Happy 4th

Happy Fourth of July.

Hopefully you are having a relaxing time and enjoying a fireworks display.

I know we will relax, enjoy a fireworks display or two, and some good food.

While you are here take a look around.

See you tomorrow.

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Mother’s Day Rant

I guess I should start with Happy Mother’s Day.

I am not a fan of holiday’s like Mother’s Day, not because in theory I am a Father and have to wait for Father’s Day, but it seems hollow to me to have to have one day to remind people to do something nice for their Mother. Then, again I am not really one to speak. Shrug.

The kids are watching My Little Pony, some sort of marathon before something. What that something is I have no clue and I don’t think they do either. If the sun was behind clouds, rain, thunder and lightning, or any of one hundred other reasons why they couldn’t go outside I would be fine with them spending the day in front of the TV. I want them to go outside and play. However, after taking a Frisbee to the mouth yesterday, I can understand why our girl wants to My Little Pony and chill.

Barb is at work. I think that is my issue with holiday’s like Mother’s Day, if the day really is to celebrate/honor/acknowledge (although acknowledge is pretty low on the list of honorifics; “Hey, you’re a mother”) then why not have the day off? Make holidays like Mother’s Day a specific Sunday in a month, make sure to have tons of commercials (not that we watch TV anymore, I assume there are commercials) of people visiting their mother for a family dinner. Shitcan the cards, flowers, and stupid shit, go full bore holiday, like Thanksgiving. Images of families gathered around generations of mothers celebrating that they took the time to give birth to them and raise them to the best of their abilities given their circumstances.

That right there! The difference between platitude and honest celebration. Mother’s Day and holidays like them are platitudes a literal “Oh shit we should say something nice to our mom’s” by some politician somewhere. Maybe there was an honest intention behind the idea, but now…what do we have? Cards, flowers, chocolates, and kids making gifts at school. Maybe if the mother is lucky, dinner with immediate family.

WHAT THE FUCK!

Keep in mind that I am not close to my family. I’m not. I admit it. But I can acknowledge this situation because I can see it from a different perspective than I had before, as a parent.

Let me put it this way, if Mother’s Day was the holiday it SHOULD be I would not have had to force my children to do nice things for Barb. Now the nice things were cleaning related (thus the resistance), but still if Mother’s Day was promoted the way I envision the children would be properly indoctrinated via school, TV, and society that one this one day a year they do for their mother without question without hesitation and with all of the love I know they have for her. We as a family spend the day doing for her in the same way we do for Thanksgiving…I’m not talking stuff, cook, carve, and eat her (although…there is some innuendo in that)…but…take for example Thanksgiving; for weeks before Thanksgiving the message is

FAMILY

FOOD

BLACK FRIDAY SALES

SHOPPING

MORE SHOPPING

BE THANKFUL

SHOP SOME MORE BECAUSE THE NATION’S RETAILERS NEED YOUR MONEY

In spite of the nauseating plea by retailers, the message of family gathering to give thanks to a reasonably stupid bird has maintained both in practice and imagery. So with that in mind why can’t the same thing be done for Mother’s Day and holidays like that?

Two weeks before the day, get the commercials rolling of family gathered around mom over a home cooked meal, not a turkey or ham because they are spoken for holiday wise. Jack up the emotional appeal with images of soldiers returning home in time to celebrate time with mom and a home cooked meal (NOT cooked by mom unless everyone else in the house is unable to cook and that is another post altogether-someone other than mom learn to cook!). Food TV could do endless specials about cooking special meals for mom. Retailers could go NUTS with more than cards and flowers, full on Mother’s Day specials nationwide. Barb would rather have yarn or a power tool than a card for damn sure.

Black and Decker is proud to announce our 4th annual Mother’s Day Tool Time Special. Buy the woman who gave you birth and raised you the best in powered tools. (images of chainsaws ripping cards apart, arc welders melting chocolate, and a final image of a gigantic metallic flower arrangement made with…you guessed it Black and Decker power tools. I’m feeling the love are you?)

And to top it all off, because we are a money grubbing retail sale oriented society have an AFTER Mother’s Day (insert some color associated with moms or assign one) SALE!

This is the kind of stuff I’d do if I was President…I mean in addition to ruling the world. 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day.

500 and 1 Words At A Time: Holiday Writing

Ah December holidays.

Bane of most gaming groups. Over my lifetime more gaming groups and campaigns have ended in December than any other month.

Bane of scheduled writing. At least for me December has been the bane of regular writing for me.

Weather. Trips. Shopping. Decorating. Cleaning up the weather, trips, shopping, decorating, and most of all cooking, lots of cooking.

