I got involved with this harem-scaram scavenger hunt gone wild this year for the first time. While I didn't get half the stuff done I wanted, I did manage two that I'm sort of proud of.
First, we have my pet's debut heavy-metal album cover. You have no idea how hard it is to make my pretty girl and a canary named Cyril T. Flufferbottom look metal. I'm kind of proud of how well it turned out. I guess all that time I spent helping classmates mark up their jackets with white-out in the back of the bus in high school was useful after all. I went whole-hog and had it printed up so I could make it into a proper sleeve that would, in fact, fit a vinyl record. After I submitted it, I framed that original and hung it up on the wall.
This next one's even harder to explain. You had to watch a Bob Ross episode and paint along, doing a time-lapse video showing that you did it and showing a comparison between your work and his. My daughter joined me, and we set it up. Things were a little interesting, in that I had a hard time finding some of his specialized stuff. What he calls "liquid white" is actually proprietary and not easy to get a hold of. Also, I've never painted oils before, so I didn't have any palette knives or the right brushes for oils.
That didn't deter us. We punted with a mix of extender and white oil paint, and model kunai knives from an old Naruto cosplay we have around the house. I also don't have a real "video camera" so we took the footage by taping my iPad to a floor lamp stem.
It was fun, though, and as I say at the end of the video, they didn't turn out hideous.
It was fun. I want to do it again next year, knowing what I know now.
Was looking for something on Pintrest, and ran into a couple pieces of wisdom to share.
"You can't always control who walks into your life, but you can control which window you throw them out of."
"Why is it called beauty sleep when you wake up looking like a troll?"
"Be with someone who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara."
Well... that exceeds even my large RDA of quasi-mawkish bumperstickers, so I'll leave it at that. ;)
Things that only happen here...
One feature of being here at Mom's house is that I'm back in the area I grew up in again. I'm being reminded of the way things used to be all around.
Late last night, a moose came around the side of the house outside my window and started eating Mom's raspberry bushes. I heard it out there and looked out the window right at a big, hairy moose-rump. After watching her for a few minutes to see if it looked like she was going to try to tear down the winterizing frame around them (she didn't; she delicately inserted her muzzle into the top of it to keep eating) I went back to bed.
That may sound weird to people who didn't grow up with large undomesticated herbivores with uncertain tempers running around wild. They're nothing new or particularly interesting around here. The old canes needed to be cut-back anyways before I got the straw packed in around them, and believe me, trying to tell a 1000-pound adult female moose what to do is both foolhardy and an exercise in futility. Unless they're going to hurt someone or get hurt, you just let them do their thing and then you do yours. Even the neighbor's dog knew better than to get too upset about it.
I went out into the backyard this morning to call into a phone meeting for my Daily Planet job, and while I was there I went and looked at that corner of things. She did an awesome job. Took the whole row pretty evenly down to the depth of her nose below the top of the frame, which is just about perfect.
This week, the weather's supposed to be gorgeous, and so far it looks good. The weatherman must be taking his anti-crazy pills for once. I'm dreading this harbinger of days of sweltering misery, but my dog really loves it. See? ;) (Actually, she was giving the hairy eyeball to a squirrel on the rim of the trash enclosure halfway down the driveway when I told her to lie down for this; she usually doesn't look like she's going to eat you.)
Do I have a topic for this, other than I should be saying something? Well, not really.
My grandson and his mother are coming to visit at the end of the month here. It's hard to believe he's almost four. Nearly has hard as it is to believe that I have a grandson. That's not something that I associate with my identity when I think of myself, yet.
My Daily Planet job is trundling along. Still embroiled in this project, but now it's actually deploying. It's a slow but sure sort of thing but at least we're moving forward.
In writing news, I got stuck in Logan airport overnight while on the way back from PAX East, and got more done on my parenting book in three hours than I'd managed in the previous three months. I have a structure that will work enough to organize my thoughts through the rest of the first draft/research process. Whether it will actually look like that when I'm done is a whole 'nother thing, but lets get the ideas on a page before we make that call.
Been using Pages on my iPad just to see how it works with a real project. So far, pretty good. I'm not sure it's going to be my writing tool of choice, but it works when I'm out and about and it's fairly simple to get the words out of it and into my usual tool.
Otherwise, the job/real life has been in the way and I haven't managed to get much done around it. I've got three first drafts in the works for GWJ. Just need to get one to a decent point. My guess is the Project Spark on is going to come together first. In that case, the problem isn't just the words in a row - the actual shared proto-game I've been building should be to a point where I'll put a name to it.
I know it's been a long while. There have been a lot of changes, but a lot of things are pretty much the same.
Is too long. Let me sum up.
