OK, well it’s been 41 days since I said I was going to do some more posting and I have posted precisely once. Not that anyone is waiting around for me to start doing some daily writing again, but this is a wonderful example of what happens when you set VAPID goals. I don’t really have a good excuse that doesn’t sound like an excuse (but it boils down to: lack of time & mental energy). Point is, I was serious that I wanted to get back in the habit of writing, but the execution has has been lacking. I do have a bunch of stuff half-written. And maybe once a day was ambitious even if I have no scope.

Well anyway I’m not as young as I once was and it may take this train a while to get up to speed. But on the agenda:

  • Lots of stuff about being 40, an age which I have somehow arrived at. Nothing like having a midlife crises or lamenting my lost youth or whatever, mostly like in the vein of: how is this possible? I thought I was like, 25.
  • Various thoughts before and after the August 21 eclipse. I’ve been excited for it for years, and will be traveling to see it.

And, yup,

  • Reviews of Deep Space Nine episodes. Just started watching. Because I have still not gotten around to confirming if there are already capsule reviews of Star Trek episodes online.

New posts imminent. If I say I’m going to do it then I have to.

Goal: one post per day, whether it’s a three page screed or just a link to something.

Also: This counts for today.

And yet also: I swapped in a new theme. The previous one was so old it didn’t work on mobile. I like the new one except for the title font so I’ll change that when I get around to it. Just making it clear I do not stand behind this font.

We had casino night at work. I have no idea how to play casino games. Well, it’s more subtle than that. There are games in which I know the basic rules, like blackjack, in that I know you are supposed to get 21, or at least give it your best shot whilst getting more than the dealer. As far as strategy goes though, my mind is a void. This is pretty much the worst case of knowledge. I run the risk of thinking I know what I’m doing. Such circumstances make it a lot easier to stumble into trouble. There was one hand where I felt like my logical play was to hit, so I did, but given the deeper situation on the board, the custom was to stand (as I found out AFTER I hit). I won but screwed over like three other people because of the cascading affect of my taking a card I shouldn’t have. If I’d been in Las Vegas at the time I’d have woken up in a dumpster with no wallet, hair, or memory of the intervening hours.

Nevertheless I was playing blackjack and since it wasn’t real money the dealer was able to give us strategy tips. I got into a situation where I wasn’t sure what to do so he says, “According to Hoyle, you should take a card here.” So I took a card and naturally busted.

Today I am out to get this “Hoyle.”

I saw a sign advertising a sale with the dollar sign as the S, so it wasn’t just a SALE, it was a $ALE. Involving dollars, and the saving of them, is the implication. This reminded me of a bizarre dream I had years ago. I entirely promise this will not be a boring dream story.

I was in some sort of lecture where the presenter insisted that the proper way to make a dollar sign was with two vertical lines through it rather than one. I don’t think the dream was long at all. That was the extent of it, I think. But what stuck with me was how powerfully the suggestion was made. The lecturer didn’t just prefer the double vertical line, he found the idea that anyone would use only one line to be genuinely repugnant. Not just that it was stylistically out of favor, but like it was a substantive breach of etiquette in civilized society. Propagating single-lined dollar signs was the worst sort of classless behavior. It was surely a sign of low breeding.

When I woke up I was all kinds of confused. I knew it was a dream, but did it come about because I read somewhere that two vertical lines were appropriate? Am I overlooking some important style rule whenever I omit the second line? Do others see my simple, single-lined dollar signs and inwardly scoff? (“Well! Guess who we won’t be inviting to the party now. Can you imagine this…person, and his offensive dollar signs?”) I can hardly quantify the utter, wretched disdain I got from this imaginary double-line advocate regarding single-line dollar signs. Imagine how you would feel if your neighbors, rather than collecting their trash and taking the bin to the curb, elected to just dump it onto your lawn. It’s the sort of derision I feel towards people who toss their cigarette butts out car windows.

With time and maturity, I think I resolved this issue internally and have come to believe that my dollar signs are not inferior. But it’s always been in the back of my mind. There will always be a tiny voice that is a bit scared when I write out a dollar sign. I just have to remember that ASCII is on my side:


Dearth of updates lately. Sorry, 7 readers and occasional strangers who accidentally find this site when Googling 1980s Denver Broncos. Been busy in general with various things that are either not blogworthy or are SECRETS.

*I will be able to reveal one secret project shortly, after an entry deadline passes in April, and I am assured of no internet thieves plundering it. Rest assured it is really, really nerdy.

*We have been busy planning various house projects. We’re doing a bathroom remodel soon, which has required a lot more thinking about sinks, tile, and faucets than I am normally accustomed. Our house has a pretty terrible bathroom filled with aquamarine nightmare deco and ancient fixtures (IT WAS LIKE THAT WHEN WE FOUND IT I SWEAR) and this update will generally improve our lives. We will also be getting some new fencing in the backyard, in preparation for…

*…a dog! Not sure when exactly we’ll get one, but it’s in the works. A fence is required first, and we have some traveling through the summer that we should get on the other side of, as well. We are having long heart-to-heart talks with the cats about FutureDog, and how it won’t ruin their lives and please don’t do things cats are known to do when something displeases them, like start peeing all over the house in protest.

*Baseball season starting! Checking…yes, I am still employed, which has many benefits, but one of them is definitely not the freedom to watch games all the time. But I am still excited. I have been extremely fond of this Seattle Mariners commercial. Oh also, man was this examination of Diamond Kings glorious. I’ll have to chat about these myself when I get some time for some non-baseball-context, because these deserve a much wider audience. Their fantastic-ness is by no means limited to dudes who were 12 in 1989 and liked baseball cards.

