go hand in hand with education. Oh well, at least I found bookends, at an office supply store, and I, unlike four other individuals, know what a bookend is.

Next up on the romp through my day, I understand the purpose of closed captioning, to provide text for those who cannot hear or have are hard of hearing. I understand the value of words. Thus, as a writer, I really appreciate closed captioning. That being said…

the scene, mind you this was on a TV at a KFC/Long John Silvers, two semi-naked people in bed staring longingly into each other’s eyes, on screen the following…

“I love you,” says woman.

“I will never let you go,” says man.

“Mmmm?”

What? “Mmmm” is a pleasure sound. The question mark, changes the tone, if you have heard a Mmmm in pleasure it sounds a lot different than Mmmm? Deaf people may not know the tonal difference, but they too had to wonder about the questioning nature of her pleasure sound to what the male said.

Lastly, do you know what 10 yards of gravel looks like? I didn’t until today and now, once you look at the photo you will too. The children are for scale sake, because without the children it just looks like a pile of dirt. ūüôā

 

Learning By Living

In an effort to convince myself that I am really am on the mend, I spent the day out with the family. A beautiful day of driving to and fro observing the colors and wildlife, although are cows and horses wildlife? For this purpose, as we drove past, yes they can.

I think I have mentioned how having a home, not an apartment, is a constant learning experience for us. I am hoping that by the second go-around with the seasons we will be ready, for example having gone through one winter here I know the following:

  • Get the windows sealed in October
  • Purchase at least 150 pounds of salt before the first snow fall, we have a HUGE driveway
  • Purchase a snow blower, but allow the snow to compact a bit before blowing the driveway
  • Purchase a third shovel, because three people shoveling is much faster
  • Put at least 70 pounds of sand in the trunk of the car for the ice rink that the driveway can become

We moved in at the very tail end of summer last year, thus have no frame of reference. All I know from last year is mow the lawn in stages to avoid collapsing from exhaustion. However, since the warm-up began we have learned the following:

  • We should purchase some form of riding lawn mower, not because we are lazy, but because almost 2 acres is a lot and instead of having to mow for a month and a half or so, going to have to mow for at least four months
  • A hose is a necessity
  • A second rake is a necessity
  • Lots of charcoal for grilling, lots
  • Opening one window does nothing to improve the internal temperature, however opening a second window on the opposite side creates optimal air flow, fans are not a necessity
  • Outdoors is fun when you don’t have to share your backdoors with neighbors less than twenty feet away, thus lawn furniture is a must

I know we are missing out on several other things, I watch the neighbors do “stuff” and I know we are not doing what they are doing, so I wonder what do they know that we don’t know…I guess we will find out over the next few months.

So while we learn we continue to enjoy our time here, the kids attempted to fly kites, mostly running around dragging kites, and we cooked out. Both of these things are activities we have not had an opportunity to do or see and both, especially the kids playing outside, make us smile…even if the kites crashed into trees, were drug along the ground, or in one bizarre case ended up wrapped around one child’s neck…don’t ask us how and we were watching.

An Apology To Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

I’m sorry.

I do not know what I am sorry for as I have no clue what I may have done to earn your ire, but your ire is plain to see.

I know that I should not trust the heretics who claim to predict what you all mighty Mother Nature can and will do over the next seven days. I allowed their honeyed words to poison my eyes and other senses. I believed their silvered words of warmer, spring, and sunshine when only you oh benevolent one Mother Nature can make these words true.

That allowed their lies to bedevil me, to trick me, to deceive me has caused me and mine great inconvenience. Had I only listened to my senses I would not have crossed Mother Nature. Low, in her wisdom she has sought to correct each of my transgressions.

With the assistance of my daughter we established a windmill, light-up flower shrine to Spring before Mother Nature was ready to announce Spring, she punished us with snow

Seeking to better our cooking options we unwisely purchased a new grill, Mother Nature punished us with three days of rain and snow

Thinking Mother Nature’s wrath had passed, we built the grill, two more days of rain

Surely, Mother Nature has passed enough judgment upon us; unfortunately, hearing the sly words of the weather heretics speaking in her name, we purchased three “perfect” pieces of steak to grill; five days of rain and cold weather

Understanding I have displeased Mother Nature, I await better days, unfortunately my time with the weather heretics was not over and I listened to their toxic words, convincing me that warmer days were arriving soon I had the furnace turned off, we have been cursed with cold weather since…the glares and accusations from family¬†hurt more than any hailing would

Attempting to please Mother Nature with our devotion to her cause we purchased a bird feeder, the cold weather remains, birds eat all of the food, and crash into the windows from time to time

I have no idea how much longer Mother Nature will remain angry with me for my transgressions; I have turned away from the untrustworthy weather heretics pretending to preach what glorious Mother Nature will do over the next seven days and have returned to the old ways of looking out my window and stepping outside. Until she removes her ire from me I await, patiently, better days

With sincerest apologies, your devoted weather watching patient believer who is very sorry for crossing your path by listening to the weather heretics and establishing signs of Spring before you were ready to announce Spring yourself hopefully you find this apology sufficient, if not send me a sign of what penance I need to perform to enjoy your magnanimous beauty and bounty.

