Saturday, September 6, 2008

Scooter's Revenge

CHAPTER ONE: Yet Another Quest...
It seems that if I'm left to my own devices for too long, I can find numerous ways to waste unbelievable amounts of time. The most recent came to me through that greatest conduit of wasted time: the internet. But before I get to that; a little backstory. I have always been a geek. Anyone who's known me for any period of time is well aware of the span and depth of my geekosity. That being said, it comes as no great surprise that D+D was a notable part of my history. With the advent of the home computer, it got easier and easier to play more and more complicated D+D style games with very little prep time, but usually a huge investment of playing time. I can't recall how long I played Ultima IV and was still never able to complete it. Through the years, and right up into the present, these types of games have always held some degree of interest for me. It was this interest that led me to download a trial version of World of Warcraft.

World of Warcraft, for those of you who actually have lives and get out of the house on a regular basis, is what is know as a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game). You log onto the game via the internet and can then basically play a limitless D+D style game with, against, or apart from people just as geeky as you from all over the world. Just like in any other game of this sort, you create a character and then try to build them up to be more and more powerful. Simply put: kill the monsters, take their stuff, complete quests, and gain levels. Repeat ad nauseum. That's where I start to loose interest. The repeating and repeating and repeating. Blech.

WoW is huge and pretty, and in spots, insanely difficult. There are seemingly endless skills to master and just as many ways to tweak your character as you could ever possibly want. I'm enjoying the trial I downloaded, but since the game is a subscrtiption based service, I doubt I'll continue on when my trial period ends. I can't say that the whole thing isn't an amazing accomplishment, but for all that it is, it's really still just a dungeon crawl. And a vastly huge time sucking dungeon crawl at that.

Apparently I hate my left hand. I seem to continuously allow it to wander aimlessly into the paths of pointy spinny sharp things that have nothing other in mind than to hurt it. This week proved to be no exception.

I was feeling a tad guilty about how much time I was spending playing games on the computer, so I went down to the studio to see what I could get to happen. I went through my usual round of aimless puttering, which is usually aimed at trying to bring a slight degree of order to the vast chaos that is present in that room. My attention finally settled on a nice heavy piece of maple wood that was way at the back of the workbench, and just like that, the decision to make a tiki was born.

The stock was a smallish tree limb maybe 8" long and at most maybe 2" in diameter. It still had a thin bark coating on it, and in the process of scraping that off, I realized that this was a freakin dense piece of wood. Much more so than anything I had been working with lately. I just kinda filed that info towards the side of my brain and went right on working on sketching the design out on the wood with a pencil. So far, so good.

As usual, I went through the junky sets of carving tools to see if I could find some that were up to the task. Some were dull, some were rusty, and all of them had handles that were too small to stand up to the force that was necessary to actually cut the wood. That was another piece of info that slid over to the side of my brain. As that was sliding, I was moving up the quality ladder looking for the right hand tools for the task. The two best sets I have had a couple of tools each that were sturdy and sharp enough to stand up to the rock hard maple wood. So I started to remove chips of wood with great enthusiasm, wedging the stock between my belly and the edge of the workbench. It registered that this may not be the best way to hold the wood, but that idea kinda rolled over into the same place the previous ideas had. It also registered that it was taking a lot of force to remove the the smallish slivers of wood that were starting to litter the floor. I think that last notion was lonely, because it very quickly ran off to join the others.

Now, I make no secret of the fact that I am nearly 40. I also make no secret of the fact that the first 30-35 years of my life were riddled with acts of such unrealistic stupidity it's rather amazing I have survived to become almost 40. I would like to think that part of the reason for this survival is that I have finally started to listen, at least in a minimal amount, to that voice in my head that tells me when I'm doing something stupid and/or dangerous. I guess that voice was on vacation this week. In a microsecond, the factors of a sharp chisel, really dense wood, and a cutting angle that was less than ideal combined to produce a movement that ended with the chisel going into the flesh on the side of my left thumb. Deeply.