*Rainy weather and some busy-ness have conspired to prevent me from getting the telescope out for a while. March was a sort of quiet sky night anyway. Saturn will be coming up in April, so I’ll get back out there soon.

*Star Trek watch continues (uh, see most recent posts) but is slowing a bit right now as I am slogging through the third season. OH THAT was the reason this series got canceled. It’s really not that good, let’s face it. But I’m about halfway through it and will circle back around to season 1 and might pick up some steam.

*How is it even news that there will be an election in 2012? Why isn’t everyone just collectively saying, “Good lord, we let those Tea Partiers in and they went right after teachers and workers’ rights. What an outrage! Gosh we were stupid for trusting them. Lesson learned! We are now going to vote for progressive candidates before this country really goes to hell.” How is this not possible? The fact that it will not be an absolute landslide against those folks means that we are utterly doomed. Is there a country that has itself together as well as the Scandinavian nations, but where they eat less fish and it is warm? (I don’t care about the temperature so much, but K does. I am the one that cares about the fish thing.)

The Awl linked to this list of things that are 20 years old and things that are 40 years old. I was actually thinking about Nevermind the other day and realized that it was indeed 20 years old. Sheesh.

What got me here though was that it points out that the way I think of things from the early 70s, i.e., things that pre-date me by 5-10 years, is the way that high schoolers today think about Nevermind and things of that time. Some salient examples for me are Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Dirty Harry. I like them. They don’t seem “old” per se, but they do have a certain 70s quality that makes them feel definitively older than me. By the time I was paying attention, movies didn’t really look like that anymore. Nevermind, by counterexample, is something that blew up when I was in 9th grade. I was fully and totally aware of it happening. So it will always seem modern to me.

But today’s 16-year-old thinks of Nevermind the way I think of Willy Wonka. Great, sure (at least they better think that, lousy kids), but old. Pop culture references to it seem as important to them as Animal House references do to me, which is to say, dated and irrelevant. Ouch. And it will only get worse, of course. It’s not that I’m feeling down about being old, although I’m getting more and more aware of time passing. I distinctly remember when my Mom went to her 20 year high school reunion. My sister and I were I guess like 11 and 13, respectively. Seemed like something that adults went to, and I would never get there, or it would just seem so different. Well, my 20-year reunion will be in four years. (Not that I’m going, but still.) (And that’s another thing. When I was in high school, I absolutely would have thought I was going to go to future reunions.)

Man, yesterday’s post was boring. How can I talk for that long about this telescope and have it be that boring? (He asks, knowing full well what the answer is.)

So here’s something. I was thinking about a ’50s sci-fi/monster movie centered around the concept of the “bejeesus.” The setup is that the main character, as a child, literally gets the bejeesus scared out of him, so he has to spend the rest of his life without it. Only legend has it that once it’s gone, if you’re scared that badly again, you die. So the bejeesus is like an extra guy, and you can get damaged that one time, but then that’s it. Of course this poor dude keeps getting into tense situations.

And now, there’s a murderer on the loose…

ONE: online commenters.

Often when I read a story online, particularly on a site with a known rabble of unbelievably horrible commenters, like, let’s say Yahoo, I sort of accidentally drift into the comments area without really thinking about it.  I certainly don’t think: “Hmm, that was an interesting story.  I wonder what a gigantic anonymous horde of semi-sentient trolls have to say about that?”  I just kind of keep reading, as if the story was continuing, and I’m in a bit of a passive reading trance.  Of course, things go from professional writing to barely-literate cave scrawl, usually in all caps and laced with profanity, so it’s not like I don’t notice.  But it takes a few comments to snap out of my reading trance, as the overwhelming depressing horror of them all pounds me back into active thinking.  By then it’s too late, of course, as I’ve just read something so profoundly stupid I barely want to live anymore.  I liken this to coming to the realization that the room you’re in has been slowly filling with poison gas.  By the time you realize what’s happened, the damage has been done.

TWO: food processors.

Cooking without having a food processor is like going into battle without a weapon. You won’t necessarily die but it sure won’t be easy to win. Even the most basic $20 Black and Decker thing you can get at Target is at least like having a slingshot.  In this analogy my new KitchenAid 700 watt 12-cup food-chopping monster is like having a helicopter, equipped with a rocket launcher, that is invisible to other humans.

This post means I completed NaBloPoMo: December edition!  Was it worth it?  I really don’t know! But it was fun.  I’m going out of town for a few days so will be breaking my blogging streak immediately.  However, I would like to continue posting regularly (though daily is a stretch, particularly in January, which is busy).  We’ll see how this pans out.

For the last post of the month/year, I thought I would recap 2010.  It was something of an eventful year.  The highlights:

  • Got married.  Holy whoa.  K is awesome and I’m a lucky dude.
    • 2011 follow-up: finish eating cake.  Make sure K continues to like me.
  • Bought a house. It was expensive!  But at least I’ll only have to toil for thirty more years to have it paid off in 2040.  Assuming civilization hasn’t ended.  Although in that case I probably can just have the house and not have to make payments anymore.  Of course, in that case I will have to defend it with a shotgun from hordes of bandits and/or zombies, and it may no longer have power or workable plumbing.
    • 2011 follow-up: do best to remain employed in case of necessity of continued payment-making. Consider obtaining shotgun.
  • New cat: Bea.  That means two cats, and will probably complete the set.
    • 2011 follow-up: possible dog.  Continue to feed and care for cats in order to butter them up for possible dog.
  • Did not fly one time!  I wish that was true every year.
    • 2011 follow-up: ugh, at least two trips requiring flying.  Maybe more.
  • Finally figured out the nuances of my waffle iron and became good at making waffles
    • 2011: make waffles, eat waffles.

Have a good 2011, internet! Come over for some waffles sometime.