Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The once a year bundle of joy that is our performance evaluation happened to me this week. In general I find it to be an event I am not overly fond of. The end result, a CHAPTER TWO: I Think the Concrete is Soggy...
The weatherman says the winds are bringing us all kinds of Gulf moisture. Along with that comes thunderstorms, humidity, and of course, mosquitos. It's official: summer has arrived in IL. Age has not mellowed my reaction to mosquitos, nor has it made me any less attractive to them. Alas, this was never an issue I had with those of the opposite sex. Well, they did cause an embarrassing swelling, but they weren't overly drawn to me.
CHAPTER THREE: It Cracks Me Up
My somewhat pokey pace may cause me some problems if I don't get the carving part of my current tiki done. The log seems to be checking at an even faster pace than I thought it would. You'd think that a log that had been sitting for almost a year would be dried out by now. you'd think that, and you'd be as wrong as I was. I kinda hope the increased humidity we're having helps slow the drying process down a bit to give me a chance to get the main work done. Once I've gotten all the line work done, I don't care so much. Now, since I'm still doing major cutting work, I have to be even more careful than usual to not split off an errant piece of wood. Freakin knotty pine has grain going in every direction.
Maybe after I finish this piece (at least the carving), I'll turn my attention to something a bit more along Halloween lines. It's about time for me to dig into all those of odds and ends and see what rises up out of them. I still want to work on a marble coaster, too. Gee, with all this creative stuff to do, you'd think I'd spend less time on the computer, and more working. Logical as that is, for me it's a matter of application of effort.
CHAPTER FOUR: Independence From What??
The folks have gone to MI to acquire even more of the folks, so we've inherited the stink lumpy ancient diapered one for a few days. Needless to say, the dog's bathroom habits aren't that dependable, since there is a diaper involved. As ridiculous as the whole notion seems, I find it more favoravble to deal with a dog in a diaper than to have to clean piss spots out of the carpet. Of course, should Pinklady find another Tootsie Roll of crap on her freshly painted deck, she may well boot that dog clean out of the county. And speaking of piss spots, the flatfaced one will be arriving for the week shortly after the diapered one leaves. This is the dog that feels the need to mark every room in the whole damn house. This has now led to Pinklady deciding that this should be a point of anxiety, even though she was the one who committed us to taking care of the dog in the first place. The next couple of weeks are shaping up to be not a whole lot of fun. Extra dog in the house, extra relatives in the vicinity, extra agitation in my brain, gee, sign me up for more...
Not to mention that thus far, my limited amount of searching has revealed nowhere of note or legend where I can sent Flatface's parents to retrieve a tiki for me. It's freakin NYC, for Pete's sake!! There's got to be somewhere tikiesque in that blighted burg! Then again, maybe not. Cultural mecca my ass.
CHAPTER FIVE: Redundancy Defined
This...cannot...be....happening....again.... Crap! I have no idea what's going on with me now. I seem to be sliding into another trough. Running low on energy, etc, etc, etc. Now, it's only been overcast for a day or so, so it can't be that. I really don't want to point the finger at dietary issues, but that may be more of a key issue than I want to admit. Although I really don't know how a lack of animal protein would figure into my brain problems. I am starting to get within visual range of the end of my rope, though. Or not. I just really don't want to be getting bogged down again. This could lead to a really bad winter should I not be able to get a handle on whatever it is that's going on.
CHAPTER SIX: Startin to Get Real Deep Around Here...
Out of all the things that were discussed during my review this year, there is one main one that I keep coming back to. The notion that there is no longer a second shift. Now, I know there is a time slot that correlates to second shift, but as far as a cohesive group of people, there is no second shift. That just keeps rolling around in my head. Makes me wonder. Could that be a part of the general crappiness around here lately? I mean, me and the Rider are the only ones left. I'm the only full timer to boot. It's first shifters and third shifters filling in and doing a little bit here and there. The supervisor who cannot yet do it all. Nope. There is no second shift. Of course, waiting for the return of the glory days is a waste of time as well. I don't even forsee a stable employee group being established before the beginning of next year. So, I just have to sit this out for the next 5 months to be in a position to see if there is a possibility that things could be settling down by the middle of next year. Freakin whoopee.
AT THE MOVIES: 'Moola'
Based on a real story. Not a bad little flick. Can't get past the fact that Booger from Revenge of the Nerds actually went on to have an acting career. Now that I think about it, wasn't he in Moonlighting? I seem to remember him being on some TV show, but I can't recall which one.
BUNNIES AND ARMADILOS
**An endless laundry list of things to do. If I just toss the lest, the things don't get done, but maybe I'd worry less about the list itself. All in all, the list isn't so much of a problem as are the things that comprise the actual list. That reminds me that I need to put the reconstructed ramp for the dogs on that list. And I need to get some insulation rope from Menard's. Perhaps it's time for a list regarding the use of the lists.
** Crap. I have been alomost completely assimilated into modern society. How do I know this, you may well ask. I think I realized it when I got up the other morning and was disappointed after looking at my cell phone and not havinig any text messages. There are so many things wrong with that scenario that I can't begin to qualify them all.
**I think there is a dedicated cadre of people out there who are determined to give me a stroke. Or at least a crisis of conscience.
** Thumbed through one of my idea books the other day looking for a portable project with which I could keep my brain engaged somewhat while at work. What I opened the book to fits the bill nicely. You take you name and use it as an acronym, to come up with a phrase that is expressionate of who you are. Or it may not have said exactly that, but that was what stuck in my brain, so that's how I went after it. Listed below are the results of my efforts, some more accurate than others.
- doing absolutely nothing, inspiring every laziness
- darkside always nearby in every illumination
- distant and negative
- daftly anticipating nudity, instinctively elevating lust
- difficult and naiive
- dark artist, naturally
- difficult artist, naturally incorporating elemental lines
- determined agnostic, nocturnally inspired, elementary linesmith
- darting about nervously, inspecting every line
- distracted artisan never inside every line
- deviant, aligned neutrally, inert, expecting lunch
- damn arrogant now, initially extra lousy
- defending against neverending internal emotional logjams
- dancing after nightfall if everyone leaves
- dogs and newts in eternal lust
- devilish adversary, naturally idiotic, electively lazy
- docile and neutral, indifferent, experienced learner
- doesn't answer normally
- dashing about nocturnally
- doubting art. noting instead every lack
**I'll post some new pics of the tiki in progress tomorrow before I go to work.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
As promised, here are a couple of updates for the most current tiki that I'm working on. Not that I've gotten most all of the log peeled, it's so white that it really doesn't photograph well. I took these shots from the left and right sides to try and let the light cast shadows into the carved out areas. Otherwise, it's really herd to tell what's going on. The only major setback on this project so far was a major botch-up in the headdress right above the eyebrow on the right side. I started to trench out a section that was supposed to remain raised up. So, I've had to adjust the whole angle of the headdress from the eyebrow up. What a freakin mess. Just hoping that it won't be too obvious in the finished project. But then again, I don't care a whole lot. If you don't like the fact that my tiki isn't mathematically perfect and proportionately square and plumb, bite me. Carve your own damn log.
Didn't really do a lot on this one today. Just trying to get the major lines carved in so that if the log checks any more, at least it will do so along the right lines. Kinda off today. Stayed up way too late playing on the computer, so I started the day late. We've had on little thundershower this morning, but it's sunny now. Still think I'm going to take a day off and drive in today. Beyond that, just got these next three work days to grind out, and then a day off. Yay. The schedule for July just came out yesterday, complete with vacancies. I think this time around I'm only going to pick up a couple of Saturdays. No more of this 7-8-9 in a row crap.
