Thursday, October 24, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

What's the date? Oh, that's right, October 24. So, is it weird that it snowed today? Maybe a little. It's not wholly unheard of for it to snow in October here where I live, but it's certainly not overly common. It also snowed a bit on Tuesday. Now, it didn't amount to much at all. It did not accumulate either time. The sky was just sort of spitting snowflakes.

Here's the thing. I like snow. I really do. As I've said before, alongside autumn, winter is one of my favorite seasons. And the snowfall that comes with it is beautiful, beautiful in that enchanting sort of way. (Yes, it's cold, but it's still beautiful.) But, I usually prefer to at least make it past Halloween before I see the first snowflakes. One reason for this is that the threat of frigid temperatures and snowfall can really diminish the number of trick-or-treaters on Halloween. And I really like handing out candy (and eating it, of course). So I hope the snow holds off for Halloween. Thereafter, I'd be happy to see the ground blanketed with snow.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

So, Monday, we meet again.

Yes, that's right. Tomorrow is Monday. Alas.

I made sure to end this weekend on a good note, though. How? I stirred up some brownies, used a new recipe that involved lots of chocolate and orange extract. Tasted delicious, if I do say so myself.

So now, with my stomach full of sugary goodness, I'll do my last rounds of internet surfing and some reading before turning in for the night. Then I'll be prepared (or at least as much as possible) to meet up with Monday again. I guess it also helps to know that I have leftover brownies for my Monday evening snack. After all, brownies fix everything. Even a Monday. Right?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Word of the Day

saffron: a spice obtained from a particular plant in the iris family

Honestly, my favorite use of this word is its use as a character name in the late TV show Firefly.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Riddled with Holes, Episode 2

Here is the second installment of Riddled with Holes. I guess I'll make the following my storytelling disclaimer: I cannot, and certainly will not, promise a masterpiece. This is a story I am writing purely for fun, as practice in, and in some sense attempted parody of, my favorite genre of fantasy. I write it with the hope that it will serve to liven up this blog a bit, to offer some entertaining variation in posts. So enjoy, if you can, if you want to.

Riddled with Holes, Episode 2

There I stood, frozen, and not merely because the icy air was seeping into my bones. A shiver ran through me as the crimson eyes in the bush shifted position. Was that thing moving closer? I couldn’t tell.

A belated idea hit me. I stepped back and reached my arm through the doorway into the kitchen, my hand fumbling along the wall until I found the panel of light switches. I flicked random switches up and down until I found the one for the outdoor light. The light fell over Puff and me, but its radiance failed to reach even as far as the edge of the patio, let alone the bushes where the red-eyed creature hid.

A low growl rumbled in Puff’s chest. I placed my hand on his head. Feeling suddenly bold, I called out, “Hey! Who’s out there?”

There was a rustling in the bushes, another shifting of those red eyes. But there was no verbal reply. Not that I had actually expected one.

I allowed my attention to be drawn away from the bushes when I glimpsed movement to my left. There, another shape moved within the shadows. Something was approaching the patio. I tensed, as did Puff, and a woman came out of the darkness and into the light. I blinked, once, twice, three times. She had long dark hair, a milky complexion, and wore a silken blouse of royal blue. Despite the chilling situation at hand, my mind still possessed enough clarity to realize that she was the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen. She stepped directly beneath one of the lights on the patio, and I saw that she had the bluest of blue eyes, and in the patio light they gleaned. And so did the knife in her hand.

 “Whoa,” I said, taking a step back, holding my hands out in front of me in a defensive gesture. “Who are you? What’s up with the knife?”

”It’s not meant for you,” she told me, her voice low and smooth. Then she waved her knife-wielding hand toward the bushes, where I was pretty sure the red-eyed whatever-it-was had drawn closer. “It’s for that.” Then she turned back to me, looking me up and down, and asked, “Don’t you have a knife? A sword? Anything?”

I cocked my eyebrows at that notion. I couldn’t help but say, “Not on me. I must have left them in my other boxers.”

She looked at me strangely, with an expression that I read to mean, I think you’re joking but I’m not entirely sure. “Aren’t you Cody Jones? You meet the description.” She examined me once again with those blue eyes, top to bottom.

