Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

The big Magellan trivia extravaganza was last night and we got into the money portion of the winners for the first time. We were in first for 7 or 8 of the 10 rounds and wound up in third, four points behind the two teams that tied for first. It was that damn St. Louis sports trivia that got us. Still, we made our money back and absconded with the first place trophy, a large jar of smarties. If I ever form a team of traveling trivia hustlers, I'll have to make sure one is a sports nut, even though I normally take great pains to avoid such people.

I took Belle on another really long walk in the woods yesterday. I found a few arrowhead fragments but no fossils worth mentioning. One of these days I'll have to post some pictures of the fossils I've found that have been too large to lug back to the house.

In other news, I enjoyed Shaft's Big Score more than I did the original. Except for the soundtrack, of course.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Post Weekend Report

Monday again already.

Saturday's fossil hunt was moderately successful. I found a few keepers. Rather than going to the same branch as last week, I opted to follow the creek until I reached the end of my Grandpa's land. I contemplated going farther but the No Trespassing sign got me. Maybe next time. I remember going for a walk with Mom and Grandma back in the day. There is a ruined house just over the next hill from the sign and I want to get a picture of it if there is anything left. Last time I was up that way I was probably in the 12-14 range.

Yesterday morning: Black Dynamite! About once a year I get into a Blaxploitation mood and Black Dynamite kicked it off this year. It's one hell of a flick. Highly recommended to all the jive turkeys out there.

In other news, I've switched from Shutterfly to SnapFish for all of my photo printing needs. Sturdier paper, cheaper prints, and the interface isn't such a clunker. It's a no brainer. SnapFish is going to be sending me reproductions of Grandma Schwent's wedding picture in a few days.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Catching Up

First off, my Grandmother passed away early Tuesday morning. It was rough but it was also kind of a relief. The visitation wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Lots of relatives I haven't seen in awhile, lots of pictures, lots of entertaining Grandma stories. The one thing that irked me a little was that they didn't color her hair black for the funeral. She only stopped coloring her hair once she moved into the nursing home at age 92.

I saw a picture of Grandpa Schwent for the firs time in my life at the visitation, one of few in existence. It was their wedding picture. I don't think they were married more than ten years before he died in 1956 or 57. Grandma never remarried or even had a boyfriend to the best of my knowledge. Anyway, Grandpa Schwent looked like one smooth character, like a leading man in a Western. People said I looked kind of like him but I thought he looked more like my cousins David and Adam. I'm going to scan that picture when I go over to the parents' later.

As for the funeral, did you know people don't all wear suits like they do in the movies? I was the only one in a suit. My uncle Bob was wearing a corduroy jacket of 1970's vintage. When I asked how old it was, he asked if I wanted to buy it from him. Cheeky bastard.

The hearse was a beat up number with expired plates and missing a hubcap. The priest lost his place three times during the reading. All in all, there was a surprising amount of mirth. From my cousin Bobby saying "All the power is on this side" when we were lifting the casket to all of the out of breath comments on the walk from the church to the cemetery.

The meal after the service was simple yet delicious. When I was almost finished eating, Carrie said I was in the zone and looked like a competitive eater. Upon finishing, I said "Today, Man won!" I think Carrie rolled her eyes at my Man Vs. Food reference.

My brother is a touch smoother than I am, I have to admit. He and Abby have two parakeets that they hate. Somehow, my brother managed to convince our aunt Diane to take them. I don't know what he said but I watched him from across the room. Before you knew what was going on, Diane was writing down directions to her house so he could drop the birds off.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Snowy Valentine

Yesterday's fossil hunt was a complete success. I walked along a dry creekbed I haven't been to in years and found lots of fossils, many in rocks too large to carry back. There was one large rock with several snail fossils the size of the palm of my hand. Somehow I managed to strain a muscle in my lower back, probably climbing up and down hills.

Waiting for the inevitable phone call is nerve-wracking. It took me awhile to go to sleep last night because I kept expecting the phone to ring.

Valentine's Day Eve was a success. The round steak in the crock pot turned out great. Carrie and I watched the Winter Olympics for awhile. Today is going to be a bit trickier since it's snowing. We may have to reconfigure our plans.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


One thing I love about America: You can get all of your groceries and a new suit before 8:30 on a Saturday.

I'm gearing up to take Belle over to my parents' for her exercise. It's probably going to be a muddy stomp again for me this week. I'll be taking my Missouri fossil book and nerding it up.

Today's crock pot recipe: Round steak, onion soup mix, beef broth, and a big can of cream of mushroom soup. I'm anticipating deliciousness.

