Thursday, October 20, 2011

Busy return home

As I mentioned before, I am essentially working a ten hour work day thanks to my hour commute every day. Add on top of that forty-five minutes to wake up, a new puppy who needs constant attention and care when I get home, a busted car, sleep, chores around the house and we’re talking two to three hours a day of free time. For instance: We moved back to Vermont to experience family, friends, and festivals; to be a part of the community and local traditions as well as work on making our home a blend of all of our travels and lifestyle.

Last weekend we had one plan. Dinner and walk through the production known as The Haunted Forrest with Hilary and Michele. Instead, we were informed of plans long in fruition finally bearing fruit. Our new puppy would be flown in and our shipping container from Spain would arrive. So, the weekend looked like this for me:

Friday: Work a ten hour day, do dinner and Haunted Forest with Hilary and Michele, return home at 12:30 p.m.

Saturday: Work around the house, leave at 5:30 for Manchester NH to pick up new little dachshund puppy. Spend a half an hour coaxing him out of his crate to get water and pee. Drive three hours home, get to sleep at 2:30 a.m.

Sunday: Wake up at 7:30 to put new puppy out, go back to bed until 9:30, get up and have coffee. Arrange the house in order to make room for new boxes. 12:00: Russian movers arrive. Unload and unpack boxes for five hours while taking care of new puppy that is freaked the F out by all the movement and noise. Into your crate. Sit down and relax for three hours and go to bed.

Monday: Wake up at 5:45 and get ready for work.

This weekend was of similar craziness: Rather than detail the entire thing out again let’s just say it was not a lot of sitting unless it was in a car driving, nights of very little sleep, and now a full week of work. Wendy and I have been home from Madrid since August 17th and I don’t think we’ve had a relaxing day yet. I got up this morning to find I haven’t had time to put away clothes that have been in the dryer for three days. I have unopened mail, a lawn that needs to be mowed, a puppy that needs constant attention… I could list twenty more things.

I really wanted to invite my old Magic friends over for poker night this week, but really, I’m just hoping to get some small chores done and finally feel like we’re home and having a day off.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Anecdotes, Reviews and Rambles

Why not start with thoughts about Steve Jobs? He’s the big topic these days. Here’s a quote from him about getting up in the morning.

"If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?"

Which is a great concept but I have a problem with the reality of that. For one thing, if you knew it was your last day, you wouldn’t plan for the future, you wouldn’t go to work in order to have money for rent or food, or a retirement. I can’t speak for women, but as a man, if I knew it was my last day on Earth, I know of a whole lot of hedonistic things I would do that didn’t involve making money or mowing the lawn or having a stable job. But those things need to be done if you think you’re going to be around for awhile.

Also, I think it’s important to realize you need to ask yourself that initial question throughout the day. When I get up in the morning, about the last thing I want to do is shut off the alarm, get out of bed, have some coffee, shower, and drive an hour to work. But around ten a.m. when I am fully awake, working on a complex tech problem or I've made some teacher really happy that I made things work again, yeah, I am pretty happy with what I’m doing today. My job is awesome. Would I go to work next week if I knew it was even my last six months on earth? No.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I feel like a pissy little bitch, because we all know what the real message is: Do what you love. If you’re not enjoying yourself, make a change. Like fall in love, move to Madrid and explore Europe for five years.

Speaking of my job, I love listening to the teachers and seeing their different styles. Some are dry and boring, others "good enough" and some are excellent. Yesterday I was working in a school for the younger kids and burst out laughing. The teacher was amazing.

“Joseph, why are you wearing your jacket? Are you cold? Yeah, it is a little chilly in here. Do you see my sweater? Do you notice that it’s really big on me?”

“Yes,” the kids all respond.

“That’s because it belongs to Mister Stevens. Pouting works girls, remember that. Purse your lips and furrow your brows.”

A few minutes later someone comes into the room, “Hang on kids, I need to deal with this. Why? Because whose it all about?”

“You.” They all shout in unison.

“That’s right, it’s all about me.”

I am laughing my ass off at this point. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. She was excellent, used humor to engage them, and it was clear they all loved her as a teacher. I was in there for forty-five minutes and like the kids, I just wanted to sit and listen to her talk.


The new 52 from DC confuses me. Why start all the comics over from number one, call it a brand new beginning, and then reference things that had happened in past continuity? Why isn’t every single issue a new origin story or a new take on the old origin story? Some are, some aren’t and it’s baffling. It’s like no one is steering this massive ship. Or more appropriately, it’s like a busy airport with no air traffic controller. It makes no sense and to top it all off, in general, the stories suck. Action comics, Justice League and Aquaman number 1 have been the only ones I’ve liked of the ones I’ve bought.

PS, Dear DC, your online digital distribution sucks.

In game reviews, Wendy and I have finally found a game almost as captivating as Carcassone which we have played to death and then beaten with sticks. We were given Dominion as a wedding present from our good friend Rod and we are having a great time with it. It’s a lot like Magic but for less than the cost of Jace you can buy the basic set and an expansion which will you give you hundreds of hours of fun. (Wow, Jace has fallen in price, when I stopped playing Magic he was over a hundred.)

Writing books is hard.Getting rejected by (literally) two hundred agents is almost as hard. Seeing over two hundred dollars deposited into my checking account each month for the last two months is easy. And fun!

I don't know what's going on. Self published books like mine usually sell to family and friends and then either stagnate, or on very rare occasions become runaway hits and make thousands of dollars a week until the fad fades (vampire love triangles anyone?)

I can only guess that my name has come up in a few Magic articles recently or some travelogue blogger actually wrote a favorable review on their website and people are actually buying my other book.

Anyway, it's a great feeling either way.