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Musings

  • The good news is that in the choice between a damaged television and a damaged Amazon Fire Stick, I got the broken Fire Stick.
    • We’ve been considering a new TV, but didn’t want to buy one this weekend.
  • Things I’ve decided as a parent:
    • Books are better than movies
    • Legos are better than Minecraft
    • Nerf guns are better than Fortnite
  • We got about three inches of wet snow, which rapidly turned to slush and then mud. It’s the natural cycle of things here in Louisville.
  • When your ten year old comes in from playing in the slush, then goes back out with a large glass of water, you know he’s creating something nefarious.
  • There’s a moment of absolute peace and well being when the dishes are done, the house is vacuumed, and the laundry is washed, dried, folded, and put away.
    • It’s only a moment, mind you, and then life reverts back to “hand grenade in a hen house” mode.

Today’s Earworm

Musings

  • Ah, the sounds of the season. The hiss and pop of a warm hearth, the tick of the timer on an oven full of cookies, my youngest trying to figure out how to make Darth Vader’s theme song sound Christmasy on the keyboard, my wife muttering to herself as she finds yet another gift that needs wrapping, and the dog farting against a hardwood floor.
  • Irish Woman thought that the two, count them, two Harry Potter Lego sets Boo got from Santa would take him all week to assemble. Total build time – 6 hours to get both done.
  • They may sound like a gimmick, but a 25 pound quilt made for the best nap I’ve had in years.
    • Lifting it, on the other hand, wasn’t exactly easy. Imagine trying to lift 25 pounds of loose bubblegum that doesn’t want to stay in one blob.
    • Irish Woman pinky swears she didn’t pay retail price for it. I most certainly hope this isn’t one of those little white lies I hear so much about.
  • One bad thing about having two black dogs is that when they bolt on you after sunset, it’s like trying to chase shadows. Luckily, both of them came right back to the porch after the three of us did a few wind sprints up and down the block, in the dark, and across several lawns.

Repost: Combat Preparation

Note – This originally appeared here in 2010. It is the first dim thought I had of the Minivandians

The old warrior slowly ran the stone down the length of his sword.  This weapon had been made for his grandfather, and he was planning on passing it along to his own grandson.  He could be buried with some of his lesser weapons, but this piece of family hardware would pass down the line along with the strong bodies and tough minds that had set him and his brothers apart during the wars.  Once the edge was sharp enough to shave with, he ran an oiled rag down its length to protect it from the elements.

Next came the shield.  He polished the leather, wood, and iron of it lovingly.  He noted every chip and dent, remembering the blows that had made their mark over the years.  He would need this old friend’s protection again today.

Next came his war kilt, chain mail shirt, and helm.  He strapped his sword across his back, and attached his long dagger to his ankle where it would make a good back up weapon.

Bowing his head before starting his march to battle, he prayed to the gods, both old and new, to protect him as he faced the ravening hordes he was sure to encounter today.  He thought of all the old comrades who had gone before him, and the young men who had come home half mad from the sights he was heading towards today.

Once both his body and spirit were armed and armored, he stepped out onto the black plain that lead to his goal.  He squared his shoulders, but knew that today might be his last.  Too many gray hairs graced his head, too many battles over the years ran through his memory for him to expect to see the sun set on this day.

As he walked forward to battle, the sights and sounds of this day burned into his soul.  The high pitched ringing of a bell, the soft music that filled the air, the old warrior knew they would be the sounds that would take him to Valhalla.  The red and black clad herald of  the madness within greeted him as he walked through doors that magically opened for him.  The noise of the horde immediately pressed on him like a wave.  Undaunted, he waded into the lair of the enemy, intent on his purpose.

The last thing he heard before the noise drowned out all sanity was the merry calling of the door keeper:

“Merry Christmas!  Welcome to Walmart!”

Today’s Earworm

This is the 200th anniversary of the first performance of this song. It’s always been one of my favorites.

Irish Woman and I wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

Today’s Earworm

Review – Against a Rising Tide

Alma Boykin closes her “The Powers” series with an excellent story of family, honor, and duty in “Against a Rising Tide“.

The World War has ended. The battles rage on.

Five years after the end of the World War, men, Half-Dragons and True-Dragons labor to repair the damage. The English and French insist on punishing the nations of the Habsburg Confederation and Germany, while nationalists and Communists threaten to tear the alliance and the Houses apart from within. As chaos swirls and tensions rise, István Eszterházy and Archduke Rudolph von Habsburg struggle to preserve order, and to preserve both Houses and Powers. Worse, an old enemy from the war stalks István, intent on revenge.

But true danger lurks to the east. The forces that destroyed Galicia threaten to devour all of the Powers and Houses, killing the very soil of the land as they do. As another war rages, István and Rudolph must hide the secret of the Powers from forces more terrible than the Mongols and ottomans combined.

Against a Rising Tide continues the story of Istvan Esterhazy, a nobleman leading a family that boasts dragons in its bloodline. After the defeat and dismemberment of the First World War, the Houses of the Empire are hard-pressed to adapt to a new world. Boykin adds a thread of tension throughout this story, which ratchets up the pace and keeps the reader riveted.

While taking us through the political and social upheaval of the 1920’s and ’30’s, Boykin paints a vivid depticion of a man trying to preserve what he can while living in the real world. In the end, this is a story of humanity in an ever-more dehumanizing world.

I had to take this story in small bites so that I could chew it over and think about what it was telling me. I definitely recommend this entire series to folks who are interested in this period of history and want a story that appeals on many levels.

Today’s Earworm

Saint Joseph and the Donkey

A Christmas thought

DaddyBear's Den

As we sat down to our Christmas Eve feast tonight, it occurred to me that things are pretty good.  We’re all home, everyone is healthy, and it’s a pretty normal evening for us.  It could be a lot more difficult for us.

Imagine that you’re a simple tradesman, who’s been told to walk 80 miles to the city of your ancestors.  With you, you take your young, very pregnant wife.  Luckily, you have your trusty donkey, so she doesn’t have to walk the whole way.  Once you get there, there’s no place to stay, so you end up in someone’s stable.  Of course, after four or five days on the road, she goes into labor.

So now, you’re in a barn, with a young woman going through her first labor, and you’re alone.  Somehow, you get both her and the baby through the labor alive.  Then strangers start showing up…

View original post 114 more words

Review – Lab Gremlins

Cedar Sanderson’s new short work, Lab Gremlins, is a fun tale of someone discovering that the world is stranger, more wonderful, and more terrifying than he thought it was.

All Steven wanted was a lab job to get experience. His boss acted like a mad scientist, but that wasn’t the problem. No, the problem started with disappearances around the lab, and then it really escalated. Steven finds himself scrambling to cope with gremlins, chemical spills, and much worse things when the government agents show up… because they are recruiting and don’t take no for an answer!

Lab Gremlins is a fun, short read that introduces us to Steven, an every-man lab technician who chances upon the rabbit hole and gets dragged down into its depths. Sanderson is a master story-teller, and wastes no time in intricately painting both her characters and the world they inhabit.

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