I cannot think of another month in the year where so much happens or leads into the month. Thanksgiving drives right into December where people start thinking of Christmas and New Years. This leads to decorating, shopping, and making plans for visits with friends and family.

If you have children, which I do, distractions increase exponentially. There are regular school days-drop off and pick up; half days which make no sense given the nature of snow days (school gets 7 snow days, often uses double digits, but instead of turning half-days into full days, extends school well into summer); special events such as holiday concerts which when you have children in different grades can mean more than one day spent in a concert; sick days; and blah blah blah…

The gist of the story is that today while you are reading this and I wrote this I spent this time not doing:

  • Shoveling the rest of our really long drive way.
  • Pricing snow blowers for our really long drive way.
  • Reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

Writing more Puddles and Whiskers; I have four pages of notes and questions answered, I need more than five minutes to put it all to paper/screen in a meaningful manner. Fun story, for those following the Puddles and Whiskers story, I found a hole in the story. The hole is small, but stands out now that I found it. An early reference to Eth later turns into information Eth could not provide. Quick fix, rename character and leave Eth in place for rest of story. I’m not into quick fixes when I am in the process of expanding the story, so new character is in the process of getting a larger scene along with several other small scenes.

  • Playing games and interacting with the children or getting them outside with a shovel to assist with the really long drive way (have I mentioned our drive way is really long?)
  • Writing more game material for the companion game to Puddles and Whiskers.
  • Visiting with friends, although the snow filled really long drive way will need to be addressed before this could realistically happen.
  • Making rice dressing for sushi.
  • Making sushi rolls.
  • Cleaning the house.
  • Folding laundry.
  • Cleaning off the deck.
  • Salting just about every surface.
  • Hanging more Christmas lights, although I may not do that because you can read by Christmas light.

I think you get the point. I am hoping that per every other year, the week before Christmas and after New Years all of the distractions and calls for my time evaporate as I would really like to have more time to write.

 

 

Holiday Knee Not Writing

Back from break, but not back from break with new material. Hold on, don’t rush to judgment. I spent the holiday exactly like I hoped and wanted, doing nothing related to writing at all.

Barb made a Thanksgiving feast: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brown-sugar glazed carrots, salad, glazed sweet potato slices, cranberries, apple something or the other (while I cannot remember the name for the life of me it tasted great), and rolls. All made at home, nothing out of a box.

The grandparents and a friend came over on Thanksgiving. A word of advice, if trying to find our place do not use mapquest, you will get very lost. Other than lost, the day was great. The grandparents saw our place, got to listen to the boy play the trombone, eat great food, and listen to our girl discuss her love of birds, her love to catch birds and teach them tricks…mostly pooping in other people’s yards. By the end of the night, everyone was well fed (overfed in several instances), and happy.

The next day, Paul stopped by for a few hours of conversation and more food. Barb made a lot of food. Another overfed instance or two throughout the day while talking about the nature of life, philosophy of the ancients, and how we could become better people. No, we talked about video games, movies and lots of fun things. Our boy did not entertain with the trombone and our girl kept her bird capture and poo plans quiet.

Now, at some point during the weekend I injured my knee. Not the knee on the leg with the ankle Shawn White messed up…okay, Shawn White’s snowboarding game and I must point out, I did win the game…but the other leg. I have no idea what I did, but it hurt a lot. I had to stand to relieve the pain or sit with my leg up. Getting into bed or the car, major pain.

So overfed and knee pain, the rest of the weekend passed watching football, hockey, the occassional food show, although the longer Food TV is on the further away from prompoting food they seem to get and closer to promoting their brand, which seems to be “stars” and crap merchandise. I pulled out the writing a few times, but nothing clicked. Just not the time.

If there is one thing I heed when writing is “not the time” mood. Forcing writing, to me, is worse than not writing at all. I didn’t want to fix forced writing. Thus, I spent until an hour ago, not writing. I thought about writing, particularly how to address a section of the game that gave me problems before the break. And the break worked, today once the writing started, the section flowed.

So here I sit, leg extended, hoping I do not need to get up anytime soon, writing once again. 🙂

Hope everyone had a good holiday.

My Favorite Holiday

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

No other holiday comes close for me.

I enjoy watching the kids open their presents and that really has been my favorite moment of any Christmas, but a day later nothing has changed other than more toys lying about.

New Years was another excuse to party, but those days while not necessarily gone (the party has changed) the situation hasn’t been setup for parties of any kind for a while. Thus New Years is an excuse to…well nothing different at all.

I like my birthday, okay I love my birthday, but retail marginalizes Halloween in ways I cannot stand and with children the day is supposed to be about taking them trick or treating…except we live in a region where the weather is unusually cold, wet, snowy, or a combination of all three.