Time to go hit the shower and then off to FunLand.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Could it be that the weather has finally decide to straighten itself out and act normal? After a really screwy start to the year, it seems to have dried out (at least around here), and we are actually having some decent early summer weather. It's about damn time. It has been a bit cool riding home from work at night, but a sweatshirt takes care of the chill rather easily. Still, I miss those warm night breezes that would blow in from the groves when we were in Florida. Nothing like a warm wind that smells ever so slightly of orange blossoms.
Spooked a couple of deer on the trail last night. Spooked myself a bit, too. Luckily they bolted off into the woods rather than turn and stare stupidly at me until I stupidly crashed into them. I wonder if there are a large number of deer vs. bicycle accidents in the US on a yearly basis. Might be more in Canada.
CHAPTER TWO: Work to live, or live to work?
It's Hump Day! Three days of work done, three left to go after today. I have actually lost track of what day it is for the most part. The funny part is that I really don't seem to be missing all that much. Hopefully when this paycheck comes in I can get another bill or two paid off. Seems that the finances have once again become the central battle grounds for Pinklady and I. The whole thing has mutated into yet another chicken/egg argument. She really doesn't like all the hours that I'm working and the fact that when I do get a day off, I spend it scrambling around trying to get caught up on work around the house. My position is that she does not have the ability to increase her workload, and therefore her pay, at will. So, I need to take as many of these hours as I can stomach in an effort to put some of the bills behind us. The economy shows no signs of getting any better any time in the next year or so, so I would think that it would be best to get out from under as much debt as possible. When I relate this point, I get nothing but grump face. Not that I enjoy being here every day of the week, but this could be a once-in-who-knows-how-long opportunity. The economic stimulus check we got was actually on fire, I believe, when it hit our mailbox. All that money came and went so fast, I can't even really accept that the check was actually here. Maybe it was all a dream....
CHAPTER THREE: A blooming idiot?
Now that I have some energy and some decent weather, I get up in the morning and head outside. Putter around with all the plants for a while, then work on a project in the garage. That reminds me that I may actually need to mow the yard in a few days. I did manage to get most all of the remodeling garbage out of the garage so that I now actually have some space to work without tripping over random trash. Doubt that my garbageman will be sending me any flowers anytime soon, though. Since I can't think of any use for all the left over pallets, guess I will be cutting those up to use in the chiminea. If I could find four or five heavy duty plastic bins to put all my sculpture parts in, that would be nice, but I don't want to spend a ton of money. I think I will just continue to use the unorganized heap method for sorting out sculpture parts.
I also found quite a few packets of seeds mixed in with all the gardening supplies. Since Pinklady moved all the herbs up on the deck, and the veggies are in pots out front, guess I'll make another attempt to get some black eyed susans going on the south side of the garage. I also have some scarlet runner beans that I want to try even though I don't really have a sunny enough spot for them. Maybe I'll just put them where I had the sweet potato vines last year. And maybe some Mexican sunflowers in with the black eyed susans. And I still need to find replacements for the tickseed and red hot pokers that didn't come back this year. Haven't seen any of the oranges and lemons blanket flowers yet either. The blood grass looks really sparse too. The butterfly weed, the purple coneflower, and the giant miscanthus are all kicking ass, though. Maybe I'll just seed those all around the front and quit screwing around with all that other stuff.
The latest log tiki seems to be taking shape pretty quickly. Go figure, that pine is sooooo freakin soft it's incredible. And even though that log has been drying since last summer, the deeper I get into it, I think I'm starting to see the cracks widen out. I'll post a progreess picture tomorrow.
Really working on gettting this one done almost as an exercise to get my shoulders, elbows and wrists back into shape. It was a long winter of doing not much of anything. Summer is the time when there are lots and lots of trees getting cut down, and if I want to acquire more logs, I need to finish up some of the ones I have. Of course, I should be looking at next season, and trying to get logs that can sit over the winter to dry out. Nah. I actually like working the green logs. They're soft, so they carve fast, and when they do dry out and crack, it makes the fininshed product look aged and really really cool. Of course, that's my opinion, and if you don't agree, you can go jump.
CHEESE AND CRACKERS
** I think Dhawk is actually a vampire. Y'know, can't be photographed, lives in a dark, cold, dreary place. Just a theory so far, but it's got potential.
** Where did everybody go? After a brief and unexpected flurry of online mini-reunions, things have now gone back the other way. Everyone has seemingly reatreated back to their own places. The hours I'm working can't be helpful either when it comes to trying to get a social life back on-line. At least I can enjoy the weather. *SIGH* Alone, that is....
** It's that time of year again! Time to sit in the boss' office and get the rundown on what they think are your strong and weak points. Normally, I just nod and smile my way through this on an annual basis. Why go to a lot of effort if you know your raise is going to be the same old <5% anyway? This year is going to be the first time around for the incorporation of the Five Pillars and and all that other stuff. The idea is that your raise is tied directly to how you meet your and your department's goals for the year. Might make the way it plays out a little different, but I still have a sneaking suspicion that no matter how you slice it, it adds up to a <5% pay raise.
** The state of IL now has things set up so you can do an immediate check to see if the custom license plate you want is available. Both of the ones I wouldn't mind having are indeed available. I just can't bring myself to spend the money on it though.
** Three female dogs, three pink collars. That is so not right.
** For reasons I have yet to comprehend, Pinklady gave me a Father's Day present. A very nice 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle of DaVinci's Vitruvian Man, go figure. It has been many years since I have put something of this level together, so I have no idea how long it will take.
** I still haven't started on the Giant's project. By the same token, with the onset of nice weather and improved mood, I don't think I've had the computer on at all in the past three days or so. Still, it would be good to get that done sooner rather than later.
** Next year, Chemlawn is going after the yard in an effort to get that ever elusive 'curb appeal' factor up a little higher. I'm thinking late summer of '10 would be as good a time to haul out of this town as any.
** The neighbors are having family stay with them for three weeks. Oh, goody.
** The other neighbors are having us watch their dog Meenah while they go to New York. Last time we watched Meenah, I got a tiki straight from Hawaii as payment. Now I have to do some research to find out what type of tiki artifact I can have then retreive me from NY.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
With any luck there should be absolutely noone arriving to do work of any sort on the house any time soon: the painter finished on Thursday. Ya-fucking-hoo. No more having to get up at ungodly hours to let someone in the house so they can start banging around and making a mess. I mean really, I still have garbage from Brick's job that has to be gotten rid of. (I've found that when disposing of largish blocks of freeform dried mortar, it is best to only put one or two out for the garbage man at a time.) The towel rods have gone up in both of the remodeled bathrooms, so they are, in essence, done. Only incidental decorating remains for those two areas. I am slowly clearing off space in the garage, and as of today, I could almost walk from wall to wall without bumping into a teetering mound of junk. Not that I'd want to perform surgery out there or anything like that. Brick ran by a check for the extra stone, so those should be going away sometime soon. Just going to keep enough to do incidental repairs, should we ever need to, and all the rest (to the tune of 4 full boxes) will be gone. Some how, over the past 2 days I have managed to get 2 sections of the new railings for the deck put in. If I can get up and get going in the morning before the next round of rain gets here, maybe I can get a few more in tomorrow. I am getting freaking tired of letting the dogs out through the garage.
Then come the flowerbeds, the morning glories, and who knows what the Hell else needs to get done outside. Did I mention that we're hosting the Father's Day brunch tomorrow too? Sound like a relaxing day off? Wonder if anyone will notice if I just dash off to Vegas for a while?
