Friday, March 19, 2021

TED: Inside the mind of a procrastinator

I can totally relate. The scary reminder/solution comes all too quickly in the last few seconds of this important talk.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

TED: 3 secrets of resilient people

"I think we all have moments in life where our life path splits and the journey we thought we were going down veers off to some terrible direction that we never anticipated, and we certainly didn't want."

"Terrible things happen to you, just like they do everybody else. That's your life now, time to sink or swim." 

 Some great thoughts about how to be prepared in advance before something bad happens you can maintain control as you navigate through it.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Book Review: Space Team

I used to write book reviews all the time on here, back when I had a lot of free time (I guess?).  Used to be for each book I read, I'd provide some commentary.   (Amazon links below, if you click on them and buy stuff, you're helping to buy me coffee. Thanks in advance!)

But, I'd like to be a little more regular about this, last one might have been April 2018? Yikes.

I don't know how long ago, I read a book called "The Sidekicks: A Funny Superhero Adventure" - the superheroes of the world have all been killed and now the world is being overrun by supervillains. The government only has one option - years earlier, the superheroes had young sidekicks. The program had been discontinued and the kids had grown up, but now the government needs to call them back to service. It is as described: laugh out loud funny. I kept waiting for the next one, but it hasn't come out yet. (In a similar vein, Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection and Andrea Vernon and the Superhero Industrial Complex - also highly recommended)

Anyhow, looking for another Sidekicks book (it is supposedly coming but not out yet), I found that the author had another series, 12 books starting with "Space Team: A Funny Sci-Fi Space Adventure" (I'm sensing a theme with the titles) and I figured I'd give it a try - I'm always looking for long series I can retreat into for months at a time. This delivers. I am regularly laughing at this book and these characters, and I feel like the author and I consumed a lot of the same pop culture growing up.  (The book has a few side books and even a few free online mini-stories, so there's a lot of content here.)  Books are usually 0.99-3.99 each and so darned funny. Highly recommended.

What's it about? This dude goes to jail for petty crime, gets put in jail with a hardened criminal, there's a case of mistaken identity, the dude finds himself in space with a few other species and sent on a mission by a governmental organization. The species are all much more advanced than our earth dude and they can communicate with one another through a chip implanted in their head. The chip also has a censor circuit which means when the characters curse, they end up saying things like "fonking" and "son of a bedge" which also adds to the humor and lets them be a little coarser without actually being coarse. The books follow their exploits through space... and time... and multiple dimensions... these are like popcorn books, great for reading before bed, or on a plane and would make for some really funny movies.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Nature-Themed Child's Birthday Party

A few years ago, my wife did a "nature themed" birthday party for one of our kids. I thought it was really cool, so I've been meaning to write about it forever. (Like I've postponed the task in my to-do list over 500 times forever.) I think it was difficult to appreciate just how much my wife put into these, so let me brag a little.  Click through on any picture for more pictures. Maybe one of these years I'll share some of the Harry Potter themed party. That included a 2-story wall of decrees. 

Gift Bags: Pretzels, Marshmallows, Raisins, Chocolate Chips, Goldfish Grahams, Peanuts

Gift Bags: Custom-made Bookmarks

Gift Bags

Saltine Toffee, fashioned to look like bark

A giant tree, made from tissue paper and Amazon packing paper

Table decorated with roughed up butcher paper and ferns from the yard

Hedgehog Cheese Ball (these kids were eating well!)

Paint-a-Birdfeeder as a craft activity

Acorns (donut-holes), Bark (saltine toffee) and some kind of marshmallow cookie

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Three Days

 I feel like I need three days. Three days to get caught up on stuff at home and three days to get caught up on stuff at work.  I don't know if I could relax after the three days, or if I would just feel "caught up" and ready to tackle stuff. I think I'm coping alright as we come up on a full year of quarantine, but I feel like I'm behind.

Recently, we arranged my son's room and the living room, in both cases, yielding layouts that feel more open.  I'm energized by this. Growing up, I constantly moved the furniture around in my room. Drove my parents nuts, but I liked the variety. Now all grown up, it's harder to just move everything around on a whim. Did it once to the living room in our college dorm without telling my roommates. They were not amused. Now in our little house, there's only so many ways you can arrange furniture so stuff rarely moves. Last thing you want to do is stumble around in the dark and kick furniture that wasn't where it was last night.

I'm breaking records with chores completed this week. Maybe I only need three days at work.  What I really need to do is block another evening this week to go sit on the back porch and drink coffee in the evening after dinner. Weather has been amazing. 

Lori and I are fully vaccinated, her mother-in-law is half-vaxed and we're working with the school district because they really want our son back at school on early-return. But it's complicated because he can't wear a mask. But I guess that's something they'll work on with him. Hopefully they'll have more luck than we did.

I really don't know what I'm doing here with this post, except that I'm way overdue to write something. I guess with this blog you don't get quantity OR quality. Good times.

Monday, February 15, 2021

120: Stuck

 The pocketwatch seemed to be stuck. I was holding it in my hand, but as soon as I pressed the button on the side, it became stuck. I couldn't move it. I slowly opened my hand and lowered it. The pocketwatch hung in midair where I'd left it. This shouldn't be possible. I stared at it. It was no longer ticking. In fact, it was quiet. Everything was quiet. I couldn't hear the traffic outside or my family downstairs shouting back and forth to one another. I listened, but there was nothing. I reached out to the watch again, prodding it. I wrapped my fingers around it and pulled. Very slowly, with much effort, I was able to bring it towards me. But as soon as I stopped, it was stuck again. I pressed the button on the side a second time and the watch dropped into my hand and I was knocked over by the sudden overwhelming sensation of sound - the cars, the kids, the ice cream truck, a plane overhead, my dad downstairs yelling to my mom. 

It couldn't be, right? I had read a book about a magic pocketwatch when I was a kid, but now here in my my grandfather's house, going through his old things, I had to be imagining things. Pocketwatches that could stop time were a thing of fantasy, right?

I dropped the pocketwatch into my pocket, climbed down the ladder from the attic and headed downstairs to where my mom was inventorying furniture and my dad was looking through my grandfather's file cabinet.  I ran past both, threw open the front door, reached into my pocket, pressed the button. 


Well, this was going to be fun.

"120" is the umbrella under which I place my creative writing (it's been a long time! Again!) - it refers to one of the practices: writing for 120 seconds on a single topic with no chance to go back and edit - there may be mistakes, typos, embarrassing spelling errors.  Such is the nature.  I might continue writing after the timer ends, but it's about sitting down and writing something. (This one didn't go according to plan, I kept getting interrupted. Oh well, at least I wrote something.) Click here to read more 120s.