Category: personal

Permission to Complain

There are so many different things I could be blogging about today. Riots. Racism. Pandemic. Economic unrest. A big part of me feels like I should be speaking out about each of them. Some of them I’ve spoken out about at length already. Some of them I haven’t.

But the sad fact is that my tank is pretty much empty at the moment. I don’t have the energy to write up a post that does any single one of those topics justice, let alone put up with the ensuing drama that might potentially unfold on my Facebook wall because of it.

(I also don’t have it in me to detail just how I’m feeling and why. Here’s hoping things look brighter on Monday. (I keep thinking that will be the case. I’ve been wrong a whole lot lately though . . .))

A lot of the things weighing me down right now are fairly small in comparison with the huge things troubling our country and so many people in it. I’ve been stuck inside a lot. It’s hard. I don’t like it. At the moment, even little things can really throw me for a loop. It’s hot. It’s clammy. I have too many Zoom meetings.

Each one of those problems feel small enough that I really shouldn’t complain about them, and that’s something I’ve heard echoed across my social media pages. People feel bad, and they feel bad for feeling bad, because other people have it worse. But you know what? I’m sure for my entire life, there has always been someone out there who has had it much worse than I’ve had it. If the only person allowed to complain were the person who had the worst life on the planet, no one you know would ever be allowed to complain.

Feeling bad isn’t a competition. We’re allowed to feel bad even if other people have it worse. I would generally refrain from complaining to people who have it worse, but other than that? I think some complaining now and then is a-okay. Not that we need to wallow in sorrow, but it’s okay to feel.

So consider this post a “complaining allowed” zone. Feel free to complain about anything. No judging here. If you feel bad about it, and it’s causing you some mental baggage, unload it. It’s the weekend, after all. Maybe unloading some troubles will help.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

In Which Time Stops

I’m a fan of clocks. Noisy clocks. To me, a house isn’t really living until it’s got that steady metronome clicking away somewhere inside it. We’ve had a clock in our kitchen for years and years, and it’s comforting to me to have the noise always present. (Though I understand it drives some people crazy. Maybe I’m already there?)

A week or two into Social Distancing, my kitchen clock broke. It just stopped holding a wind. I imagine it’s a fairly simple fix, but there’s no where for us to take it at the moment to get fixed, and so the nice reassuring ticking coming from my kitchen has stopped for the time being. That’s the sort of detail you’d throw into a novel and be accused of being too heavy handed with your symbolism, but there you have it.

Time has stopped in my house.

(Well, not completely. I mean, I still have the grandfather clock going away, but it’s really better for chiming, not ticking. I can’t hear the ticking from my office.)

I can tell time is still moving forward. The plants outside my window seem to be growing alarmingly fast, and the lawn has already needed to be mowed twice. I’ve started actually scheduling some outside get-togethers, campfires and tennis and the like. Things you can do at least six feet apart. Tomas is going to be running with some of his friends again, and MC is working on learning how to ride a bike.

So the hallmarks of “today is different than yesterday” are returning, at least to an extent. But it’s still as hard for me as I imagine it is for all of you to remember just what day of the week I’m on. To Do lists help with that, as does my not-nearly-as-used calendar.

In an effort to combat the “one big long day” feeling, I’m trying some other approaches as well. Setting overarching goals and involving the family with them. For example, yesterday we marked out the path for a timed race: run down the road, touch a telephone pole, and run back. Who can do it the fastest? Daniela happily made up a chart for us to record our times. (Tomas did the whole thing in just over two minutes, but I’m proud to say I came in second. Granted, it was a minute twenty longer than it took him, but still. Not bad.) Maybe keeping track of those times will be a fun activity.

But until my clock is fixed, literally and figuratively, I don’t think things are going to feel back to normal. Maybe I should teach myself how to fix it . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Zoom-o-Rama

I’m in all-day Zoom meetings today and tomorrow, so no real time to craft anything noteworthy on the blog. I did take some time this week to figure out just how much I’m on Zoom these days. This week? 37 hours, and nine of those hours I’m in two Zoom meetings at the same time. So when I feel like I’m in one eternal Zoom meeting, I suppose there’s a good reason for that.

All of those 37 hours aren’t just for work. Some are church-related, some were for the online RPG group I did Tuesday evening, but the vast bulk of them are for work. I don’t know how much Zoom the rest of you are doing, but if some of you out there are doing even more than I am . . .