CHAPTER TWO: Game On?
I have made a second attempt at trying to get a game group going. This time I'm trying a post in the regional section of the boardgamegeek.com (yes, we have our own website too...) forums to see if I can scare up any interest. If I can manage to get a few responses there and then combine those with my group of occasionals here, I might just be able to get a group together that actually sticks around for a while. That reminds me, I need to go garage saling and pick up some folding chairs. Don't let me forget.
CHAPTER THREE: The End Is Near!
Today is my last day of 9 work days in a row. 'Nuff said.
CHAPTER FOUR:Swing Batter Batter Swing!
After seeing both my medical doctor and my counselor this week, the most apparently ironic thing that could happen did: my meds have kicked back in. I did stop for a brief moment and give a sigh of relief right before I started griping about not being able to be off of them for the summer. Doc just shrugged, smiled, and said 'Maybe next summer'. I was pretty sure something was going on when I noticed that I was no longer remembering the freaky dreams I had started having when I was coming out from under the meds. Apparently it alters the way you go in and out of your sleep cycles. Anyway, I seem to be gaining positive ground at a steady pace, at least as far as my chemically influenced brain activities go. Better than crawling around on my face, if I do say so myself.
* A question for Dhawk: does Windows Vista suck as much as everyone says it does?
* Maggots under the poop can. How gross is that?
* The Giant's project sits untouched on the office floor. Tomorrow may provide opportunity to get started on that.
* The red honeysuckle seems to be making a break for A+J's yard. I get their damn creeping charlie, and they get my gloriously beatiful honeysuckle vine. That is so not right.
* Why the Hell are people in Ohio so damn interested in my blog??
Sunday, June 8, 2008
I have a blister at the base of my right index finger. I have an 'almost' blister across the middle of my right palm. Several of my knuckles are scraped raw. Everything from the tips of the fingers on my right hand across my body to the tips of the fingers on my left hand is a tad achy. If it was simply another sign of my descent into middle age, I would most likely be a tad upset by it. But, since it is the result of me going on a carving binge, I see it as a good thing. Just a little reminder that it does indeed take some effort if you hope to get better at something. Having already garnered the distinction of being the most bad-assed tiki carver in my house, I have moved on to conquer our street. Up next, the city, the county, the state, and then the whole world! BWAHAHAAAHAAAHA!!
If sharpening my artistic skills leads me to be able to conquer the known universe, that would just be a side bonus compared to improving as an artist. I just have to remember to not hesitate when using the 'A' word in reference to myself. While it may be true that just about anyone could do what I do if they really wanted to, I have to remember that most people don't want to. Most people won't get up to change the channel, and think that microwave popcorn takes waaaaaaay too long. That makes if safe to assume that most of those same people wouldn't spend 40-80 hours carving a log. While my efforts may not be perceived in the mainstream as 'Art', it is widely known that I am more than willing to tell the mainstream to go fuck itself. I'm an artist. Deal with it.
CHAPTER TWO: Why Did It Have To Be Good?
It is with great shame that I must admit that I have subjugated myself to the will of mass marketing and allowed my will to be made one with the rest of the populace. I went to go see Iron Man. It's usually quite interesting to go see a movie that is an adaptation of a comic book with Pinklady. Her knowledge of all things superheroish is about nil, so she can go into a movie of that type without any preexisting notions. Most of the time I have at least a basic knowledge of the hero and their back story. In this case, my knowledge was indeed limited to the very basest things regarding the hero. This was one comic book that as a kid/teen never really caught my interest. I don't see that as a bad thing in this case, since it let me sit back and watch the movie without having some idea of how I think it should all go. since I'm not able to completely geek out and give you a frame-by-frame analysis of how the movie was right or wrong compared to the comic book, I can just tell you that I thought it was pretty darn good.
I liked the fact that the entire movie wasn't done as a continuous CGI scene. Another pleasant surprise was that the dialog wasn't composed only of snarky one-lines exchanged over explosions and gunshots. Pinklady was able to follow the story and understand the characters all on her own, which is a great credit to how well the story was told. When I found out that the running time was almost 2 1/2 hours, I did get a little apprehensive. I seem to recall other superhero movies that suffered greatly from bloated story lines and horrid pacing. This movie failed to get stuck on any of these points, moving along at a very good pace throughout. The number of characters introduced was also well balanced against how important they were to the story line. All in all I was pleasantly surprised by what seems to be one of the better superhero movies to come along in a while.
CHAPTER 3: And Then There Were None
Seems like we've hit another point of multiple employee shedding at work. Every few years we have a major upheaval in the employee roster. We've had a couple fired recently, another transferred to our sister hospital in Sandwich, and if I remember right, we were still short staffed before all this happened. Now it's almost a dead lock that Ms Sparkly Drawers will be making her way to the exit in the next three weeks or so. Mix in the usual dose of 'so-and-so is looking for a different job' and 'so-and -so is about to get canned' and it seems to make for a very unpleasant atmosphere around the ol' water cooler. I think we've hired two new people, but I don't know how helpful that's going to be with summer vacation season coming up and one of the day techs soon to be departing on maternity leave. Looks like the forecast is calling for gross with occasional extended periods of crappy in the near future.
CHAPTER 4: I Have No Idea What You're Talking About....
For some reason, I find myself returning to thoughts of No. 1 on a regular basis. I still can't think if there really is something there that I need to discover, or if the whole thing is just something I shift my attention to as an avoidance reaction. As I keep picking at the whole thing, I do tend to see little glimmers of insight here and there. My current line of thought is that this image of No. 1 that I've held on to for all this time is somehow representative of personal qualities i value, want to have, or some combination of the two. So I hang on to that image just in case I happen to invent a time machine over the weekend and zap myself back to 1987 there's a very slight chance that I might be a better match for her. I cannot begin to explain how totally disheartened that statement makes me feel. Reality sucks. To have to say that if I were to meet her in the present it would be a complete and total unknown as to whether or not there would be a snowball's chance in Hell that I would recognize her, much less be able to form a relation ship of some kind with her, stinks. And then to turn around and have to say that if I were to go back in time it's still a complete and total unknown as to whether or not there would be a snowball's chance in Hell that a relationship could be created also sucks. I really don't want to give up on that sliver of hope, that little element of perfect fantasy, that warm and fuzzy Hollywood ending. My track record with starting and maintaining relationships isn't the greatest in the world, so there is really no reason to think that this one, were it ever to occur at any point in the span of human history, would be any different. It just really suck major donkey ass to have to admit that.
CHAPTER 5: One Pill Makes You Larger, One Pill Makes You Small.....
In trying to fumble my way to some minimal degree of understanding of the deep seated roots of all these things, I can't help but wonder what role the Happy Caps play in all of this. I'm running through my usual spring ritual of 'I really want to get off of these damn pills'. as I start getting outside more and my level of physical activity goes up, I really don't seem to have as much of a need for them. So, I then wonder if there is an actual physical need for me to keep taking them, or if it has been shifted off into the realm of a mental habit? The nicer it gets outside, the more likely I am to start skipping doses, intentionally or not, without seeming to have any adverse effects. Then, logically, I start running in the direction of, 'Well, if I don't need them in the summer, do I really need them in the winter?' I don't want to be on them forever. I also don't want to erode back to the state I was in three or four years ago. I'm also not fond of the fact that the dose I need to be on to keep me on an even keel seems to keep increasing. Blech. I already feel like a balloon floating at the ceiling: up, but not going anywhere. Not that the state I was in twenty years ago was so much more wonderful than how I feel now. There are just times when I find myself struggling artistically to replace all those jagged emotional edges that used to be such a large part of of my work. Those edges, along with the more rampant parts of my libido are what the pills seem to have taken away from me. It's such a huge damping effect that I still don't haven't gotten used to it yet. I can't decide at the moment what exactly what I want to do. All I know for sure is that it's been about a week since I took my last dose.