“Cody Jones. Yeah,” I replied slowly, “that’s me.”

“And you have no weaponry? At all?”

“No. But in my defense, it’s not like I came out here expecting to need any. All I wanted was to let my dog inside. And then to go back to bed. To sleep. Where it’s warm.”

Puff suddenly shifted and bark-woof-growled. Turning, I barely even registered the rustling sound of the bushes before I saw that thing bolting toward us. In the split second it took for it to cross from the back of the yard to the patio, I noted that not only did it have red eyes, but also fangs. Really long and really sharp fangs. It was pale and gangly, and I noted how it looked human, or at least humanoid, but not really.

The woman with the knife shoved me aside and offered the non-human humanoid an uppercut to the chin. It growled as it was knocked to the side. But then it righted itself, all too quickly, and it came back with a vengeance. With her knife, the woman slashed at it, and I could see blood glisten on its gangly arm, but it still managed to elbow the pretty lady aside.

And then it ran at me. I did the first thing I could think of, and kicked my foot up between its legs. The monstrosity—which now had a long strand of drool dripping from one fang—stopped, but it looked more confused than pained. Yet the momentary pause lasted just long enough for the mysterious woman with the knife—the exceptionally large knife, I just realized—to dart back into the scene. With one hand she grabbed the snarling creature by its long greasy hair, and with the knife in her other hand she made a single slicing motion. The monster’s body slumped to the ground, hitting the pavement with a thump. The beastie’s head remained in the woman’s hand. Looking at it, she grimaced and even snarled, and then she tossed it aside. I watched her do this, then watched the head fall to the ground, next to the decapitated body, all with a strange detachment that both surprised and disturbed me. I guess I should blame that on too many videogames? Or too many horror movies, maybe?

“That,” the woman said, snapping me back to reality, whatever reality was anymore, “is why you must always remain armed. Do you understand that now?”

I opened my mouth, but not to answer her question. Instead, I asked one of my own: “What is that thing?” I pointed a hand down at the slain creature.

She looked at me, eyebrows raised, as if that was the absolute stupidest question. Finally, she uttered, “A werevamp,” as if that was the most obvious answer in the world.

“A were-what?”

“Werevamp. You know, a werewolf-vampire cross. A hybrid.”

“No. No, I don’t know. How would I know that? Werevamp? Those exist?”

“Well, obviously.” She looked away and pinched the bridge of her nose, hid her stunning blue eyes behind tightly shut eyelids, as if collecting her thoughts. She eventually mumbled, “Good grief. I can’t believe you’re it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

She gave me a hard stare. “No offense—well, I guess no offense—but so far you’re proving immensely underwhelming.”

“Gee, thanks.”

“You sure you’re Cody Jones?”

“Pretty sure.” I scratched at my scalp, even though it didn’t itch. “What’s this all about, anyway? What did you mean, I’m it. And what am I so underwhelming for?”

“They said you would be some great warrior. But...” she trailed off, looking me up and down.

They said? Who’s they?”

“The oracles. The scrolls.”

“What?” I spluttered. “Who are you? Maybe that’s the better question. You know, I usually trust the pretty ladies, and you really are plenty easy on the eyes, and, for what it’s worth, you are in really good shape.” I realized my eyes were wandering, as was my mind. I forced myself to snap out of it. After all, there were more pressing matters at hand than her looks, no matter how distracting I found them. Again, I asked, “Who are you?”

“The name’s Avadoralinea. Ava, for short.” She almost smiled, but it was strained.

“Ava,” I repeated. I felt bad how uncomfortable she looked, trying to give me a smile that was only obligatory at best. ”That’s a pretty name.”

 “Um, thanks.”

Suddenly, a strange howl-squeal rang out in the distance. Ava looked over her shoulder, up at the moon, then at me. “That one,” she said, pointing at the cadaver at our feet, “was just the first. More will come. We need to get out of here.”

“What? What’s going on?”

“They’re after you. They know we’ve found you. They want to kill you, before you can fulfill your destiny.”

That sounded all-around terrifying. But I could find no words to express that sentiment of mine. Had she really just said that someone—they, whoever that was in this case—wanted to kill me? And what was that about my destiny?