Speaking of deliciousness, I think I have second degree horseradish burns in my sinuses. Schnuck's brand horseradish will clean you shit out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Any day now

My mom just called to tell me my grandma doesn't have more than a month to go and my dad wants my brother and I to be pallbearers. It's frustrating not being able to help her. Is it weird that one of the first things that I did after she told me was try on my suit to see if it still fit? Now I'm going to dread the inevitable bad news every time the phone rings.

FYI, I'm either going to need pants with a bigger waist or an entirely new suit.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day

Well, the snow hit last night. I think I have about three inches on the ground. Luckily, my neighbor bladed my driveway while I was working from home today. There's no way I could work from home on a regular basis. Belle is usually good when I work from home but today she was a terror! Most of the working I did was retraining myself from murdering her. That being said, I'm going to take her for a walk down the old glacier in a few minutes for her exercise.

I got the replacement Zelda II last night and I'm ashamed to say how much time I spent playing it yesterday evening. I even forgot to eat dinner until 7:30. At least I'll beat it by the weekend and will be able to get on with my life. I forgot how frustrating and hard this damn game was. Not to mention time consuming.

I started The Man with the Getaway Face last night. It's weird how Donald Westlake had two completely different styles. The Parker novels are great. Even though he's a douche bag, you end up rooting for him. I keep toying with the idea of doing a Parker-style caper in a fantasy setting, complete with double crosses.

Better suit up and take my hound out. I hope I don't run into any polar bears or a remorhaz while I'm our there.

Monday, February 8, 2010

What the High Fantasy Genre Reminds me of...

The high fantasy genre reminds me of an inbred Dalmation. Allow me to explain.

Ever since The Lord of the Rings eclipsed the pulp fantasy that came before it, it's been copied over and over by writers who think the word 'epic' means never ending doorstop fantasy sagas. Each generation is worse than the last, the primary examples being Piers Anthony, who has written over 30 books in what was supposed to be the Xanth trilogy, George R.R. Martin, who takes four years to put out a volume with no end in sight, and Robert Jordan, who cashed his chips before he was finished milking the Wheel of Time for all it was worth. Runners up include Brandon Sanderson, who has turned the "last" Wheel of Time book into at least three books.

So why the inbred Dalmation metaphor? Most of the fantasy writers who came after Tolkien seem like fantasy is all they've ever read and all they've ever written. Inbreeding, in other words. Without an infusion of new DNA into the family tree every once in a while, you end up with progressively more inferior versions of the original, like a twitchy inbred dog with bad hips and a brain that's only 60% of what it should be. For every Perdido Street Station or American Gods, there are ten Wheels of Time. I don't see the fantasy genre getting a quality addition to the bloodline any time soon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Story so far...

So I've been on Facebook for a couple weeks now. It seems benign compared to the spam avalanche that was MySpace. On thing that's irking me is that most people have their profiles set to private. This wouldn't normally bother me but sometimes I get friend requests and have no idea who the person is and can't figure it out based on the minuscule info available. The privacy factor also makes it hard to spy on former classmates. One of mine, who shall remain nameless, has one of the slutiest profile pics I've ever seen but has her profile set to private. So her cleavage isn't off limits but her political views are? I don't understand...

I installed the Tetris Friends app the other day for Facebook. Not only has time not dulled my skills but I may in fact be the best Tetris player of all time.

In other news, I think the NFL is a bunch of assholes. You can't use the term "Super Bowl" in print or on TV or radio unless you're an official NFL sponsor. How much bullshit is that? I will henceforth refer to it as the Shit Bowl.

I had a flash of inspiration this morning and I'll probably start writing The Bulletmaker's Apprentice sometime this week after I think about the outline for a bit. March is National Novel Editting Month so I figure I should dust off Sailors on the Sea of Dead Gods soon and work on that as well.

Not much else going on. I have to go to my goddaughter's birthday party in a couple hours. For some reason my cousin thinks it's okay to have a birthday party on Shit Bowl Sunday. I'm not a big fan of Sunday gatherings as it is.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Here we are again...

I think I made it a whole month until the blog cravings got to be too much.

So a few weeks ago, I went over to my parents' to find my dad playing Legend of Zelda for the GBA and the following conversation ensued:
Dad said "I figured out how to do the second quest easier."
I said "How?"
He said "I beat 1, then go into 2 and get the whistle and leave. I take the whistle and go to 6 and get the ladder. Then I go to 8 and get everything, the key and the wand. After that, you're bad news."
"Isn't six pretty hard with only five or six hearts?" I asked.
"Not if you're really good," he said.

Thinking that maybe my dad needs bigger challenges in his retirement years than The Legend of Zelda, I ordered the sequel, the Adventure of Link, from Amazon. Imagine my dismay when I open the package to find that someone took the game out of the box before shipping. I sent a nasty gram to Amazon and they are sending me a replacement that shipped yesterday. I think I might play it a little before I hand it over to the old man.