CHAPTER 6: Down In The Mouth
In a recent conversation with the Actress, I suggested that she may want to consider becoming a dental hygienist, as there seems to be a steady demand for them. Her reply was basically that she wasn’t young enough, pretty enough, or big boobed enough to be a dental hygienist, based on what she’s seen. I decided to test this theory when I went this week to get my teeth cleaned (no cavities, by the way). I was all set to prove the Actress wrong, but it turns out that I couldn’t. My hygienist, the same one I’ve had for years now, is a super-cutie. She’s not be cute in a vapid, big boobed blonde way, more like a mother of three running close to 40 kind of way. I really think she should stop tanning, though. Anyway, score one for the Actress.
CHAPTER 7: Has It Been A Year Already?
Ray’s memorial service was this past weekend (finally (pardon the pun)). The entire Suchner clan descended on DeKalb to attend the event. Nothing really major to report, and now that the event has passed, I doubt we will be seeing that group as a whole until the next death in the family. The family can be easily split into two factions based on their geographic location for most of the year, thus giving you the Michigan group and the Minnesota group. The members of each separate group are very close among themselves, even across boundaries of immediate family. Then, if you consider them as an entire unit, they still seem to be quite close. Now, that having been established, I come to my point. Even though I have been attached to this unit via marriage to one of the immediate members for over 15 years, I have been given no avenues to actually become part of the group. This weekend was no exception to that. I’m hoping that on the occasion of the next family gathering I can arrange to skip town for a few days. We’d probably all be more comfortable with an arrangement like that. It’s just another shining example of my horrid interpersonal skills.
A LA CARTE
* So far, the possibility of the upcoming (?) 20 year high school reunion has caused two old classmates to pop out of the woodwork and find me on Facebook. Now I’m wondering if any more will show up.
* Mother’s Day. The score thus far: one MIA, one dead, one incommunicado.
* Happy upcoming birthday to the Pirate Queen! It will be interesting to see if my gift goes over well. After all, it has been a while.
* Brick has almost finished the stone cladding for the foundation. All that remains to do is the west side under the deck. Seems like we’re going to have plenty of stone left over, and not a clue as to what to do with it. I guess that’s better than running short, though
The computer has returned from Best Buy with mixed news. As far as they can tell, there is nothing wrong with the operating platform. Seems that everything inside the tower is working as it should be. That would seem to be the good news. The neutral to not-so-goo news would be that they were unable to figure out what was causing the power kickouts that I was having. As Pinklady was kind enough to pick it up from the store for me, I didn't speak to any of the Geeks myself, so I didn't get firsthand report of what exactly they did. The combined results of their efforts and the new memory stick ($100 down the drain....) has resulted in a much faster running CPU, though. In the process of systematically reattching alll the peripheral devices, I discovered that whe I plugged in the wireless adapter, the power immediately kicked out. So I put in a call to Comcast and told them that I thought the card was going bad. Hopefully when the tech comes out tomorrow, they will confirm this, give me a new card, and be on their way. That would be the best, as well as lowest cost, solution to this problem.
*A Swarm of Suchners?
Ray's memorial service is in one week. Phil says he'll have the bathroom done before then, but it's doubtful that the foundation will be. The top part of the house won't be painted yet, either. I do think I'm going to try to to get the upstairs completely vacuumed and shampooed before all the relatives descend upon us. I think I'll put Pinklady on dust detail to give her something to do. And though I did the basic bookwork today, I merely added to the teetering mound of filing that needs to be done soon. I think I 'll save that for a later date.
*Partly Cloudy, Chance of Crappy Weather
Aprilesque weather seems to be determined to never leave the area. Once again, it's been days since the sun has been seen., and the temps continue to hover in the upper 50's. I am really not liking this at all.
*'Hard' to watch
Pinklady rented 'Walk Hard' for us to watch the other day. It was just OK. I think that's all I really care to say about it. Well, that and the fact that it was just a half-hearted shrug of a movie.
What's that, you ask? What's the best way to clean large, dusty, silk plants? Two words: garden hose.
*What Rhymes With Crypt?
You would think that writing limericks about your zombie girlfriend would be easy, but I have found it to be more of a challenge than I thought.
My girlfriend's a zombie, I fear.
A semi did over her steer.
Now as flat as my hand,
At my door she does stand,
With her spleen hanging out of her ear.
Yesterday was pretty quiet here at work, and today seems to be running a similar course. It would be nice to be able to to get this all done and posted, as well as finishing my CAP surveys and placing my Quest supply order. I also wouldn't mind getting further into the book I just started, but we'll see if that happens. I have to wait until tomorrow to find out what the Pirate Queen has to say about that whole PCR mess that I discovered yesterday.
*The Ghost of Camaros Past
What if Greywolf wasn't as big a jerk as everybody thought? I really was deep into that period of time where all I could do was push people away when we 'broke up'. He may have been going through the same sort of issues that I was at the time. I would be most pained to think he was in the right about me, but I have to admit that had to have been part of it. He was not the sulking, brooding, self-pitying introvert that I was, and eventually he got sick of having me around. Can't say that I blame him. Actually, I think I was sick of it before he was, but was too afraid of what might happen if I were to put the time and effort into changing. So I did what I usually did at that point in time: I got drunk and acted out against the people I most wanted to have support me. Sure enough, one by one, they all got tired of picking me up off the floor. That was years of poorly spent time.
*My Favorite Blondes
For some reason, I seem to be sulking around in the late 80's this week. And of course, two integral parts of the many 'what if/if only' scenarios that arise are No.1 and the Amazon. When I manage to find the opportunity to step back just far enough, I can gain just enough perspective to truly wonder 'Why?' I like to tell people that No.1 was just that: my first love. I'm sure I've hung on to just enough of the good and neutral memories to be able to make that seem like the case to most people. But is it true? Given my fascination with the very plastic and distortive nature of memory, I have to admit that I don't know. But if I then accept that answer, I am forced to recognize that distorted collection of partial memories as being flawed and potentially inaccurate. So, 20 years after the fact, can I honestly say that I am still in love with No.1? As much as it pains me to say it, the best I can do is say that the memories that are attached to that notion I have of her are ones that I am quite fond of. The degree of truthfullness they may or may not contain is a completely different subject. I guess that amalgamation of ideas that I identify as her is what I am in love with. Like I said before, I am 20 years down the road from that point. If I ran into her on the street, I wouldn't recognize her. It could very well be that if I had put the effort into getting to know her better at the time, my opinion may have ended up being different. If I were to get to know her as she is right now, that could also change my opinion of her, as much as the voice in the back of my head is screaming "YOU IDIOT!! SHE WAS THE ONE! YOU FUCKED UP BIIIIIIG TIME, MISTER!!" If you average all those statements out, I am left with basically nothing. Except some photos that I look at fondly as I imagine someone who may not exist any more. At least, she may not exist as the person I remember from 20 years ago. Likewise also the Amazon. I guess I remember her most for what seemed to be the endless kindness she displayed to someone who was the eternal third wheel to her and Greywolf. Again, all that seems to be left are 20 year old pictures and less than accurate memories. I could group those two loosely into the same category that includes my birth parents. There are times when I really really want to find them irregardless of the idea that you can't build a relationship out of nothing, no matter what the movies say. It's like I feel that any one of them, or all of them as a group hold some key or power that will help me shed this constant sense of grayness and allow me to move forward. As if all I have to do is say 'You complete me', and all will be grand. Y'know, realism really bites sometimes. I think I will most always hold some notion of someday running into one of the two blondes and having some whirlwind romance where we end up going off into the sunset together. Mostly though, the thought of getting in touch with them sets off every feeling of inadequacy and anxiety I have. The fear of rejection from any one of them is quite a powerful motivator for me to just lay low, and once again, take no risk and put forth no effort, lest I be rejected. If it were the movies, it would be a bittersweet romance (Still Breathing) where it seems like the hero will be left alone to contemplate what could have been until he turns around and sees her standing there. Unfortunately, I don't quite fit into the hero mold.