After yet another howl-squeal filled the night, Ava said, “We definitely need to leave. Now. Does your house have a closet?”

“Uh, yeah. Tons of them. Why?”

“Tons of them?” Ava gaped at me, eyes as wide as saucers.

“Well, not really tons, but a lot of them. I don’t know, maybe seven of them.”

“Well, hopefully one of them will work.”

“Work? How does a closet work, exactly?”

She looked at me, her brow furrowed, pretty face set firm around the edges. “We don’t have time for this right now,” she finally declared. She spoke none too soon, because there was suddenly another screeching howl, much closer this time. “Inside. Now. Take me to the nearest closet.”

“Not until you tell me why.”

“Why? Because that’s how we keep you alive, Cody Jones. At least for now.”

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Word of the Day

falafel: a deep-fried patty made with chickpeas, fava beans, or both

I have been hearing this word a lot lately, for some reason. Most recently, I came upon it in the book I am currently reading, American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Riddled with Holes, Episode 1

Here is the first installment of Riddled with Holes. I cannot (and certainly will not) promise a masterpiece. This is a story I am writing for fun, as practice in, and in some sense attempted parody of, my favorite genre of fantasy. I hope it will serve to liven up this blog a bit, to offer some entertaining variation in posts. So, enjoy (if you can, if you want to).


Riddled with Holes, Episode 1

I awoke with a start, a gasp actually escaping my lips as I shot up in bed. I had been dreaming. But, it’s not like I knew what about. I never remember my dreams. Ever. Once I had even tried keeping one of those dream journals—not that I told anyone, though, because that would have given my buddies a lifetime supply of ammunition for mockery. But it didn’t matter anyway. Keeping that journal had been pointless, because, like I said, I never remember my dreams.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed, and a wave of panic ran through me. Crap, I thought, my mind still fringed at the edges with sleep. Did I leave Puff outside? The floor was cold beneath my feet. I wore nothing but my boxers to bed, year-round, simply out of habit. It felt like an icebox in my room. I tossed on a maybe-clean pair of sweatpants and a definitely-not-clean shirt. Then I slipped on some sneakers, shunning the concept of socks, and headed into the hallway.

Tripping over someone’s discarded backpack, I fell against one of my roommate’s closed doors, and of course was profanely scolded from within. I continued to stumble down the hall until I made it to the top of the stairs. The television was on downstairs, sending lightning-like flashes across the dark walls. When I had reached the bottom of the steps I could see the back of someone’s head—most assuredly Landen’s, given the wildness of the hair—and with a glance at the television I could see that he was well into one of his late-night videogame marathons.

I crossed through the kitchen and fumbled my way through the dark to the backdoor. I placed my hand on the deadbolt, but I didn’t need to unlock it, since apparently no one had bothered to lock it in the first place. When I opened the door a cold breeze hit me, biting at my cheeks like a thousand tiny teeth.

“Puff,” I whispered into the night.

I received no response. Maybe he was giving me the silent treatment. After all, I had forgotten to let him back inside before turning in for the night.

This time I whispered louder. “Come on, Puff. Sorry I left you out here, boy. My bad. But come in now, bud. I’m seriously about to freeze to death.” It really was freezing. I expected it to be chilly, or cold, but not freezing. After all, it was barely October. My breath came out in a plume of steam, and the arctic air threatened to freeze it into icicles before it could dissipate.

There was a huffing, grumbling noise off to my right. Followed by a sudden movement that I could only barely discern in the inky blackness of the night. Then something slammed into me, hard, knocking me into the doorframe. It was Puff. All two hundred pounds of him. He was as black as the night, so all I could see of him was the moist glisten of his eyes, roughly a foot in front of me. He let out a quiet woof, and then I sensed him turning back around to face the yard.

Puff was not a barker. He was as quiet and gentle of a giant as you could find. So when he woofed again, louder this time, I knew something was off.

“What’s the matter, boy?”


“What is it?”