My elder daughter just got married. My younger son is going to go to school to be an underwater welder. My elder son works in facilities maintenance at the apartment complex, and my younger daughter is still happily married to her high school sweetheart. They all live here in the same complex I do. My mom's cancer came back, and she's finishing up a round of radiation and chemo.
As for me, I still work in the same place, but I've been working on a project that basically took all the time there was since February (note the date of the last post. ;) ) I won't say that it's totally responsible for my shortchanging this place, but it certainly didn't help.
Now I'm trying to get my life going again after the holidays, the wedding, and getting Phase 1 of that project shipped.
As far as writing goes, I opened my yap and have to put my money where my mouth is. I made a comment on several current popular novels and basically was challenged to see if I could write something better in the same genre. So romance and vampires it is. No sparkles, though. It's actually been an interesting challenge. The tropes are easy ones, and in some ways writing it has felt more like taking dictation. We'll see how it goes.
So now we start again. A new look, a new year, and hopefully a better track record for posting.
Good Decisions, Bad Decisions....
My younger son, the king forever of good decision making, brought home a drunken friend last night, with the predictable results.
My favorite part was when she raised her head from the toilet and said, "Wow. I did not expect on this." I didn't say more than aiming instructions, but I had other things crowding behind my teeth.
Why wouldn't she expect this? She did the same thing just about every Friday night for years, starting when she was 15 as far as I know of, and probably well before I knew. At least she's old enough now she's not breaking the law on top of everything else. It's not like she didn't know the consequences of that much Jack, especially on a body that had been dry for over 6-months.
She'd already told me why she wasn't thinking, so I didn't need to ask that. Why did she think that this was the proper response did come out, but her answer was mostly lost in retching and sobbing.
Why do I do it? I get asked that. I don't know. What do you suggest I do? Throw her her out? I've known this kid since she was in the girls' 3rd grade class. She's been wandering in and out of my house since then. I've told her she was making bad choices, and even helped her get into rehab before. I can't do it for her; she has to want to do it and keep it going by herself.
Mostly, I do it because over the years with all of them I've realized something. When you're presented with a situation like this, you have three choices -- to help, do nothing, or make things worse. I could have shouted at her, thrown her out when they presented myself at my front door at that ridiculous hour of the morning. I could have just pretended I didn't hear them "sneaking in" and carefully not heard or seen anything was amiss until she was gone. Or let her sleep on my couch, clean her up, and try to make sure she goes off into a better situation then the one she came here from.
The trick is figuring out what is actually helping, or what is making things worse. There have been times when throwing them out was the helping choice. And while I'm not constitutionally suited to the do nothing choice, I have done it before so I could choose a better time for a word about what they're doing.
She's on her way home, wrapped up in an old work-shirt of my son's that has seen better days and I actually hope she doesn't bring back. She's had a cup of tea that stayed put, washed off the blurred and streaked makeup, and combed her hair. Her AA partner picked her up, and I imagine that's going to be a pointed conversation. Hopefully they can help her realize that failing once doesn't mean you give up, and help her get back on track. Just on general principles, I'm not going back into that bathroom until my younger son has scrubbed it until it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building.
Now that I'm writing this, I realize maybe she meant the part about me helping her clean up the mess she made of my bathroom. I guess that's different. I'm not screaming foul language at her loud enough to melt the walls like her mom used to when they lived upstairs from us. Her mother is a self-righteous hypocrite who has modeled this behavior herself all the girl's life, from the drinking through the night and it's accompanying stupid decisions right on through to the next day's penitent crawl a hundred times. But instead of helping or getting help herself, she would pray and shout and wail her way from binge to binge, and then punish her daughter for doing the same even when she was the one who gave her the alcohol. I haven't seen her in years. I haven't heard anything awful has happened to her, but I don't know how she's doing.
I don't know. If someone has another suggestion as to what to do in this situation I'd be interested in hearing it.
My Birthday Song, 2012 Edition
I've accomplished another lap around the sun, and the children have kept with tradition by writing and singing my annual birthday song. (You can see explanation and a couple previous examples here.)
They have outdone themselves this year. They seem to have gone for the evil overlord part, instead of the sappy, geeky, or gray sides. And as my part of the tradition, I get my revenge by sharing this with you.
Set to the melody from Gaston, out of Disney's Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, without further ado I present, "My Mom."