*Let's Do The Time Warp Again!
Does the past of others influence them in in a similar way that it does me, or am I alone in feeling somewhat retarded at not being able to accept some things and then let them go?How close am I to turning into Uncle Rico, caught in a perpetual loop of trying to resurrect, relive, and perfect the past? Worse yet, am I close to becoming some creepy stalker type, perpetually obsessed with what they could never have? What is the middle ground between trying to completely excise your past and just accepting it in the present? Is it a bad thing to feel that deep in the heart pang when you see that picture? Too many questions I don't have the answers for....
*I'll Trade You a Balloon For That Sniper Rifle....
I've noticed that my game collection, at least as far as the computer goes, has basically split up into two different groups. There are those I play fairly often, and another pile of mostly run- and-gun-first-person-shooter type games. The whole concept of exploding heads, piles of bodies spraying computer generated blood, and racking up as many kills as you can has really lost its appeal to me. Simplistic as it may sound, I'd much rather play Roller Coaster Tycoon. Elements of real time strategy, creativity, planning, and an overall goal of trying to make all your little sim guests happy. Works for me.
*Dammit, Dammit, Dammit.....
Don't you hate it when someone tells you what the results of your actions will be before you even do them? And even worse, when you go and prove them right, and they don't even dance around singing 'I told you so, I told you so'. As such, I find myself completely unable to escape the correctness of Siddhartha. But I must also acknowledge that the resentment I feel is due to my own incorrect thinking in believing that the end result would be something other than what it is/was. Just one more episode where I have to get up out of the mud, get back on the path, and start moving again.
As a somewhat interesting aside to some of my previous thoughts, I tried to do a perspective shift and ponder the following: Given the impact I still feel from them today, to whom in my past would I have been a No.1, Greywolf, or Amazon to? How would I react if someone like that were to drop back into my life out of the blue? How many people still remember, and if they do, even care? Brings to mind for me a long list of people who would put me on the Greywolf side, and many, many fewer who would put me down as either an Amazon or a No.1. Not really the best balance of accounts, by my reckoning.
Of course, in all this mulling and rethinking of the past, I reach the end and consider my part in all of it. The repeating theme I keep seeing is the selection more often than not, and usually irregardless of consequences, of the path of least resistance. Risk and effort were avoided in favor of ease and security of results. An unpleasant realization, to be sure. More disappointing is the notion of my unwillingness, even in the face of this knowledge, to alter my course of action. Will my rising level of discomfort with myself be a catalyst for meaningful change, or will I merely find a somewhat sheltered spot to hide in till things blow over or I increase my medication level? And what exactly is the role of the happy capsules in all of this? How much of the spiral is really a physical lack of neurotransmitters as opposed to a mental reaction to accumulated brain crud? How can I avoid 'analysis paralysis' and move on to enacting change? Well, it should be blatantly obvious that I should stop asking so many questions, accept things as they are and just get moving. *SIGH* Crap. Hang on a sec, Siddhartha, give me a chance to catch up. Again.
The music is done, and the washing machine has stopped. Pinklady and the girls are in bed, and I am alone at the end of the day with my thoughts. As my computer is spending at least tonight at Best Buy, I find myself falling back on the tried and true pen and legal pad method. Hopefully it will be slow enough at work tomorow that I can get it loaded into my journal.
The weather today was a damn sight prettier than yesterday. It was the kind of day with a sky so blue that when you looked at it against the new green leaves of the trees, it looked fake. I could have stood there in the sun for who knows how long just trying to completely absorb that unbeliveable contrast of colors.
The bulk of the day was nice and warm. Springtime warm, not quite summertime warm. I was reminded of just how temporary the temperature still is when I went out for a bike ride in the evening. That was around a quarter after seven or so, and the sun was fast heading for the horizon. Even though the trees along the nature trail haven't completely leafed out yet, it was close to being chilly along that stretch of my ride. I think I may have done around 5-6 miles at a nice easy pace, just enjoying being out and looking around at everything. Saw a lot of cardinals along the trail, and there was still quite a bit of standing water towards the Sycamore Road end. I am really hoping that doesn't mean we're gonna be overrun by mosquitos this year, but I won't hold my breath. The red trillium are all in bloom in the more forested parts of Hopkins Park, and they've also torn down the playground in the lower part. The bike path between Hillcrest and First is practically falling apart. I think it will soon be beyond repair if they don't do something about it soon. Not to mention the fact that it was kinda late, and there wasn't much to look at in the way of female scenery, either.
Amazon II has been around quite a bit this weekend, as Brick has been putting the new 'stone' cladding on the foundation (and I kid you not when I say it looks un-b-fucking-levable!!) She still intrigues me for reasons I know not why. Perhaps it's the basic physical resemblance to Amazon I. Or maybe it's just because I've tied them together in my head by callling them Amazon I and II. Could be the freckles. No matter how you slice it, I almost always show off when she's around, unless I keep a real close eye on myself. The car comment I made today sure fell deeply into the category of 'Bold and Stupid'. The Swordsmen would be proud.
While the foundatiopn does indeed look cool beyond words, any flower, weed, or blade of grass the dared to poke it's head out of the dirt was completely trampled into oblivion during the process of construction. Only time will tell if anything manages to survive.
It has now gotten to the point, as annoying as it may be, that even I think I should mow the yard. I am SOOOO thrilled.
The sceond pine log from Glob's backyard went under the chisel today. As a purely incidental discovery, I found that sidewalk chalk is really good for sketching out the basic design. Much better than using a Sharpie. Far less permanent, but much better to work with. The only real blank spot so far is that I haven't managed to figure out what to do as far as the headdress goes.
I actually got a lot done on the plank tiki tonight. Opted for an on-the-fly revision of the cheeks and under eye ridges. Instead of doing a full pillow top, I'm gonna leave all the edges that frame the nose straight up and down. If I get to the end and don't care for it, I can round it off later. Maybe I can get that one squared away before I get too far along on the other one. That would probably be a good thing.
Now I'm getting drowsy. More later.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
The oddities of the year seem to continue unabated. People from the past drift in and out of my life almost at random. In their wake, all the muck of time gone by lurches up into the light of day. Razors for the soul. And still, for all the promises to stay in touch, all the good intent, I still drift along, wondering what the hell just happened. How long before this parade of my ill handled past comes to a halt? When all those people go back to what has now become their lives and I continue to rake through the ashes looking for any sign of heat, what then? More missed opportunities? Fuel for my discontent? In an almost endless supply, it would seem.