Something was definitely wrong. I stepped out onto the patio. Puff was next to me, and I could feel him inch closer until he was touching my side. Peering through the darkness, I could finally tell that Puff was staring out towards the bushes against the back fence. Turning my eyes to that portion of the yard, I tried to see what he could see. I looked for an opossum, raccoon, even a cat. Puff didn’t usually care about those kinds of things, had never even chased a squirrel in his life, but something had him riled, so I had to start somewhere.

Once my eyes had fully adjusted to the dark, I didn’t see an opossum, or a raccoon, or a cat. What I saw was a shadowy shape suddenly dart between two of the bushes. It had been big, at least the size of a man. And it was fast. Like greased lightning fast.

Then, from within the depths of the bush that the...thing...had run toward, I saw red. Two red dots. Glinting, like two little pools of blood just floating there. They were eyes, I presumed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Storytelling Fun

As a child, I constantly wrote stories. All kinds of stories. Stories about puppies and kittens, aliens, time travel, magicians, knights and castles, even one about a lonely teddy bear. And I even illustrated them. Now, when I come across those childhood stories in my old notebooks, I cringe. They were horrible. But I must have thought they were pretty good at the time, because I kept on writing them. And I still do. I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading.

Where I am going with this? Well, this is what I was referring to in my previous post. In that previous post I indicated that I would soon begin something new on this blog. That "something new" will be some fun ole storytelling. I won't (or perhaps I should say can't) promise much from it. I simply enjoy writing, so I figured I'd formulate some semblance of a story to liven up this blog.

A few details about the story that is thus far rattling around in my head:

1. The genre will be fantasy.

2. As a fan of fantasy, I have accumulated an extensive list of cliches within the genre. With this story, I must admit (or perhaps warn is the better term) that I intend on making a play on a number of those cliches. Why? Because that will be part of the fun of it. After all, why not attempt a parody-esque play on my favorite genre?

3. I will post installments of the story as often as I can (but of course this frequency will depend on things in life such as work, family, etc.). Some installments may be short, some may be long.

4. The story will be titled Riddled with Holes, for various reasons (the reader is free to decipher those various reasons as he or she wishes).

5. I have a basic idea in my head, but past that the story will be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of thing. There will not be much forethought or planning going on within my head. That being said, things could unfold within the story in any given way or direction, likely depending on my mood at the time each installment is written. Also, I have no idea how long the story will be. I guess it'll reach its conclusion whenever the time seems right.

6. As I stated before, the reason I am writing this story is, simply put, for the sheer fun of it. As previously noted, I enjoy writing (and will take any chance I can to practice the hobby). Furthermore, I think this blog needs something different. So, I'll give this a shot.

That all being said, the first installment of Riddled with Holes will be posted soon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Word of the Day

hackneyed: stale; overdone or overused

I plan to soon start something new on this blog that I hope will keep the posts from becoming too hackneyed. More details to come soon.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Bursting Bookshelves

It's happened. I've run out of space on my bookshelves for my ever-growing collection of books. And I've run out of floor and wall space for more bookshelves. My walls are already lined shoulder-to-shoulder with bookshelves, upon which I've already jam-packed countless books. My poor bookshelves are starting to burst beyond their seams, as I've had to start stacking the overflow books on top of other books, and in front of other books, and behind other books...

I'm like the crazy cat lady, only with books instead of cats. Wait, scratch that, because I actually already have multiple cats, and plan on getting more in the future. So, shoot, I guess that means I'm the crazy cat lady and the crazy book lady. Oh well.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Word of the Day

whirligig: something that whirls or spins in a circular motion, such as a merry-go-round or top

I've always thought this was just an all-around fun word, and it felt like a fun word kind of day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wanted Dead or Alive: Sock Gremlin

Alas. The Sock Gremlin strikes again.

Lately I've been having trouble finding matching socks. Yes, I know, in the grand scheme of things this is such a trivial issue about which to complain. But, as of late this has been a real problem for me. The other morning I could not find a pair of matching socks to save my life. There I was, rifling through a basket full of clean laundry, and I came up with fifteen lonesome socks that had no matches to be found. Fifteen! I didn't even know I had that many pairs of socks, let alone that many rogue socks so boldly disobeying the buddy system. What's more, I still haven't managed to find the companions to any of those fifteen socks.