Gosh it disturbs me to see you, my Mom
Looking so creepy and grim
And I can see you're constructing a bomb
And you're probably aiming at him (point to sibling who annoyed you earlier that day)
There's no one around as malicious as you
You're everyone's nightmares alive
That man who annoyed you is going to die
And it's not very hard to see why
No one's quite like my mom
Deals with shite like my mom
Dismembers a victim at night like my mom
For there's no one that matches her fury
Even short, she's still something to fear
You can ask all the fearful and wary
They'll show you the bodies she's hid around here
No one clones like my mom
Or builds drones like my mom
No one's got a collection of bones like my mom
As her specimens, yes, we're intimidated
ACK! What a quack, that's my mom
She likes the screams
She loves the wails
Have a care what you say
'Cause she's scary that way
No one jeers like my mom
No one leers like my mom
No one severs rebellious ears like my mom
For there's no one as creepy or scary
As you see she's got darkness to spare
Not a bit of her caring or merry (it's true!)
And nothing is nice in her horrible lair
No one kills like my mom
Gets her thrills like my mom
No one gives all her children the chills like my mom
She's especially good at ex-per-i-menting
10 kills for my mom!
When she looks at me with her slitted green eyes
I know I might be on thin ice
My homework is due and I haven't had time
I've been chasing her lab rats and mice
No one shoots like my mom
No one loots like my mom
No one turns nosy kids into newts like my mom
She's used entrails in all her de-fen-es-trating!
Mua ha ha ha
They totally got into it, too. After that, I think I better put a household moratorium on watching Young Frankenstein, NCIS, and maybe Pinky and the Brain for a while.
I've been typing this in with a grin on my face. I really don't mind. Now I'm a year older in the only way I want to measure it. ;)
In case you just sort of ran into this, at Gamerswithjobs forums we have a running contest. August's challenge was to tell a story with nothing at all but dialog. This was a mean one, and all my attempts really suck. But this was the least sucky of the bunch.
Working Title: Celedon
Denise: So, this is it? What do I do now?
Voice: <Just hang on a minute.>
Denise: I did what you asked. I found the stupid pendant, I'm hanging it over the stupid pool. So when do I see my son?! If this doesn't work I'm going to pound you into the ground like a tent-peg when I find you!
Voice: <Sigh. Just hang ON a minute.>
Ezekiel: She survived it. Believe it or not.
Gabriel: So now we have to do the rest of it.
Ezekiel: I still don't understand the Boss in all of this. We've got nothing in the books. And they're supposed to cover everything. I mean, look at this list! Why couldn't she just pick a mythos and stick with it?
Gabriel: You know the drill. You're going to have to find us enough common elements to get her into the same realm as the boy. Come on. It isn't that bad. Remember the one we had to do the mouse for?
Ezekiel: Of course I do! I had to be the fargin' duck. My throat still hurts.
Gabriel: I know. No one else has ever tried to do this before. The model has always been if they were alive they would wait patiently at home. Especially the Moms.
Michael: I hope this isn't a new kind of story. We're going to have to make it up as we go along.
Gabriel: You're the best there is. If anyone can do it, you can.
Ezekiel: Sigh. All right. <grumble grumble> Let me see what I can do.
Michael: No. You can take that plan and fold it until it's all corners and....
Ezekiel: Come on! It's not that bad.
Michael: Look. I like the sword. I don't mind the wings. But I am NOT wearing the dress!
Gabriel: That's not a dress. That's a robe.
Michael: You're not helping him here, you know. I'm not wearing pajamas either.
Voice: <Awake, I see.>
Voice: <I told you this would be painful. You're too old for this. It takes too much to pull you out of the world you came from.>
Denise: It didn't hurt him like this?
Voice: <No. He didn't even feel it.>
Denise: Good. Because if I found out you made him feel like this I'd have to kick your ass again. And I'm running out of feet as it is.
Sic Temper Draconis...
"Have at thee!" he roars. It's so loud the window shivers in it's frame.
The upstairs neighbors stomp back and forth across the living room ceiling yet again. They're starting to get annoyed.
"WTHeck!? Look dude, last I checked that was my line. You're supposed to roar inarticulately and send a column of flame perilously close to my shield but actually hitting the fireplace screen." Fumbling through the script with my gauntletted hands, I show him the page. "Can't you remember last time?"
"But you always get to say that. It's not fair." He stomps back over by the fireplace muttering some sort of imprecation in draconic hisses and clicks. Two turns to wrap his tail around his feet and then he hunkers down, nursing his sharply rapped muzzle. He snarfs a big breath through his nose with a gargly sound, but the exhalation just sends a few sparks out past his nostrils. They drift onto the hearth and peter out.
"I didn't write this thing - go complain to the lawyers if you think it would do any good. Oh, and I heard that, smartalec. These pauldrons do NOT make me look fat." They do dig into my shoulder something fierce from where he dented them, though. I dig at the neck and try to adjust it so it isn't cutting off the circulation to my left arm. Doesn't do much good. Using my toe I nudge a couple of the books and DVD's on the floor into the corner. They must have fallen off the shelf when he rammed me into it during the last pass. I creak a couple times as I straighten my back and pick my lance out from between the couch cushions.
