Posts tagged ‘memory’


Jingle Bells!

Wow it has been forever since I posted content (“content”) here! And it seems like I say that every time I post content! And probably I say that every time I post content as well! Tradition.

So this year we made a mere 113 dumplings. They were on average larger than usual, is our impression, perhaps due to the little boy having taken over the skin-rolling duties from his mother this year. Larger dumplings should mean comparatively more use of filling (see square-cube law), but regardless of that “should” we also had considerable filling left over (so probably we just didn’t make as much dough). There is now a small container of filling in the refrigerator, offering the prospect of “burgers!” as the little daughter put it.

The 113 dumplings are fewer than the 161 at the beginning of 2018; shockingly, there seems to be no record of the number we made at the beginning of 2019. Scientists baffled and all.

We are doing Christmas Things a day early, and sort of folding in some New Years Things too, because due to adulthood and things one or more of the children have to leave tomorrow (the 25th) and won’t necessarily be here for the 1st. We’ve done dumplings (yesterday) and present-opening (today) and currently we are playing with presents and I am baking pies (not that anyone asked for pies, but I wanted to make some so there).

I got a lovely little note from a long-time reader saying that my solstice letter from eight years ago is part of their family tradition; that made me feel warm and validated!

We were talking about the experience of remembering some entire significant thing from earlier in one’s life that one had until then entirely forgotten about (because it sort of figures in the 2019 NaNoWriMo novel, of which perhaps more below), and the little daughter said that that can happen with books or movies or games that one experienced a long time ago, because they are both significantly large pieces of experience, and also things that it’s not hard to accidentally forget.

And in that vein she suggested a game that at least some of us had obsessed over significantly years ago involving these little like animals or monkeys or something that you had to take care of, and after blanking on it for a bit it suddenly came back to me in a perfect example of the phenomenon we were talking about, where you suddenly remember an entire piece of, basically, yourself that had once been important but you hadn’t thought about in years.

It turns out the game was called “Creatures” and the little animals or monkeys or whatever are called “Norns”, and I was quite obsessed with their behavior and learning and genetics and things (which were represented quite explicitly in the game, which is what made it so obsessable-about). I looked around online and found that there is an actual page about me in an ancient wiki about the game, which points into the Creatures pages that I used to maintain on the AOL (hahaha) user web pages, but which are now gone.

I looked around on various hard drives (“hard drives”) in the house here for nested “from the old computer” directories that might go back to 1997 or so (before the original weblog started!), but didn’t find anything (I think there’s at least one laptop lying around gathering dust that’s still nominally waiting for me to copy all of the content off of it to a more recent machine; I should use The Cloud!).

Well after turning off the lights last night, though, I thought of One More Thing To Try, and lo and behold here is a copy of those pages in the amazing Internet Archive (I gave them money; you should too!). It turns out that I was indeed quite into all that stuff, down to file formats and long amusing stories about my Norns and their genetic mutations and all.

I should figure out how to restore a tree of pages from the Archive back to disk, and put them onto the Modern Web somewhere.

Because no information should ever be lost! Even though that’s impossible!

I did finish a novel this November! I’m even pretty happy with it. For complicated reasons not worth going into here I’m not going to post a link to it immediately, but it’s done and it’s over 50,000 words, and that’s pretty cool. It starts out with something on the radio reminding Our Hero of the time he first moved into the house outside Pittsburgh that he lived in for awhile, but on the other hand he’s never lived in a house outside Pittsburgh, so that’s odd.

This connected to the whole idea of suddenly remembering things that did in fact happen, but you’d just forgotten, and onward to the ancient Norns.

The world continues otherwise pretty much unchanged. I commute into the city about four days a week, and work happily for a company that I am at the moment a bit worried about (I mean, wth?), on an island that is pretty much the center of the universe by all completely objective measures. The kids are adulting to various extents, living not here but at least in other places in the State of New York so we see them pretty often.

I am working on getting the Legion Class Mount on my Prot Paladin, which is made easier by the fact that he’s level 120 and the Legion content is intended for level 110 characters (and pally tanks are way OP anyway). I already have the Class Mounts for Rogue, Hunter, Demon Hunter, Death Knight and ummm maybe that’s it I forget. (Oh, wait, and Monk. And Priest.)

I don’t go into Second Life much these days except to feed the cats (yes, I seem to possess a small finite number of virtual cats which require virtual food which costs virtual money which is acquired mostly with real money, which is a brilliant setup by the creators of said cats and food). Sometimes I think I should cut back on my land and things in SL, which also cost real money, but even though I don’t go in very often, it still feels like a part of me somehow, so I don’t.