That all got me thinking (which is a scary prospect in itself, but that's beside the point). I know I'm not the only person with this issue of disappearing socks. It's an age-old problem, it would seem. So who's the culprit? There seriously has to be a Sock Gremlin running around here somewhere. I can just picture him, pitter-pattering around on stealthy little gremlin feet, laughing maniacally in some cutesie high-pitched voice, stowing away with my socks.

So, I'm putting out an all-points bulletin. Wanted dead or alive: Sock Gremlin.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Word of the Day

shire: a division of land typically found in the United Kingdom and Australia, especially a county of England

Of course I have been a fan of this word ever since my father first read The Hobbit to me when I was a small child. If I could visit one and only one land in Middle-earth, it would be the Shire.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Word of the Day

deciduous: shedding annually or seasonally, such as the loss of leaves by certain trees

I've been seeing more and more orange and yellow and red leaves lately. Autumn is upon us! (I'd be a lot more excited about this if it hadn't been nearly ninety degrees here for the past two days...)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Word of the Day

piebald: marked or spotted with two different colors, especially black and white; an animal with such markings

I stumbled upon this term frequently during my courses in animal genetics. It just always seemed like both a cool-looking and cool-sounding word to me.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Word of the Day

buckwheat: a plant cultivated for its seeds, which are used as feed for animals or to make flour for human consumption

I enjoy baking, although buckwheat is not all that popular of an ingredient in the recipes I whip up. Buckwheat is not just a baking term, though. Little Rascals, anyone?

Friday, September 27, 2013

I've got blisters on my fingers!

Well, the title of this post is sort of a lie. The blisters aren't actually on my fingers. They're on my palm. And they're not even from anything cool like jamming out on the drums or guitar. They're from mowing. Yep, that's all the better I can do.

When the weather's nice (as in not a million degrees), I don't mind mowing all that much. But my hands do mind apparently. It began when I mowed my lawn a few days ago, after which I had just one sole blister on my palm. Then a couple days later I mowed the lawn of one of my elderly neighbors, and I realized that I had at that point accumulated a total of two blisters. Today I mowed the lawn of yet another elderly neighbor, and now my blisters have blisters.

Sadly, this is nothing new. I have a history of gathering blisters on my hands when mowing. Believe it or not, I do wear bandages and gloves to protect against the mower handle giving me blisters. But, a lot of good those do me. And I've tried using different mowers, to see if there are any mowers out there that I might get along with. But, alas, it would seem no mower particularly likes me.

Oh well. At least the lawn looks nice.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Word of the Day

platitudinous: dull; commonplace

I hadn't heard or seen this word used in some time, until I came across it while reading yesterday. It has quite a ring to it, especially for a word with such a drab meaning.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Word of the Day

supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: a nonsense word made popular by the movie Mary Poppins, in which it is essentially defined as "something to say when you don't know what to say"

Just because. It's one of those days.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We wish you a merry Christmas-even-though-it's-just-barely-autumn!

Autumn officially began roughly two days ago. So what does that mean? Christmas commercials, of course! I have thus far seen two Christmas commercials since autumn began. Move aside, Halloween. Forget you, Thanksgiving. It's time for Christmas.

Christmas is my favorite holiday. So, you'd think I would be all for these premature Christmas commercials. In a way, I am. But, in part because Halloween is my second favorite holiday, I don't want to see the autumn festivities just thrown to the wayside. I believe in giving each holiday it's due attention. As I just said, I am quite fond of Halloween, so I certainly don't want to see it just waved aside like a pesky fly. As for Thanksgiving, although I don't mean to sound harsh, the truth is that I find it to be a somewhat boring holiday. Don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate the meaning behind Thanksgiving, and I am certainly fond of all the food (pumpkin pie, anyone?), but it's simply not my favorite holiday. Yet, I don't want to see Thanksgiving just lost in the shuffle.

I guess the point I'm making is that while I am beginning to grow anxious for winter (Christmas, the snow, all that jazz), I think we should first pay our respects to Halloween and Thanksgiving and everything else autumnal.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Word of the Day

dirigible: an airship, which is an aircraft that is lighter than air

This word comes up a lot in the book I am currently reading, and that is Hard Magic by Larry Correia. So far a great, fun read.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Leaves become most beautiful when they're about to die.