We've done this way too many times, I fear. He's getting bored and God help me he's starting to improvise. I'm getting so tired.
Maybe sweet reason will help. I take a deep breath and say, "Look, you're the one who got the really cool ability upgrades last time, not me, you selfish jerk. Those hydra heads must have cost them a fortune." Ouch. Probably could have phrased that better.
I get a dirty look and a snooty toss of his purpling and swelling nose. "Yeah! Well, look how much good it did me. That torch-thingy HURT!"
A grimace is my first answer - I still flinch a bit at that one. I feel bad about it. Not only did it stink to high Heaven, but even the memory of the sizzling makes me queasy. "Do you want some ice for that eye? You're not going to be able to see out of it here pretty quick."
He's not done grumbling, though. "You figured it out too fast. Next time I'm going to get all those books so you won't be able to read up."
Don't threaten the books, man. Bad idea. "Fat chance, Sparky," I snap. "I had that one memorized."
He sits bolt upright, splaying his wings and turning his good eye towards me slowly. "Sparky? Did you just call me SPARKY!?" He steps over the spikes at the end of his tail, raises a forefoot's worth of sharp talons and spits, "Have at thee!" through his fangs.
"Oh for crying out loud," I think. I shake my head and couch my lance. Who am I kidding? They'll always find something to go on, and then here we go again.
I need to do laundry. Not just a little. I mean the dresser is empty sort of need. I need to do laundry like Blue Elf needs food. That means my traditional uniform of geeky t-shirt and jeans is being replaced today with something from the grown-up section of my closet. And since it's 80+ outside, it's a certain
embroidered white cotton blouse. I only wear it a couple days a year, because that's all it takes to remind me why I don't wear it more often.
This thing doesn't just "get" wrinkles. It manufactures them to it's own fiendish specifications. No, that's not the best way to explain it. Manufacturing implies some sort of system or limits. This level of crease
requires some sort of dark pact. I can just see it.
The moment I close the closet after hanging it up all straight and starched it begins the rite. By some sort of cottony osmosis it slouches to the floor, genuflects and then kneels in front of a secret shrine way back behind the shoe-rack and the outmoded monitor. In the deep dark of the night when the omens are most auspicious it begins to chant and offer up cedar and mothball scented offerings to its wrinkly masters. The dim light of morning peeks in the crack under the closet door. With its need sated by the Creased Ones, it is exalted and lifted back onto the hanger to revel in its return to it's natural corrugated glory and await my bleary-eyed summons.
With all the embroidery and my usual 5am stupor as I fumble it out of the closet and get dressed it's more than possible I'll get all the way to the harsh purple light of the cheap fluorescents in the elevator of my office building before I realize the state that it's in. By that time there's nothing for it but to keep going. I can try to steam it a bit when the walking group in my office hits the showers in the locker room after their daily stride-and-gossip sometime around mid-morning, but for now I have a meeting with the coffee machine and an errant mail server. I'm stuck in my furrowed shirt for the duration.
Then the trial-by-coffee begins.
There's that old truism about how if you wear white you'll always spill your coffee on yourself. Happens to everyone. What most people do not know is that this is not a passive problem. The shirt isn't just lying there across your chest waiting for the coffee to strike the first blow. They bow and square off at the center of the mat when you start to pour, and then every sip is a silent struggle along every tight corner, jostling step and distracted sip. Cup after cup, the battle will rage until one is consumed or one is stained.
Like any good soldier, it has its squad mates. It won't trust just any old garment. It needs a grizzled old veteran of many-a-skirmish and today it's got the best. The white camisole that goes with just about every outfit has it's back, as it has for many a sharp young prospect that has fallen before. Its ability to take even a full cup black coffee strike and then survive the Bleaching brings it back from ignominious defeat time and time again. Behind the scenes keeping everything together is the serviceable but perky white foundation
known as "Wires".
The usual coffee and tea tag team called in it's own big guns. The whole seed German mustard from my lunch sandwich made a solid effort but missed its strike and hit the pants leg. There is little damage to the highly defended denim and what is there gets cleaned up with no trouble. An afternoon yogurt tried a drop
off the left side of the spoon but was caught in the other hand.
The day done and the battles won, the shirt basks in the sunlight on the way across the parking lot. In the dishwasher sits the vanquished coffee cup, shaking its handle at an uncaring sky and vowing to return to fight the next day.
Once home, the weary combatants head off to the Dryvel bag to down a few, share old stories and maybe manhandle their way through a dryer-dance or two with that lacy demi-cup that everyone thinks is so hot while I shrug myself into that disgraceful old yellow sweatshirt I won't wear out of the house even just
to get the mail and toss in a load of laundry.