Lost Time Smells Funny

A wise man once said, “Oh crap, where did the time go!”

That wise man was not me. I am the guy who not only forgot where the time went, but kept on going until someone said, “Hey, you not so wise man, you have something you should be doing!”

I replied, “The lawn looks fine.”

And the lawn does look fine. I mean the lawn could use a mow, just the back forty, but honestly I don’t mind the grass being a bit long and the longer the weeds and grass grow in the fire pit the more likely the next year the fire pit will be filed with…grass and weeds. Not exactly my best plan, but a start of potential…yep I planned on the weeds and grass and got a fire pit filled with weeds and grass.

And that is how I found myself in a car on the way to Grand Rapids to take care of a day of fun and business. What is fun and business in Grand Rapids? A trip to the same five or six store that we always go to. Sorry we are not those people who do exciting things in Grand Rapids. Honestly the town or city for those of you who are big on specifics drives me NUTS. Too many damn people, in too small of a space. City sized be damned! Why are all of the people where I want to go or in the way of me going where I want to go unless I wanted to get some food then there is no one around.

Why! I say why was Denny’s understaffed during the lunch rush so much that we stood there, a group of starving forelorn looking individuals who only wanted to spend money on food, for two passes of a haggard waitress who only had one line of dialog, “HODOR!”

Oops wrong film.

Her line was, “Sorry, someone will be with you soon.”

Why no you? We are good tippers. We are hungry. What is soon? Soon is too abstract of a concept, yet abstract enough that we allowed her to say it to us twice and a bunch of new people once before we took off for some other place that served food…sadly that was Burger King where…

the main dinning room smelled funny and the kids playroom smelled great. How do I know what a Burger King should smell like, I worked at several for two years and we have one in Big Rapids that smells of old fryer oil, sadness, desperation, and FEET and that is the main area. The kids area smells of sadness, feet, and pee. Thus this Burger King in Grand Rapids smelled of the same unless you were in the kids play area like we were. Stare all you want, I prefer to eat in relative quiet and not around smells that make me wonder why the mohawked manager was not doing her job and how the staff would react to me taking charge.

Which is how we ended up at home with a bag of glow in the dark rocks, some frames, some miniatures, and a few books to read. 🙂

Home To Chaos

We made a conscious decision to stay at home or at least as close to home as we can stay today and probably tomorrow as well. Typically, when Barb has a day or two off we go out so she can see the world beyond her counter. However, we have over the last few weeks seen a lot of the world beyond her counter and the world at home has suffered. Thus, we aim to correct, meaning clean and organize, the home so that the next time we go out to see the world beyond her counter we do not have to come home to chaos.

Two comic cons has seen an influx of posters. Sad thing was we went to both saying, “Not a lot of posters.” Not because we are lacking wall space, but because posters mean having to purchase poster frames and that means measuring posters and trust me when I say no poster ever fits the available frames. I bet if we could take all of the extra spaces around the posters on our walls we could put many of the new posters into frames.  Alas, we cannot, thus measure, go to the store, and hope to find enough frames and enough frames that are close enough.

The cons also saw a much desired and needed increase in reading material. Before we left, I cleaned and organized all of the bookshelves. I know I should have waited until we got back. In my defense, we rarely found books, let alone a lot of books, at previous cons. Which is probably why we found tons. Between the comic books, graphic novels, novels, and oversized books I am or was in the process of attempting to keep on row of books from falling off a shelf with one hand while trying to simultaneously create a space and insert new books into place. Yes, my books are organized.

Games. Why did we purchase games at comic cons when we have games and brought games with us to con? Part of me thinks that we like to carry large, awkward, and heavier than when we arrived bags. The other part of me says, some games were unique, some games were games we were on the fences about and with the sale price were worth trying, and others, the smallest amount, were just so cool looking that we had to get them.

Around here games are kind of organized. There is the cabinet, bookcase, and stacked cubes of must play and are playing games. There is the bookshelves and closest of we played it and may play it again. Lastly there is the never again box and shelf, currently occupied by Robotech RPG Tactics and Oregon Trail. I know Oregon Trail will come out of the box, because we are mad it at for the last game, and we tend to forgive our games. The other one…there forever.

And keep in mind the above is just the stuff from cons that we are cleaning up. There is still laundry, mowing, writing, painting, dishes, and cooking to go.

Stories From The Con

“Hey, look the Toyota sigil,” our boy says while we are standing in the advance ticket line that stretches to the horizon.

Fifteen minutes later, we are standing at the front door.

“I smell popcorn,” he says as we enter the snake like cue to turn our printed out tickets into a red wristband allowing us to enter and exit the con as we like

Ten feet later we are surrounded by people, this would affectionably be known as crowded, oh how we would learn what a crowd really looked like the next day. In front of us a sticker booth with Spongebob stickers. Yes, I was the first to go “Ooohh” and completely destroy our plans to walk the con first. In my defense the stickers were cool.

As a family we had two shopping goals, a few new posters, and comic books. You would think finding comic books at a giant comic con would be easy. Not if you are me and not if you didn’t feel like dealing with people who are collectors, as opposed to me who hasn’t collected in over thirty years. I really wanted some New Wolverine and some New X-Men, took me until the third day to find New Wolverine that was affordable.