I Wonder If This Is What Librarians Go Through

It started with a simple thought, “What if I move this there, making room for that to be moved there, which would free up space for that to go there, which would open up space for games poorly stacked on shelves there to be properly stacked, making not one but two rooms look a lot better.”

See simple.

Even better all of this would get done in time for me to write the next installment of Menagerie.

Yeah, not so simple.

We have a bookshelf with what is left of our collection of movies. I don’t know why anyone owns movies anymore, physical copies I mean, really I don’t. And this is coming from someone who used to purchase new movies every Tuesday. Then one move to many and that huge collection was reduced in size and reduced again after another move until here we are today with a smaller collection that…collected a lot of dust, but looked…cool isn’t the right word; I have never walked into someone’s place, saw a collection of movies, and thought to myself, “Now this person has/is (insert one of the following intelligent, well-rounded, well-read, interesting, etc. all).” Yet, we had movies on display as if that meant something or because back when having a movie player was a necessity easier to get too, not that we watched a lot of the movies. Nope, purchased for one reason or another and for the most part left to collect dust because Netflix, On Demand, and Cable have made seeing movies a shit tonne easier.

Now books are something to have on display and unlike movies do get used more than one time, especially if the books are cook books, craft books, or game books. And yet, in our “library” are books are crammed onto shelves. This wasn’t the plan when we moved, but necessity of unpacking meant that to make space for other boxes, boxes of books were unpacked onto shelves without any thought about organization. Due to the necessity of keeping places clear for the various bits of maintenance this state of disorganization remained. Internal maintenance of a major size is done for a while.

See where this is going?

No?

Tired of looking at movies nobody watches on display as if they meant something and tired of speaking needless hours searching through disorganized bookshelves I decided this morning, three hours ago as of now, to do the following:

Move the movies to a more compact space while I decide what to do with them

Find all of the cookbooks I use regularly and move them onto a bookshelf that previously held all of my human sexuality books which were moved into the bedroom because while nobody actually looked at the human sexuality books were not as read as the cookbooks.

Next, with an empty bookshelf, find books that would look good on display-Game of Thrones and Harry Potter series-find them, organize them, and put them on the bookshelf that formerly held the movies.

At this moment, I have the movies moved, most of the cookbooks, and so many stacks of books that I finally noticed what time it was.

A List of Potential

It has taken me a great many years to finally accept the truth about me and the word plan. I have several words that I despise, busy and sure are the top two. Busy because busy is the bullshit word people use when they are too lazy to come up with a real reason why they don’t want to do something and sure because people tend to use sure when they mean yes, but are too whatever to pick the clear cut unambiguous yes. I like yes. I know what you mean. Sure gives wiggle room on what you could mean.

Oh yeah, back to plan. I am a type someletterofthealphabit person, I don’t like labels so I will keep the letter to myself. I make lists. I like lists. I finish lists. If I make lists, if I like lists, and I complete lists then why do plans go completely off the rails? Don’t hand me that lists and plans are two different words, I know they are, but they are similar in the same way as potato and¬†french fry¬†are. If I make lists and complete lists I am on some level, organized, a plan is a system of organization to achieve a goal. See similar like tomato and ketchup.

And yet, plans always without fail blow up in some fashion, typically unexplained, unexpected, and unwanted (unwarranted) way. I would put the testimonials from everyone who has ever watched or been part of one of my plans that went awry, but that too was a plan. Instead I will share with you the plan that was for this weekend.

Looking at a three day weekend with the kids I made a plan:

  • grill each day: chicken, steak, and hamburger along with some veg
  • paint miniatures
  • play games: small games such as Tiny Epic Kingdoms, Get Bit, and few of the other smaller travel games we like
  • play larger games: continue our game of Rise of the Goblins and set up for Shadow War Armageddon
  • visit with friends some of whom would be painting, all of whom would be eating…yes eating I grill it you eat it!

See not that big of a plan, plenty of fun and food. And I went and caught a cold. A stupid cold. Now I could have been selfish and had everyone over and infected them, but I don’t do that. In fact, I go the opposite and quarantine myself away from others. So far seems to have worked, the kids have not caught my cold and friends who may catch a cold did not get it from me.