Thanksgiving regardless of where we live is always good. A day of great food, mediocre television, thank deity for video games and videos. And, when opportunity permits a day with friends and family. It took us a few years to convince people that Thanksgiving would be our day. We would not travel anywhere. Instead people travel to us for great food and companionship.

Our best Thanksgivings, the place where we lived filled with friends. Our worse Thanksgivings, just us. The difference? The volume of noise. Best and worse still ring out strong in my head with fond memories of things I was thankful for that year. Top of the list each year, the people at the table, my family and friends. Without them I would not be the man I am today.

This year is no different. While this year has not gone the way we planned, hoped, ore even expected. There have been more deep downs than exultant highs, this year has been about the people around me. Support, words of encouragement, listening, and all of the other ways people let other people let one another know they care. That is the thing that stands out most to me in the plus column, big and small people I know showing they care.

For those who like lists here is my list of things I am thankful for, off the top of my head.

Friends and family without you I would not be who I am there would be less walls, guidelines, reasons to do more, and fun.

The place we live, after five years of some of the most hellish conditions we have ever been in (and I lived out of a car for a while) this place while not the prettiest on the outside (getting better every month) has been the happiest we have been in a long time. The children play in the yard, doing all of the things children do or used to do-bikes and kites. No longer do they dread going home, they want to come home so they can play outside or inside (really crappy weather today).

Time to do, five years of college lead to a sense of non-stop go-go do and do a lot of things that while in the interest of college were not necessarily of interest to me. Since graduating, I have started to learn to take and make the time to do for me. This change resulted in some changes in…a lot of things, this blog for one thing. Speaking of which, I am thankful for you the reader. Hopefully you are enjoying the change and finding value in what you are reading.

As I said above, this year has not been a good year for us, but we have stuck together persevered and continue to move forward. While my list of things I am thankful is numerically small, it is of great value to me: people, place, time, sense of self-satisfaction and worth. Those are priceless.

Enjoy your holiday, however you celebrate it, take a few moments to think about what you are thankful for and I will see you in a few days with more Puddles and Whiskers among other stories in Stroud. 🙂

 

 

Return To Wrath Of The Righteous

I believe every Labor Day is a gaming marathon for us. I may have to go back thru posts to make sure, but I seem to recall playing games over long weekends. This Labor Day is no different, we are marathoning Wrath of the Righteous. In our last attempt we made it as far as Adventure Deck 2 before calling it quits. The whole experience being frustrating with a lot of scenario redos and changing of characters to cover deficiencies. So we quit with plans to come back later.

A lot later. Which is where we are now. Last night we finished up the last scenario for Rise of the Runelords without any major hassles. After everyone, but me archived their characters for potential later use, we moved onto character selection for Wrath. Why didn’t I archive my character, because Ostog is fun, he is cool, but he is a one-trick pony. A really good at his one-trick, dealing and taking damage, but not a character I wanted to carry on with pony.

People new to Wrath were warned about our previous experiences with the introductory set of scenarios. Particularly, Elven Entanglement, which we felt was particularly brutal. The gist of the warnings, Wrath of the Righteous is going to be difficult with a lot of unexpected surprises. And that is how we found ourselves with a Paladin, Hunter, and Inquisitor. The kids, who we thought would join in, declined citing our warnings and their memories of previous attempts.

How can I put this…it was cake walk. I have no other words. Instead of a sense of mounting frustration and irritation, we breezed through the introductory scenarios. I am typing this during a break between introductory scenarios and Deck 1. I did do some searching of the Wrath FAQ I found an answer to a couple of questions that had bothered us during our first play through. These answers, such as the one about Elven Entanglement, made our play through smooth.

So into the whee or wee or wei or…nevermind hours of night/dawn we played. The closest we came to dying was during scenario 3. Just a bad combination of Demonic Horde, followed by Demonic Horde, followed by Arboreal Blight or some three turn combination which caused a lot of damage to the Hunter and Inquisitor. The Paladin, due to a lucky break was on the location with the villain, a ton of armor, and worked through the location deck while the two wounded characters capped their locations.

I’m being called back to the table, before I go, Puddles and Whiskers along with the three shorts I posted earlier this week will all get some revision love. Have a good holiday.

Happy Fourth of July

Taking a break a today.

No packing.

No thoughts of packing or moving other than the thought to write the above sentences.

We may play some board games later.

The day has that lazy, take your time, enjoy the moment feel to it and there have not been too many of those sense graduation. I’m going to take advantage of that.

Enjoy your day and see you tomorrow.

Happy Holiday.