Monday, June 11, 2007
From the past to the present
She is out there somewhere. Collected cobwebs and floating shadows of the others still haunt me, but I have healed enough to stand. Years of collected darkness still colors my vision. The warmth of her laughter calls me, while the gleaming edge of minds lays waste to the dullards that mill about her feet. Her glance is challenging and dismissive, seeing more in me than I care to admit. I am lost amidst cardboard cutouts pretending to be worthwhile, interesting people. In the corner of my eye, she dances. Her scent is a blossom striding through the wind. A taste of her will on tempt my lips. With the heat of my hand she vanishes. My breath stolen, fallen to the ground, the hem of her skirt brushes my trembling hand. She steals into my mind and rearranges it as she pleases. I close my eyes to feel her heat on my face. Her bare feet shuffle softly on the floor with a sound like tiny golden bells. The musk in the hollow of her throat lifts me and she cradles my head in her lap. Her comtempt corrodes all my well-formed bullshit, and her slap is both a welcome and a warning. She sits with her feet folded under her, shuffling my mind like a deck of cards. Laughing, she traces the lines in my face as if it were the map to some undiscovered paradise. She scatters me around the room and slips away, a ray of light in the clouds. The lines from her nails sting, but my tears will not find her.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Art is a demanding master. Asking not only for your time, but for bits of your soul, and often the sacrifice of flesh. In return it instills a bottomless craving satisfied only by itself. Food, sleep, companionship can all fall by the wayside when the master calls. And the master is never satisfied....
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Movie Review: Flushed Away
OK, I have to admit that when I heard that the creators of Wallace and Grommit were going to make a movie, and that it wasn't going to involve using the woderful stop motion photograpy and clay models seen in prevoius efforts, I was prepared to write the whole thing off. But I have to admit that there were time when I was watching this movie that I laughed so hard that I almost peed myself. The CGI process captures the wonderfully expressive rounded features of the original clay models, and the fantastically detailed underground settings may have you going frame by frame to pick out all the neat little details that were worked in. As far as the story goes, I found it to be appropriately sappy, especially on Father's Day eve. Just sit back and enjoy it for the visuals. And the French frogs.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Book Review: The White House Mess
Another wonderful effort by Christopher Buckley. For those of you who watched 'Thank You For Smoking', yes, he does actually write books. This one makes for a good summer week read, as it isn't overly long and the Penguin Books printing of it is just the right size for easy pocket carrying. While reading it I found myself luaghing out loud at what seemed to be utterly ridiculous and improbable events in the nation's seat of power. Later, I found myself uncomfortable with the notion that, given the current state of events in our country, most of the book may be way too close to reality. So for a quick (224pgs), amusing, and yet slightly disturbing view of the goings on at 1600 Pennslyvania Avenue, pick this one up for your summer reading list.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Movie Review: Farce of the Penguins
Ok, it's happened again. For only about the third or fourth time in my adult life, I have stopped watching a movie I have paid hard earned money to see. This movie is BAD. Actually, calling this movie bad does disservice to the word bad. If you see someone reaching for this movie in the video store , just slap them. Unless they happen to have the unrated letter box gold collectors edition of The Dukes of Hazzard in the other hand, in which case they'll probably love it. For something that gives a more interesting take on an equally crude topic, rent 'The Aristocrats'. At least it's funny.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Book Review: "The Historian"
The annoying part about trying to review this book is trying to not use words like "rich", "lavish", and "engrossing". All of these buzzwords are plastered all over the book as snippets of reviews from far and wide. So, I feel compelled to not use them. But, at the same time, they all apply. About all I can do is this: it's a really really really really really good book. If you happen to be a vampire geek, you can throw in an awesome or two to the above review. The only stumbling points for some people may be all the foreign place names, but it's set in Europe, so get over it. And it's not that I was being compelled by some vampiric spell and couldn't put it down, but I really didn't want to. And even though there will be legions who will rise up against me, shaking their fists in the air, the end was the best part. Go get this one, it's out now in paperback.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Back to Halloween sale?
It was Sunday morning,so of course I was on my way to Michael's to pick up more frosting. Figured I might check out the selection of paints and markers while I was there, too. Once in the door, I head over to where the cake decorating stuff is, and I work my way past a huge display of silk flowers. Lovely shades of orange, red and yellow. Quite fallish in appearance, really. Then I see the aisle. It was topped by an archway of woven vines and fall covered leaves, and from where I stood I could see a group of grinning skeletons hanging from a peg right next to some black spiderwebs covered in purple glitter. Halloween stuff. All thoughts of frosting forgotten for the moment, I checked my watch. The little black numbers said 7-15. I counted the months off in my head, and sure enough, the number 7 coincided with July. I continued with my count, and was reassured that when I got to 10, that was where I found October. My grade school math skills allowed me to figure out that I was indeed 3+ months away from Halloween. The fabric of space and time seemed to shift uncertainly around me. Parts of reality as I knew it started winking in and out like stars as I tried to assimilate this new data. Like the scene of some gruesome accident, I felt myself drawn to this calendric abberation. I walked down the aisle, past witches and bats, skeletons and spiders. The tiny Halloween village houses played their music and sound effects through their tiny speakers at volumes far beyond acceptable for a Sunday, much less a Sunday in July. I stumbled out the other end of the aisle and into what must have been the land of wicker. For once the smell of varnish and the scent of plastic plants was somewhat comforting. Still, the sound of creaking doors, cackling witches, and bonging cathedral bells echoed toward me. I shuffled around the corner and found the frosting and started towards the checkout, still trying to make sense of what I had just experienced. That's when I ran into Julie (sort of, she was in some kind of staff meeting, and I don't think she recognized me. but for her to go from Ben Franklin to Lowe's and who knows where else in between, to end up at Michael's, well, goood for her. if you're in the neighborhood, drop by and ask for her, she's a real gem. but, I digress), which further spun my morning around. On the way to the car, in the bright, 80 degree, JULY sunshine, I still couldn't believe it yet. Halloween in July. What the hell. Now don't get me wrong here, I'm all for the enthusiastic and extravagant celebration of Halloween, but as of right now, I haven't even seen any Back to School ads, and that's about 1 month away. The corn is still bright green and growing for crap's sake. You can get into the proper mood when the freakin corn is still green. The tail end of summer used to be the time when I was looking forward to the Christmas edition of the JC Penney catalog. And when that arrived, it still seemed like Christmas would never get here. Now this. Last year, when I went out looking for Halloween decorations, in October, mind you, I was hard pressed to find much of anything because of all the Christmas stuff that was out. I just can't believe it. No, actually, I can belive it. It just makes me somewhat sad that this may become the next fun holiday that has every last drop of enjoyment sucked out of it by those who just want to make a profit on it. The focus of my dread now becomes the appearance of Christmas stuff in September, most likely. All of this because of the need for frosting.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Trash or Treasure?