You have my pity.

My current eight hour Zoom fest is launching back up again now. I don’t think I’ll have time to post tomorrow (more Zoom), so have a great weekend everyone. Catch you on Monday.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Quarantine Beard Update

Sometimes you set goals for yourself, not quite understanding their implications. “A beard that looks like I’ve been cosplaying Robin Williams in Jumanji” seems like such a straightforward goal. You just sit back and let nature take her course. Growing facial hair has never been a struggle for me. It still isn’t.

But dealing with that facial hair has proven to be more than I initially anticipated.

I don’t mind the heat much, since it’s still been plenty chilly here in Maine. (We had a couple of inches of snow the other day.) And I’ve never had the issues other people always cite for why they don’t like beards: it doesn’t itch. It doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bug Denisa. It’s just been fine to have, and I like how I look more with a beard than without one. (For a while, the beard was a nice cover for a double chin I’d been developing. I have no idea if that double chin is still hiding somewhere in the jungle that is my face these days, but my BMI would tend to suggest it’s gone away . . .)

But eating with a long beard? That’s been the biggest difficulty. Sure, I could trim back the mustache area, but that’s not really following the spirit of the goal, is it? Robin Williams wasn’t trimming his mustache in Jumanji, was he? No. He was running away from packs of lions and elephants and killer wasps as fast as his feet could carry him. I may be many things, but I am not, generally speaking, a quitter. Certainly not when it comes to goals.

However, let’s just say that my nightly cocoa banana shake has become . . . problematic. I’ve taken to carrying a handkerchief around with me so that I can wipe my beard down after every bite. It’s like I’m turning into some sort of dripping wet water buffalo, except instead of water, it’s cocoa banana shake. (How’s that for an image for you?)

The beard is now over 2.5 inches long, and it looks like I have at least a couple more weeks of quarantine before things might point to me heading back to my office. It’s not close to “braid it like Gimli” length yet, though if I end up being stuck at home through June or July, it might be.

Maybe I should just invest in a nice, reusable straw. That might deal with the milkshake problem . . .

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

Throwback Computer Games: Zork

I’ve been playing video games for quite some time. The other day, as I was watching my kids play Animal Crossing, I thought back to what things might have been like if I’d been stuck in quarantine for a couple of months back in 1985. I’m pretty sure that was before I got an Atari even. The only computer games I had to speak of were the ones on my dad’s old Heathkit computer. Green text on a black screen. We had Space Invaders (the only copy I could find right now is the Atari one, but close enough). Eliza. DND. And, of course, Zork.

I remember playing Zork a ton, though I’m not sure how many times I actually did. For those of you too lazy to click through and play the game (shame on you!), it’s a fully-text-based game. You wake up in the middle of a forest, standing in front of a white house. There are no instructions at first, and you have to just sort of try different commands until you figure out what you’re supposed to do. Go north. Go west. Look. That kind of thing.

If you’re patient and stick with it, you begin to figure out what to do. You find equipment, and you go exploring in a maze beneath the house. And . . . that’s about as far as I ever got. If I had been in quarantine, I wonder if I would have beaten Zork.

The world may never know.

The bottom line, however, is that I would have been a whoooooole lot more bored than my kids are. No Netflix. No internet. A limited supply of board games. Dealing with “what to do” would have been a very different story.

I bring that up not to tell my kids how lucky they have it. No, I’m much more concerned about myself. Today I am just grateful we have all these ways to distract ourselves. Because if I was stuck here in the house with nothing more than Zork, and my kids had the same next-to-nothing to do?

I think we’d all go crazy.

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Like what you’ve read? Please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thanks to all my Patrons who support me! It only takes a minute or two, and then it’s automatic from there on out. I’ve posted the entirety of my book ICHABOD in installments, and I’m now putting up chapters from PAWN OF THE DEAD, another of my unreleased books. Where else are you going to get the undead and muppets all in the same YA package? Check it out.

If you’d rather not sign up for Patreon, you can also support the site by clicking the MEMORY THIEF Amazon link on the right of the page. That will take you to Amazon, where you can buy my books or anything else. During that visit, a portion of your purchase will go to me. It won’t cost you anything extra.

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