Today is the first day of autumn. I, for one, am thrilled with that. As I have mentioned before, autumn is high (if not first) on my list of favorite seasons, as I am quite fond of the not-too-hot-not-too-cold weather, the wonderfully spooky holiday of Halloween, the pumpkin pies. But this particular post will not focus on those particular details of autumn. So, let me get on with my true purpose of this post.

One of the greatest things about autumn is the beautiful scenery it has to offer. I'm sure everyone can guess what I mean by that. The foliage. The beautiful leaves of all shades of red, orange, yellow. A number of trees near my home have already begun to change color, and I can't wait to see them in their full glory. But when I see those changing leaves, I can't help but ponder the true meaning of their rich colors. Those red, orange, and yellow hues are an epitome of beauty. And they are also a telltale sign that those leaves are in the throes of death.

Leaves become most beautiful when they're about to die. That there sentence is actually a line from a song, and that song is Regina Spektor's "Time Is All Around".  The mellifluous manner in which Regina Spektor sings that particular line makes the truth behind it all the more beautifully haunting, or hauntingly beautiful. I rather like how she uses one of the greatest aspects of autumn to make a very profound point. Autumnal colors are indubitably beautiful, even though they are a sign that those leaves are in fact dying. Death is indeed a fact of life, but leave it to the season of autumn to display that death need not always be viewed as ugly and grim.

Friday, September 20, 2013

TGIF. Again.

The weekend never comes too soon. So, I guess that would be TWNCTS. Hmm. Maybe not.

I'll just stick with TGIF. Much better. So, it's Friday again, and I for one am thrilled. But, even my thrill cannot currently keep my eyelids from drooping. So further celebration will have to wait until later.

First, though, I'll give this post dual purpose and offer a Word of the Day here:

lackadaisical: lethargic; lazy

Lackadaisical. That's what I plan on being this weekend.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Word of the Day

leviathan: any large marine animal; anything of very large size

The Bible contains a sea monster referred to as Leviathan. More recently, monstrous creatures known as leviathans are featured in one of my favorite shows, Supernatural.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Word of the Day

catamount: a mountain lion or other medium-sized wild feline

I hadn't come across this word in a long time. That is, until I just stumbled upon it while reading Robert E. Howard's short story "A Gent from Bear Creek".

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pride comes before a fall.

I think the title of this post may actually be a bit backwards. Maybe. I'm not entirely sure. So I'll just get to my point, and then you can be the judge.

I want to relay something rather disturbing that I recently witnessed. I was driving home from work when, pulling up to an intersection, I watched as a car collided with a teenage boy riding a bicycle. Let me just clarify that, as far as I know, the boy who was riding the bike is fine. In fact, he quite literally walked it off. And that's more or less the point of my post. The boy was hit by a car, he and his bike flew into the air, over the vehicle, onto its hood, and down to the road. Yet, as witnesses rushed to the scene and queried the boy as to his well-being, he simply stood up and waved the Good Samaritans away. And the way he did this was so cool, almost cold. He pushed himself up off the pavement, picked up his thoroughly contorted bicycle, and limped away, clearly embarrassed and agitated. It was honestly perturbing to see how bothered the boy was, not only by the accident itself but by the help he was being offered.

So that's why I say that I think the title to this post might be a tad bit backwards. In this case, the boy fell and was thereafter too prideful to accept the care and concern of those around him. So, sure, pride can definitely come before a fall. But, it can also come after a fall. And sometimes that's just as bad.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Word of the Day

Brobdingnagian: of very large size; giant

This word stems from Jonathan Swift's classic satirical fantasy Gulliver's Travels, in which giants inhabit a land known as Brobdingnag.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dog Days Are Over

I'm fairly certain that talking about the weather is considered a conversational no-no. Too bad, though, because that's what I'm about to do. So if that's a turn off for you, you've been forewarned.