Seemed like a simple thing at the time. Heading back to where I grew up for an in formal gathering of the old gang. But I soon discovered that my currently advancing age and my vast alcohol consumption at that time had left me with many, many blank spots in my memory regarding those years. The decision was handed down that in this time of near emergency, it was time to open THE CHEST. So, into the garage I went to open THE CHEST. It began it's life as a toybox. It was just a smallish wood box, painted grey and stenciled with a pirate scene on the lid. When it came into my possession, it had already done noble duty as just a toybox for all my mom's brothers and sisters. Being as I was a teenager at the time, I promptly spray painted the whole thing a matte black and fitted it with a hasp and lock. It slowly began to accumulate things throughout my high school years, and seemed to continue in this task until the past couple of years. Now, in need of memory filler, I was going to open THE CHEST. It sits on a shelf underneath a workbench, covered with dust, and piled with various scrap bits of this and that. I cleared it off and managed to dredge the combination for the lock from the depths of my mind. The lock opened with a hollow pop. The hasp snapped back, and there it was, my history as I had chosen to remember it. Concert T's, an empty Everclear bottle, things that I had decorated my locker in high school with, a yearbook, a broken board, strips of mylar from a dance I had gone to, old notes written long ago in a study hall far away, and so many other fragments. Many things I didn't even now the significance of anymore. I just sat there onthe floor of the garage digging through a pile of my past, looking for somthing that would help tie me back to the people I was about to go see. THE CHEST did not disappoint. There were a couple of pictures, some handwritten notes, and even a Peoria Chiefs ticket stub from the night I first made love. All of these memories and so many more swirling around in my head made me feel kind of dizzy. I was like a kid in a candy store, running from one thing to another trying to sample everything, from the really sweet to the super bitter. And there seemed to be plenty of both sweet and bitter in THE CHEST. After the rush of rediscovering all this stuff started to settle down, my brain started to try and put it into some context. Why did I still have all this stuff? Where had these people gone? Had I left a mark on others the way they had seemed to have left their marks on me? What was the relevance of any of this? Staring at a picture of Amy D, the first person I ever loved (the bitter part being I realized it way too late, and at the time I was too busy trying to be someone else), I suddenly felt the void open up beneath me. I hadn't seen her in almost 20 years. What had she done in all that time? Who had she become as a person? How could I look at this picture and feel emotions that exist that far into the past? She could have become someone I would now loathe. The image I have of her in my mind, though, is that she was the type of woman then that I would love to have in my life now. I sat and looked at that picture for a long time. Wherever she is, whoever she may now be, when I look at that picture I remember her then. That, I suppose, is a small comfort. And so it went, on through the evening, for those things I could remember, there was a deep seated emotional memory that led to another sense of disconnection. THE CHEST was now mocking me. I considered dragging a garbage can over and emptying the whole contents of THE CHEST into it. But something about those memories kept me from doing it. Such bittersweetness. A smile followed by an ache of the heart. In the end, Amy, Chris, Morgan, Dee Dee, Steve, Vicky, Leesa, Darrel, Scott, Monte, Julia, Monica, and so many others were carefully packed back away, safely under lock and key. To what end, I still don't really know. Somehow, THE CHEST keeps all those little important pieces of my heart in one place.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
plik, tap, click
Sunday, July 29, 2007
The spoon plays its music
inside my coffee cup
Steam spinning fading and
a ghost of memory
And then I'm thinking
and a sunny afternoon
She sat across from me
with her whole body
While she told me stories
memorizing her eyes
In the parking lot one
before we parted ways
Now just sitting here I'm
fondly of her
Sunday, August 05, 2007
A defiant peice of blank paper stares up from the desk. It's serene whiteness is a stark contrast to the symphony of noise raging inside my skull. The words elude me. Syntax strangles form while context obliterates emotion. Every sentence, every phrase, is critically flawed. No run of words moves smoothly. All of it is just garbled, clashing, broken noise that is limp on the page and vague in my mind. I sit wih my eyes closed while this storm rampages through my head like a defiant child, hurling everthing to the floor in a tangled mess. I pick through the wreckage like a beggar looking for cans and rags, praying to find something of value. There must be some image, some turn of phrase, I can offer her. Which of these words would make her heart race? What image would cover her with goose pimples? How can I put these loops and squiggles together to make her knees go weak? At the mere thought of her, my command of the language vanishes. These words, once such simple toys for me, defy my will at the thought of her smile. To imagine her touch is to be rendered a babbling fool, offering up a handful of mud for her approval. This, then, is the torment in which I reside. To be driven to create for her, only to have the result pale in comparison to her beauty.
Monday, August 06, 2007
She had hoped it would go away, but the margarine only made it slippery and salty. She tried the hotline number and was told very curtly by a native Albanian there were no refunds if it happened within 7.57623 light years of Rigel 7. When she talked to the Shriners, they seemed to be greatly indifferent to her offer of donating to their bi-weekly shovel and concrete fund raiser. The couple who ran the Chinese hot dog stand hurled knockwurst at her when she came within distance. Jerry poked it with a fork a couple of times and shrugged. It smelled vaguely of popcorn and shellfish. The neighbor's parrot, James Ellington Snuffleworth Maddington Excelsior Watson Cambridge III, had nipped at it and then promptly threw up on the lady giving the Tupperware party. A riot had broken out at the local college when it was found out that the local Boy Scouts had discovered a way to raise the dead using carrots, poison ivy, and a few Popsicle sticks. Shortly after that, it fell off, and she found it behind the filing cabinet covered in dust and glitter. Jerry came over and poked it with a fork again. She put a gumdrop and a Band-Aid next to it in case it got lonely. The cat came home from Alabama and promptly started doing differential calculus equations on his I-pod. Jerry poked himself with a fork. He discovered he didn't much care for it and spent the next 29 hours rubbing a small piece of maroon velvet against his great aunt Conchita. She wandered down to the bus stop to see if the Cambodian dwarf who sold the pina coladas was there. Her cousin Merle said she had gone to Chicago to hurl typewriters off the Sears Tower to protest the abuse of potatoes. 'Arf' she said.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
To anyone who came bounding at me this past holiday season hopped up on egg nog and incessantly braying 'Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!' at the top of their lungs, I have this to say: You got what you wanted, so deck your halls, jingle your bells, grab your damn snow shovel and get your freakin wish out of my driveway! Ho, ho, ho, now make it go, go, go! Maybe I'll have some figgy pudding for you when you're done....
For the past week, the only action at the game table was an away game that took place at work. In what has proven to be an almost impossible achievement in recent history, Kittyluv and I squeezed in a complete game of Five Crowns. Now, before you go getting all lippy, it was Super Bowl Sunday, and the weather outside was absolute crap, so buisnes was pretty slow. It was either sleep, play cards, or continue the rubber band war that had already raged in full force for over an hour. And still unanswered is the question of how many ringers it takes to win the big hairy monster. The idea that you can cause someone's head to explode by touching their elbow was confirmed, however.
But back to Five Crowns. I can't really think of any new or novel play elements in this rummy style card game, and I'm starting to think that may be the reason it's stayed popular in our group for so long. You draw cards to build runs (cards of the same suit in sequence) and sets (groups of cards of the same rank) in order to go out before your opponents do. Getting caught with unmelded cards in you hand when someone else goes out could get you a whole lot of points, which is to be avoided in this lowest-score-wins contest. Don't worry though, there are 11 hands played in a full game, which gives ample opportunity to make up for a bad hand or two. The first hand dealt is only three cards, with that number increasing by one for each round played, until, in the last deal, you end up holding thirteen cards. Another neat feature of the game is the number of cards in the hand also indicates what rank of cards is wild for that hand. If that wasn't enough help in building your sets and runs, the deck also contains a good number of jokers that are always wild.
Like many card games, this on claims to be playable by two players, but the flavor of the game just isn't the same as it is with three to six players. It also claims to be able to support seven players on one deck, and eight or more on two decks. I haven't tested either one of these claims, but that does lead me to an interesting point about the deck itself. It's big. Really big. Megaginourmously big. Ultrahumassively big. Porn star big. It's so big that if you know someone with teeny tiny hands, or some type of shuffling disability, this deck could reduce them to tears in short order. Even weak wristed normal handed folk may have to make a couple attempts to get it mixed properly. Weighing in at 116 cards, it's right around, if not slightly bigger than, the size of a standard Uno deck. It may just send you digging for that card shuffler that's lurking in the back of a closet somewhere.