In no particular order here are some stories from the con…

On Saturday, the adult costume contest happened. Now, at this point all of us were tired, a really shitty night of sleep (a story for tomorrow), had us sitting in a corner praying for our feet to recover and trying to figure out how we were going to last until the Wil Wheaton experience in 3 hours. As we sat there, people in costume gathered. Lots of people. Then John Snow fell asleep just as Godzilla’s tail arrived. Soon enough Godzilla’s body arrived and we watched as the body attempted to eat a boy trying to put the body on. Seriously, nothing else was more fascinating than watching this boy and his dad (assumed) put this Godzilla costume on before the contest.

“You collect organs from the other players,” and that is how I found myself purchasing Organ Attack the Family-Friendly Game of Organ Harvesting. This person knew exactly what to say to me and the family. Even better, next to the stack of Organ Attack a stack of Fowl Language. Barb was excited by that as she gets the cartoon on one of her social media feeds. Hilarious, if you can find it and are a parent or going to be one, get it!

The baseball sized illustrations were from an artist around the corner. Hundreds of illustrations of anything and everything popular media wise. He was cools sitting in his chair inviting people to look. That was something that stood out to me, way to many artists and other people did nothing than display their stuff. Those who engaged, they were the ones we stopped at and had fun with.

Which brings me to fun encounters starting with the kids…

Karen and Darrin (link is to their webpage) had a booth with children’s choose your own adventure style books, Myth Solver and many variations of the standard superhero posters, a favorite I am Goof: Goofy and Groot merged. They got our kids attention and then got our attention. By the time we left their booth the kids had picked up six volumes of Myth Solver (our girl is almost done with book one and LOVES it).

Sometimes all it takes is a name, which how our boy found ourselves in front of Donovan Scherer’s booth. Now I can’t claim to know most of what happened, I was on the other side of the aisle ogling artwork. What I can say is that our boy walked away a few bucks lighter, wearing a smile, and with his own reading material.

Tomorrow the Wil Wheaton experience and a high five.

And Now A Word About Dinosaurs

I do not control some of my minor urges, most noteably the “OOOHH look at that toy in the vending machine” urge. A few days ago walking into Meijers I saw a dinosaur skeleton puzzle with, if the display was to be believed, skin to go around the skeleton. I had not, up to that exact moment, thought a fucking thing about dinosaurs after all Jurassic Park mind fucked all of my boyhood joy of dinosaurs long ago and watching Jurassic Nonsense with my boy only reinforced that media was not to be trusted with dinosaurs and because of that, right up until that exact moment I had not thought about dinosaurs. Godzilla and other non-dinosaur giant lizards got plenty of thought just as an aside.

Wait…

It’s a dimetrodon

So back to the toy. I had to have one. Thankfully Barb, saw a cat sticker in the machine next to the dinosaur wonder toy machine that she had to have. At times we can be worse than kids who are essentially lit adults thus we are large children, at times, and this was one of those times. A short shopping trip and a fist full of quarters later, Barb had five stickers (fuckin’ machine wouldn’t spit out the damn cat until it finished spitting out a unicorn, flower, rainbow, and heart) and I had a tiny four-piece puzzle of a…well I thought it was a dimetrodon, but after reading the fortune cookie sized information sheet learned it was a spinosaurs…or so the sheet said…

This is a spinosaurs, this is NOT the toy I got. I got a dimetrodon

What the sheet really did with stats like 12.19 m body length was trigger that boy inside of me who used to love dinosaurs. I had to have a dinosaur book. Plus I have kids and they too should see that dinosaurs are lizards always gray, brown, or green in color (more on that in a moment). Quest to find a dinosaur book took two stores, one very quizical clerk, and the same question asked and answered twice, “A book for kids or (insert pause) an adult?” The answer, “Whatever I find most amusing.”

Twenty happy minutes later I left with an encyclopedia of dinosaurs, a dinosaurs in 3D with an extra pair of glasses to share with a friend, and a build your own dinosaurs out of paper no glue required book.

Remember the lizards, gray, brown, or green in color comment from above? If not, I wrote it. I wrote it because when I was a kid dinosaur books were all the same and all dinosaurs were the same. They lived in the same time period because publishers had not figured out a child friendly way to explain time periods. They were one of three colors and that was that.

Have you looked at a dinosaur book today? There are colors, easy to read charts that explain why the stegosaurs was NOT eaten by a T-rex and feathers. Glorious colored feathers and did I mention the dinosaurs are in colors, not one color but many with designs and patterns looking like lizards and snakes do in our world. I haven’t read anything yet, but I hope I am surprised by the advances in paleontology and I have been with the advances in coloring dinosaurs. 🙂

Don’t Judge Me Before I Judge You, That’s Just Rude And Other Stories Of My Day

Not to bring bad luck, if the current rate of healing continues, I should return to writing stories instead of slices of life, next week. Crossing my fingers. Sensing (in other words I bitched a lot) that I was tired of being sick and tired of being sick at home, I was taken out.

No, not taken out. You know taken out in public.