Let me begin by saying that autumn and winter are my favorite seasons. I am not a fan of warm weather (a sentiment for which I often find myself in the minority). So, the recent temperatures of nearly 100 degrees here where I am were just a bit much for me. But today it was as if autumn arrived. It was a beautiful day, with a blue sky and sunshine, and temperatures barely breaking 70 degrees. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time outdoors today, and I'll do the same tomorrow (assuming that the meteorologists have managed to accurately forecast tomorrow's weather).

One of my favorite things about autumn is Halloween. I love the creep factor of Halloween-time, all of the eerie decorations, the jack-o'-lanterns, the horror movies, and of course the candy. Halloween is my second favorite holiday. For the record, Christmas is my first favorite holiday, which of course takes place in my other favorite season, winter. But I'll wait until closer to those holidays to further expand on them. Until then, I'll just continue to get myself psyched up for their impending arrivals.

So, the point I'm making is that the dog days of summer seem to be over, and for the most part that truly gladdens me. Sure, it is a bit depressing when the days get shorter, when I get home from work and it's already dark outside. And sometimes it is difficult to fully enjoy the outdoors when cold air chills you to the bone. But, in all honesty, I'm ready for the colors of fall, and thereafter the snowfalls of winter. So bring it on, Mother Nature.

Friday, September 13, 2013


TGIF. Tactical Ground Intercept Facility. Oops. Wrong one.

Thank goodness it's Friday. That's more like it.

Ready for the weekend? I sure am. And it's going to be my favorite kind of weekend. The kind where I have absolutely nothing planned. I'm going to veg out and do, well, nothing. At least nothing of significance. That's my kind of weekend. Yes, I am lazy and boring, but I'm perfectly fine with that.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Word of the Day

unhinged: unsettled or disordered

This one has a pretty self-explanatory definition, but I've nevertheless always liked the word. What's more, this word describes my current mental state, after an exceptionally wild evening with my exceptionally wild puppy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Word of the Day

eyrie (alternatively spelled aerie): the nest of a bird of prey, such as an eagle

"Raven's Eyrie" is one of my favorite of Karl Edward Wagner's stories starring the antihero known as Kane.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Word of the Day

gaffer: an old man; an overseer

None other than J.R.R. Tolkien first introduced me to this word. In The Lord of the Rings Samwise Gamgee's old gardener father was often referred to as Gaffer (although his name was actually Hamfast).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blowtorches and Bagels

Have you ever had one of those ingenious moments of innovation? Such as during one of those unfortunate times when you find yourself in a sticky situation, yet you are able to formulate a plan with the meager means available to you? And then afterwards you feel so proud of yourself? Well, I had one of those moments today. It was only a very mild one, though, so I won't even embarrass myself by going into detail. But, it got me thinking. It got me thinking about some of my past shining moments of innovation (I will not get into the specifics of the length of this list, and you can take that to mean whatever you want it to mean). In going through that list, I remembered a recent instance of situational creativity of which I am particularly proud.

Here's how the story begins. It was a dark and stormy night. Seriously. There was torrential rain, booming thunder, flashing lightning, the whole shebang. And somewhere during the night I lost power at my house. I remember waking up in the middle of the night surrounded by nothing but inky blackness (and since I am one of those grown adults who has to sleep with a nightlight, the impenetrable darkness did not go unnoticed). I managed to fall back asleep, though, but when I awoke in the morning I was still without power.

The lack of power itself really did not bother me. Honestly, I've always been intrigued by the simpler, more primitive lifestyles of our ancestors. There are times when it's fun to rough it, like they did back then. I could easily occupy myself with a good book, just like they did in the good ole days. Confident that I could entertain myself, I felt no need to panic. (Also, my laptop and Kindle Fire were both fully charged, so in the case that I needed to play a virtual game of solitaire or something of the like I knew I would be okay.)

So that morning, with no power, I arose and prepared myself for some good ole roughing it. I showered and dressed by means of flashlights and a few candles lit here and there. Then I went into the kitchen and prepared to eat my usual breakfast of a toasted bagel smothered in nothing other than peanut butter. But, alas! How do you toast a bagel during a power outage, with a toaster that requires power to function? I had stumbled upon a problem, a dilemma, a mild tragedy, if you will. I love me some toasted bagel with peanut butter, so this was one of those times when I refused to just roll over and surrender.