Still, the simplicity of the game, and the potential to be dealt a perfect hand that lets you go out immediately and stick your opponents with a ton of points, keeps this game continously popular. Even though at first it may seem like it will take forever to play a whole game, the play moves along at a good pace. In fact, it usually ends with more than one person saying, 'C'mon, one more game!' That was not the case in my game with Kittyluv on that snowy sunday evening. Not only did we run right to the end of my shift, finishing right brfore I was due to walk out the door, she quite easily managed to hand me a loss. My only consolation was the fact that I mangaed to cut her lead to the point where I fininshed with only a mere twice as many points as she had. Nope, not an ending that left me screaming immediately for another game.
Production values aren't the top of the line, at least for the copy I have. Other than that, the cards have stood up well to years of play, just going a little grey around the edges, and having a more or less permanenet bow from the force required to shuffle them. The card faces have kept their detail and color, and only just now are the corners starting to split. So, for a card game that's a quick learn, stands up to large groups, and keeps it's fun factor, Five Crowns (Set Enterprises, Inc.) is a good game for the huge handed card shuffler in your life.
*Once one has discovered how easy it is to get into your bosses' locked cabinets, should you go on to see how easy it is to get into their drawers?
*Some very harsh words (perhaps deserved) from RN4.0 have left me with questions. Serial killer? Crazed stalker? Guy with bodies in the crawlspace? A deliciously hot piece of man-cake? You decide! On my MySpace page, go to my pictures and check out the folder marked '????' and let me know what you think. In return, I'll be sure to let you know if I intend on continuing to speak to you. To RN4.0, I guess this means no 1 on 1 strip volleyball match, huh?
*Twang! Zing! Twang! Whizzzz! Honk! Honk! (you know who you are....)
*Princess Cowgirl no touchee wizard! Wizard big mojo! Much juju! You no touchee!
*As the frozen wind scours the flatlands of IL, I still have no idea where the Amazons have gone.
*The clock continues to count down towards MTHS+20. Save Ferris!
My life in six words....
So far, not my best effort.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Well, it's been a good week, not only for snow, but for game playing. Sunday night saw the return of Big Bri and the Princess Cowgirl to the game table. TPC showed up as BB and I were manuvering our way through a second game of All The King's Men. I have referred in the past to this game as 'chess lite', and I dusted off an old chess play I learned from Bobby Fischer to pull out a couple of wins. With the king needing to make at least 2, if not 3, moves to get off the back rank, he is highly succeptible to a 2 knight stacked back rank mate. If the king manages to stay in his 2 knight, 3 archer box, this ploy can be a tad difficult to carry off. But, if the king is open to one side of the board or the other, it becomes fairly easy to trap him behind his own archers, which, in their starting position, are incapable of moving backward to defend. Just to be extra rude, I pulled this off once from the left side of the board, and once from the right. This is a nice light strategy game with a per game playing time of about 20 minutes or so. If you can find a copy, by all means, pick it up. Thanks to Big Bri, who not only reintroduced me to this game, but gifted me with a really nice copy a few years ago.
The second game to hit the table on Sunday was Poison. One of my faves for the production values and artwork alone, it's also a quick learn. I have come to the conclusion that it may not be the best choice for a 3 player group, though. The strategy of play loses some flavor when each player can simply pick a color to try and collect in order to be able to discard all those points. This usually ends up being whatever you have the most of in your hand. I've also never benn really fond of dealing out a dummy hand that doesn't enter play. Not that I can count cards, but sometimes you need to have an idea of what's left out there in the other's hands. The odd number of cards in the deck that doesn't make for an even 4 player deal is another odd thing about this game. I still like the game, but it tends to play a little more cutthroat with 4 players. I did have lots of fun watching BB and TPC scrapping it out on the last hand, though. BB, if I go back and find cheese dust on those cards, I am gonna beat your ass.
A few days went by, and then Thursday saw the return of The Princess Cowgirl. Along with her came about 17,834" of snow. After Sliding her way to DeKalb and surviving a mauling by my 2 youngest, she opted to open the evening with a session of Connect Four. Pretty sneaky, sis. (Raise your hand if you remember that one....)
Didn't take too long to get back into the swing of this strategy quickie. All those games I played against my older sister years and years ago came racing back to mind. This was another of my garage-sale-less-than-a-buck finds. I did notice that even a game as simple as this is being made on the cheap now. Instead of the nice hard plastic checkers that gave that satisfying rattling clatter when you drained the board, now they're using some waxy, soft plastic that just kinda thwacks down on the table. No fun there. It's also still a game, much like several in the Gamemaster series, that just swims in it's box. Waaaaaaay too space, and waaaaay too little packing material guarantee that this will be one of the first boxes in you game pile to cave in. Ah, progress. Why, I remember back when......
Then it was time to move on to something a tad more bovine. As the snow continued to pile up outside, and I was bemoaning the loss of my first love, Cosmic Cows came catapulting from it's container. Completely cool! OK, that's enough of that. WARNING: The Princess Cowgirl is freaking dangerous when you put dice in her hand! Still, she managed to get the better of me in this one. This game has great production value, and cute (yes , I said it) art, but strategy gets sacrificed for luck of the roll. I find it greatly entertaining for the sheer frustration factor that it produces at times. Mooooo.
The close of this rather snowy evening was a best of 3 battle of Gobblet!. In the course of the game, TPC did come up with what may not be a million dollar idea, but it could be worth a few thousand: Deluxe Turntable Gold Limited Collector's Edition Gobblet!.Not at all a bad idea, as line of sight can get a bit tricky in this one. This is a good game to park on the coffee table, as the wood board and pieces just beg to be handled. The sturdy wooden box will stand up well to being in a pile of games, but it seems a shame to hide this one in the closet. If you were to crush one of the carved wood playing pieces, well, good luck trying to fix it. This is another one I like, but I haven't put enough games in to have developed any type of strategy whatsoever. Still, I managed to squeak out a pair of victories.
As TPC disappeared into the snowy night, I was left to bid farewell to January, and to welcome February with shovel in hand. After a questionable start, and then a late month surge, I exit the first month of 2008 with a total of 8 different games played. Not stellar by any means, but not bad. Did you feel the Earth move with the significance of that moment? Nah, me neither.
Bits And Pieces
*A lesson learned from an evening with UncleArt and The Educator: Irregardless of how orgasmically good their tiramasu is, never eat at an Italian resturant that doesn't know how to cook pasta. Goodbye Filo Spinatos, hello Villa Verone.
*Yes, a dog's digestive tract can process drywall, and if cute enough, said same dog can escape the brunt of Pinklady's wrath. But only just.
*Anybody out there got a copy of "Ultraphobic" by Warrant that I can rip?
*Happy upcoming birthday to LaLa of Tiki Bar TV!
*Adios to AS, JS, and M3 as they wing their way across the Pacific to Hawaii. You know, it would be a shame if Meenah were to have any 'accidents' while you were gone..... Perhaps it would be best to appease the tiki gods as a sign of reverence....
*For anyone who is interested in wasting a chunk of their life, the level cap for a warrior in Puzzle Quest is 50, and by the time you reach that, beating lord Bane and finishing the game is a snap.
*The studio sapce remodel continues with the addition of a +2 Loveseat of Unbearable Comfort, which has also proven to be really good at destroying latchplates in an unnoticed manner.
*The notion of buying a new-to-us house was abandoned in favor of the idea of finishing the one we have. Sorry M1, no commission for you.
*To Cromag, a solution to your purchasing issues in a mere 2 words: Muchkin expanders. I have the base set, and that's it. Go crazy. The list you requested is as follows: Wise Guy, Big Kahuna, Odd Ball, Doozie, Matched Set, and Patience.