Around here it was a mixed signal day of weather; blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and kind of chilly especially when the wind blew or overcast, looks like rain, still chilly when the wind blew, but with no wind kind of warm.

Dressed for the weather and success, pocket vest festooned with sarcastic buttons, we headed for civilization, which if you pay any amount of attention to the blog you know is always an hour away. And an hour away we went to…

THE MALL!

Say what you want about THE MALL, I happen to enjoy looking for parking in a frustrating and futile manner, I enjoy rubbing shoulders with hoi poli, and I really enjoy that the only reason we actually went to THE MALL are on opposite sides and you know what that means…you guessed it, EXERCISE!

Walking into Barnes and Noble, I felt at home surrounded by books and clearance items and games and junk and…does anyone know when Barnes and Noble attempted to turn into a big box store with all of the organization and charm of a flea market? Cuz I want to know. Still books is what I wanted and books is where I started…

“We do have books for adults over here,” the saleslady said, each word dripping with condemnation that I and adult would be standing in front of a selection of young adult books. As if, adults who read young adult books had something wrong with them.

Rounding on her, “I have two children.”

Wide eyed, she took a step back and mumbled something about asking her for help.

And then it happened a second time on the second floor.

What the hell people! I was shopping for my kids who were not there and even if I was shopping for myself what is the attitude that I as an adult should not be seen looking at those books?

I did not let their ignorance ruin my day, I found Fight Club 2 and vowed to touch myself a lot while reading it. Suffice to say, I was NOT bothered by another salesperson until we checked out and bothering me was her job. 🙂

As Barb shopped for shoes she could stand in for 12 hours at a time, I and a friend headed to Hot Topic for more sarcastic buttons. There I engaged in a lively debate with the saleswoman about the definition of criminal: If I do not observe your laws I do not see myself as a criminal. You, as a person who does observe your laws, will understandably think of me as a criminal and label me a criminal. I however, do not see myself as a criminal and reject your label. Which is we found ourselves back in the shoe store right as the salesperson demonstrated the water repelling power of the water repellent spray (see smile photo).

With new shoes we headed off to lunch where…

“Welcome to Ju.* What can I do for you?” The hostess asked starring hard at the three of us, none of whom was dressed even remotely professionally.

Took me a minute of pondering her question to form a response.

“Lunch.”

“Oh?” Now in her defense while say Oh in a shocked and disappointed manner she did attempt to grab menus (she dropped one).

I dislike when people judge based on my (in this case) our appearance. She found a corner to shove us into and I think she thought we would get lost. We did not. Why did we not get lost? Not because of me, but because of the best waiter EVER! Hearing our bafflement he took care of us and got a hefty overtip.

Then we came home.

And that is the story of how I learned to play the piano.

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.

Binge Rearranging Spice Book Reading

Nothing new and yet a bunch of new stuff. I thought I had the kitchen in order. Then I thought to myself, how could I make this better, so I ordered a hanging door spice rack. The thought being to free up shelf space and make the pantry smell awesome. Unfortunately, Amazon was not able to send me one nor send me a replacement…well, allow me to amend that as I just finished a third chat with an Amazon person, now I have a new order ID and a delivery date. Crossing fingers, there are a lot of to spices to move.

See what happened is in anticipation of the spice rack, I moved all of the spices to make room for a kitchen appliance that would fit better. The spices ended up on a counter in a pile, then on a shelf in a pile, and finally today on a shelf in good order…and hopefully, Monday, on a spice rack. I tell you this, I will not be moving the spices again until I see a spice rack. 🙂

Like a butterfly flapping his wings in China and causing rain…you pick the place…moving the spice rack lead to moving games which lead moving books which lead to several days of rearranging the house.

In and around rearranging, I have been writing, as you may have read. Things are starting to take shape, especially with the compilation of notes coming along nicely. I will be continuing to post bits and pieces and revising them here; I find it fun to do and I hope that there are some people who are getting something out seeing a writing process (definitely not the writing process).

And in and round rearranging and writing I have been on a reading binge. Every so often, I get on this binge where I devour every book in front of me. This binge has been rather interesting:

Dangerous Dames: The Plutonium Blonde and The Doomsday Brunette by John Zakour and Lawrence Ganem was a pleasant surprise. A cyber-noir detective setting with Zachary Nixon Johnson as the last Private Eye in the year 2057. Fast pace, great dialog, and fun stories to follow along.

In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez is the second book I have read by the author. I did not care for the main character Never Dead Ned nor the pacing. This seemed like it could have been a shorter story.

Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez however (third book I’ve read by author) was a non-stop page turner. I finished the book before I realized it, following along with Phil and Teri and their Raccoon deity of luck Lucky. This was a great book, for me not a dull moment and I wanted to know what happened to each of the characters.

At the moment I am in two books X-Men Siege by Christopher Golden and Star Wars Battlefront Twilight Company by Alexander Freed. I don’t have a good grasp on either, Siege is an older book written in an older style which is a bit disjointed and stilted. Twilight Company starts off odd and carries that forth, by odd meaning really short chapters on different characters without a chance, yet, to get to know them or care what is happening.