So, I thought of my options. Of course all of my primary ideas revolved around one thing: fire. That would do well to toast a bagel. I had plenty of candles lit, and for a brief moment I considered warming my bagel over one of them. But then I realized that I wanted the bagel for breakfast, not supper, when it might finally be warmed by the puny flame of a candle. So I rethought my options. I have lighters, but they're no better than a candle. I do not have a fireplace, so that was not an option. And I was not in the mood to go out and collect wood to build a bonfire.

It seemed I really needed to work my brain cells on this one. So I got the gears rolling, and what I found myself thinking was something along the lines of, "Wouldn't it be nice if I had a blowtorch right about now?" And then a light bulb went off in my head. Thanks to my handyman of a dad and his penchant for collecting all forms of tools and whatnot, I actually have a blowtorch. So, I fetched the blowtorch. Then I gathered a pair of oven mitts, a pair of tongs, and my bagel. Then I put on the oven mitts, lit up the blowtorch, grabbed my bagel with the tongs, and proceeded to toast my bagel. It took roughly two or three minutes to get it just right, but in the end I got the job done. I had myself a toasted bagel, so I slapped some peanut butter on it and ate it. And it tasted good.

And that's how the story goes. It was a dark and stormy night, I woke up and wanted a toasted bagel, so I pulled out the blowtorch. Makes sense to me.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Word of the Day

nacre: mother of pearl

I've always thought mother of pearl to be a very beautiful substance. I have a couple of objects with mother of pearl embellishments, my favorite being a pocket knife from my grandma.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I live in a zoo.

I'll use this post to share something about myself. And that is, I love animals. (I by no means intend to spark any debate or hard feelings with this next statement, but I will take this moment to make it clear that while I have a lot of compassion for animals, I am not a vegetarian, vegan, or anything of that sort. I eat meat, recognize that livestock play an important role in agriculture, and all that good stuff. And that is all I will say on that matter.)

So, moving on, I love animals, and I cannot imagine life without my four-legged furballs. I'll admit that I am partial to the felines and canines, but I've had a plethora of animals throughout my life thus far. I made it through childhood with some awesome four-legged critters as my partners in crime, and my animals still make for perfect accomplices even in my adulthood. As a child my parents started my sister and me off with fish and budgies (cute little birds). And then they moved us into cats and thereafter dogs. And that's how it all began. I'll also use this moment to admit that my love for animals led me to a college education in the animal sciences, and I now work a job in the animal medical field.

So, what animals does my current domestic zoo contain?

First and foremost, let me begin with my oldest baby. She is a beautiful calico cat, and she just celebrated her 20th birthday. I've had her since I was a small child, and we still get into plenty of trouble together. In her old age she suffers from renal disease. There is no cure for renal disease, but with steadfast medical care she is doing well. She receives an extensive pharmacy of medications and supplements every day, and I also administer subcutaneous fluids daily. She doesn't necessarily appreciate me stalking her with bottles of drugs and needled devices (can I really blame her?), but she's a trooper.

Next? I have another cat I recently acquired. He is a 5-month-old rescue kitten. He received an injury before I acquired him, rendering him with very limited mobility in his hindquarters. Therefore, he is more or less two-legged, yet he is plenty active and is a feisty firecracker of a cat. (I do my best to do physical therapy with the kitten so that he might learn to better use his hind legs, but, like I said, he's a firecracker, and he never fails to inform me that he quite frankly despises physical therapy. He'd much rather play, thank you very much.)

And then there's the puppy. She is another rescue, found as a stray. She is 6 months of age, and she is huge. And she is going to get even huger. Imagine a hairy, gangly Godzilla with next to no coordination, and with a penchant for putting anything and everything in its mouth. In short, imagine Godzilla. Yeah, that's my puppy. She is the wild child of the bunch.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention the 15-year-old frog. This frog is essentially a rescue as well. Over a decade ago my grandmother rescued this frog from a family who was going to flush it. She gave it to my sister and me. We thought we'd give it a home for the remainder of its life, which we didn't think would be long. But it keeps on keeping on.

Some days, I really do feel as if I live in a zoo.