I cursed. Then I bled. Then I did both quite profusely at the same time. While doing those two things, I managed to notice that there was nothing within arm's reach that was either clean or flexible enough to be used to staunch (gotta love that word) the flow of blood. This caused me to curse even more vigorously. I finally found a dust mask that I managed to get wrapped around the injured digit, which slowed the bleeding, but not the cursing. Standing there clutching my injured finger, I noticed two things. One; the floor in front of the workbench looked like a crime scene. Two; I had to be to work in half an hour. That was when I thought that this may not go down in history as my best day ever.

Soon, I will have yet another scar to remind me of why it is that I should pay attention to those voices that tell me when I'm doing something potentially dangerous. I would prefer to blame society. Unfortunately, I think even society would think that the whole incident was a display of gross stupidity. And society aint all that bright.

CHAPTER THREE: "The Hot Kid" by Elmore Leonard
I have read several of Elmore Leonard's novels, and I don't really recall disliking any of them. I may have just found an exception. Or, I may have just found one that doesn't really grab me. "The Hot Kid" is set in prohibition era Oklahoma and centers around the sons of two oil men and the different paths they take. One goes into a life of crime, and the other into enforcing the law. Pretty standard for an Elmore Leonard novel.

I think what makes this one a tough read for me is the setting. I have never really had a great interest in Thompson toting bank robbers, G-men, or bootleggers. If they happen to be your cup of tea, you may want to put this on your 'Short and Easy' reading list. As for my copy, it's already on it's way to the book exchange.

CHAPTER FOUR: Five Days A Week, My Ass!
Today finds me 2/3 of the way through another 6 day stretch at work. Yay. No, really. Yay. At least after that's done, I'll be off for three, then on for three, and then off for twelve. I'd like to feel that somehow this all makes sense, but I think I know better. Still, I can't help but think that if I had a set schedule my tolerance for work would be that much lower. I really can't think of anything else that would fill out this topic to a degree that would actually turn it into something resembling a real chapter. Oh, well.

CHAPTER FIVE: Death Amongst the Basil
It happened again this year. Pinklady convinced me that she would take care of the plants, vegetables, and herbs that she wanted to plant this year. I was skeptical, based on years of watching her plants wilt in the summer sun, but it was spring, and I was feeling good, so I played along. Mistake on my part. While I was out taking care of the things I had planted, I found myself watering and fertilizing all of her plants too. Flowers were never got dead headed, potted plants drooped in the heat, and vegetables over ripened on the vine. And, since I wasn't taking the best care of the things I had planted, the overall visual effect was fairly depressing. Mostly I was disappointed that she wanted all this stuff, and then never really took care of any of it. And would occasionally complain that it didn't look good. If this happens next year, I swear there is no way I'm taking care of the things she wants to plant. She does a lot better with the silk plants anyway. I'm gonna be busy replanting the front of the house next year, so I won't have a huge amount of extra time to take care of her stuff. Kinda like the brand new bike of hers that's been ridden maybe a dozen times since we bought it. That's going back up on it's hooks for the winter, and I think it went out of the garage maybe twice. Another expensive disappointment. Anyway, she's on her own with whatever she wants to plant next year. Period.

**Seems the bad mojo truck delivered to, and then ran over, Kittyluv and Dhawk recently. Hope things get back on track for them soon.

**I need to get my blue jacket cleaned for the reunion.

**Was finally nice to get a day's worth of rain after a month of dry conditions.

**Happy 13th to the number one member of the Thundering Herd

**Kane County is a poor substitute for Elkhorn, but since I, too, am somewhat poor, I guess that's where I'll be headed on Sunday.

**Is it possible to count to 0?

**One of these days I will remember to get some salt for the water softener.

**By the way, the last poll resulted in a tie. The two options are being presented in a run-off poll which will determine my next major (if you care to see it that way) project. The run-off poll is active and will be closed in one week.

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