  • I got an espresso maker for Christmas (Solstice), so now I can make espresso!
  • I got also various other things, no less appreciated for not being listed explicitly here!

I am rather constantly on Twitter; it’s quite an addictive thing in the potentially dangerous “lots of little squirts of validation at somewhat unpredictable intervals” way. But I’m finding it also a good way to get news without having to actually consume much media directly, which involves the risk of accidentally seeing Donald Trump speak or something.

(I think one of the reasons I haven’t weblogged much is that it seems like talking about anything but the current threats to the world from various powerful evil people (Trump, McConnell, Johnson, Putin, etc, etc) is beside the point, given the importance of the things that they are threats to; but I have convinced myself that at least for this one day Solstice-Season day I can do that.)

I’ve also bought for myself a little Zafu (a Zen meditation cushion; the label says “Yoga meditation pillow”, but I think it will still work) and a Zabuton (well, a little blanket) to put under it, which I am hoping and assuming will lead me to actually meditate more (I am getting so much more comfortable with the word “meditate! I think that is good!) rather than having a sitting practice that consists primarily of not sitting.

Picture of a small artisanal Christmas tree with lights and presents underneath, and to the left is a Zafu sitting on a folded blanket for a Zabuton.

Here (somewhere around here) is a picture of the little artisanal Christmas tree and some presents under it, and then to the left my Zafu and Zabuton, so far only briefly test-driven and not used for actual Sitting, in the sense that “actual Sitting” is a thing.

(Ooops, the timer went off, so I have to go check the pumpkin pie; I will put up the picture after I check it. Although you will see it before that. Or, really, after that. You know.)

(The pie needs probably five more minutes. On the other hand by the time I figure out how to get WordPress to flow text around an image, it’s going to be done. Ha, apparently you just “Align Right”; simpler than I expected with all of these “blocks” and “groups and things lurking about. I’d like to get rid of the top padding or whatever that is and have the top of the image align with the top of the text on the first paragraph of text to the left, but, as they say, whatever. Or maybe that’s just an edit-mode thing, and it will look how I want once it’s published. Or!)

We are somewhat startled to discover that this pumpkin pie recipe is twenty years old. Good Heavens? On the other hand, what’s twenty years, really? Next we will work on the chocolate silk pie, which we have already made the crust for (and wow is it nothing like the even round uniform crust on that web page there). And perhaps Christmas Cookies later on.

So I will probably go off and do that soon. What else shall I leave you, devoted reader, with? I’ve been reviewing books that I finish now and then; see for instance me on GoodReads and I guess me on Amazon (I have the vague impression that GoodReads and Amazon share book reviews, unless they don’t, except sometimes).

Happy Solstice and Other Winter Holiday of Your Choice, and Happy New Year! May we all be blessed, and realize that we are. Maybe I will write again here some day!


Dingbat, the singing cat

Dingbat, the singin’ cat
He sung so high
But he was flat…

At least that’s how I remember Dad singing it. I remember him singing various things randomly.

(It turns out that “Dingbat the Singing Cat” was an actual thing, and actually sung to roughly the tune of Peter and the Wolf, although Dad and/or my memory seem to have transformed the words some. I didn’t realize that until I looked it up on the Interwebz just now.)

There was also

Be kind to your friends in the swamp,
For that duck may be somebody’s mother.

which I find is also an actual thing, again with perhaps slightly different words (I think I like ours better).

Mom was very partial to the “Let’s take a kayak to Juneau or Nyack” line from “Let’s Get Away From It All”. Although the line is actually “Quincy or Nyack”, and once again I don’t know if the “Juneau” version is Mom’s doing or mine.

Where’s Quincy, anyway, and why would one take a kayak there in particular?

But Mom was very fond of Nyack, which was just down Route 59 not too far, and had nice craft shops and art and stuff. Still does in fact! Although now it’s across the river, rather than just down Route 59. But still not too far!

I also remember the first few notes of Peter and the Wolf being used as the tune by which to sing “hey, ho, the radio!”, but I don’t know if that’s something Dad made up or got from some old comedy song (he loved Spike Jones, and I still do), or something that I made up or imagined.

Perhaps due to having enhanced my usual driving coffee with a Dunkin’ Donut or two (and those little shops are all the heck over the path from here to Boston and back!), I was apparently bouncing up and down and singing loud nonsense songs rather more than usual as we drove up that way this weekend for a (very successful and also triumphant) trip to apartment-hunt for the little boy.

And given that today is father’s day, I think that’s extremely appropriate. :)

Thanks, Dad!