Now, I know that is one plan for one three day weekend, but there are more, many many more. So as of today, I acknowledge, I realize, I actualize that the word plan and I are not on speaking terms. Lists work. I make a list and I complete the list. I make a plan and things go off. So what word will I use, if I have to, potential.

This is a potential activity for the weekend. I like that potential has so much more going for it than plan.

Armageddon Sick Warhammer Pre-Work

Today is Saturday, I did not have to check my phone. Thus I am getting better. In fact I would like to say I refuse to acknowledge that I am indeed sick, but the body racking coughs and sinus pressure remind me by the minute that I am indeed sick. However, I refuse to lie in bed any more. Two days was more than enough for me.

The upside to this attitude, I am doing things. The downside, plenty of naps. Sick sucks.

Normally, I would be writing about the games we played, as you may have guessed sick means no games. Sorry. We are bummed too. That being said I have read the rules to Shadow War Armageddon, the successor to Necromunda.

Warhammer 40k has a problem, to much pre-work to do to play. Yes, I am aware that you can play right out of the box; just spend a few hours assembling figures, reading the rules, and play on a flat tabletop. If you have ever played Warhammer 40k then you know how boring this is and how disinterested people get; not everyone wants to play space marines or orks or chaos or whatever other race is facing off against space marines.

To get people interested and keep their interest they need to see what a game can be, that means pre-work. In our case and I will guess most gaming groups case, one person learns the rules to teach the others, assembles and paints miniatures for two sides to fight, and assembles and paints some terrain to fight over. Hopefully, and in our case it worked, everyone gets interested.

Great now everyone in interested…except…that’s right they don’t have their own pieces. If you are lucky, and we got lucky twice, people want to use the starter armies, I happen to like space marines and our boy likes orks. While everyone else is looking for their armies there is teaching them how to assemble with a minimal amount of injury and paint their armies. This is work. The job is to make it not feel like work, too many people abandon Warhammeresque games due to the work. Thankfully, I seem to hit the right mark as everyone is still working on their armies.

However, while they are assembling and painting they are not playing. What to do? Find games that allow them to use smaller groups of figures to play while they work on their armies. Kill Team was supposed to be the first attempt, but most people were still figuring out what they wanted to play.

Thankfully, at the right moment, Shadow War Armageddon came along. Using three to ten figures (on average) everyone can play a game that uses figures from their army, thus maintaining interest in 40k. Now this is where getting sick comes in, the plan was to start playing this weekend…I’m sick no games (I do not infect friends and family if I can avoid it).

So while I recuperate, they build their Shadow War Kill Teams, which they can use in their Warhammer 40k armies. Lots of pre-work, but when the work is done the fun looks and plays great.

The “UpSide” of Being Sick

I had to check my phone to see what day it is, this happens when I am sick. On the plus side it is not Saturday, which means I have not been sick that long and I am feeling better. Not great, but an improvement over yesterday. The negative side, the voices have left my head preferably for the safer grounds of where I am not sick. The voices being the characters I write about. They will return…when I am healthier.

Laying in bed reading, being sick, and watching copious amounts of Bourdain I wonder if there is any benefit, to me, in getting sick from time to time. The immediate answer is no. For the two to three days I tend to stay sick, my productivity drops to something that most people would recognize as “normal.” I don’t like the inactivity enforced upon me, I am an active person who prides himself of doing lots of stuff with his time. Lying in bed watching TV is not one of those things…unless sick.

I did hit upon a few good things, I get lots of sleep. In fact over the last two days I have slept more than I tend to sleep in four days. I don’t sleep a lot. I go to bed late and get up early. As long as the pattern is maintained I do not suffer, when the scheduled gets tossed into the dumpster then I pay for it. So I have gotten lots of sleep.

I get to read. That may sound odd, I read every day, but when sick I marathon read. By my bed is a stack of books, on a variety of different subjects and genres, the stack varies from 3 to 10 books. I read through them over a period of time, adding to the stack frequently. When sick, such as now, I burn through the books. Over the past 24 hours I have finished two books. These were not great works, crap books in fact, you know the science fiction or whatever genre that are pumped out in mass by writers who’s only talent is the ability to put some words together using someone else’s ideas.¬†I used crap books to break up the bigger books. When sick, however, I devour the crap books they take my mind off being sick and that is the joy of a good crap book.

I get time off from being a parent. I know no parent ever stops being a parent, but if you have kids you know there are times when someone else steps up and does all of the parenting, those moments are golden. Unfortunately, I have to get sick. I have spent the last 10 years raising our children to be as self-sufficient as they can. This is why. While Barb is at work and I am sick the kids need to be able to get their own food without asking me if it is okay. They need to be able to bathe on their own, clean, and if necessary cook (warm up) using the microwave.

Finally, I get toys or in this case a toy. Barb knowing my love for Stikbots bought me a new one while she was getting medication I needed.