Monthly Archives: December 2011

proceed with caution

I am concerned that sharing the following may be irresponsible.  If this causes you to lose the same number of life hours that I have, then I will be definitely be ashamed-slash-delighted.  But I’ve spent 83% of my eleven day staycation playing Tiny Tower.  How could I not write about it?  It’s become meaningful and important in my life.

Tiny Tower is a sim game, a sort of game I am not generally wont to explore.  In fact, I’m not much for video or computer games at all.  Not counting that stint with Dark Age of Camelot.  But I’m not counting that.  Seriously.  Let us never speak of it again.

Right.  Tiny Tower?  You build a tower of stores and apartments.  Little people buy stuff, you earn money, you buy more floors.  People with varying aptitudes for doing stuff move into the apartments and you employ them in your stores so they can keep the store stocked with roasted duck or a 2 player game of mini golf.


It takes about 5 minutes to earn enough money to build a new floor in the beginning.  It’s all very exciting.  Yay!  I got a new candle store!
But as the tower gets higher and higher, it takes progressively longer to earn the money to build a new floor and the new floors take longer to construct.


The little people have dream jobs.  If you have the kind of business that is his or her dream job, then you get all sorts of little bonuses.  And this is the part that I think really drives a lot of the addiction.  If you can just build one more floor of apartments, maybe *those* new people who move in will be dreaming of the jobs that you already have in your tower.  Or your next new retail floor will be the bank that two of your little guys have been waiting for.  But no.  It’s a recycling center instead.


While you’re saving up your funds to buy the next floor, and waiting current construction to complete, you spend most of your time ferrying little people up the tower in an elevator.  Someone arrives, demands to be taken to floor 27 and you hold the up button until they get there.  It’s thrilling.  Sometimes they even tip you.  And then you’re all “I’m 1/5oth of the way closer to having 1/3 of the money I will need to buy another floor that will be completed some time tomorrow!”


And so I continue.  Peddling my wares, building new floors, acquiring new tentants.  Holding out hope that my next floor will be the tutoring center that will fulfill all of Kent Neal’s career goals.

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save me from the slugs

11 days off from work.  ELEVEN.  I haven’t had this kind of break since college.

blah blah blah long story; I had the whole time off with no travel plans, no family and no social obligations whatsoever.

I had visions of Biggest-Loser-esque epic workouts to fill my days.  I thought I would clean out and organize the closet-o-despair.  I was going to bake sugar cookies and whole wheat cranberry bread.  And the blog posts!  Oh, the daily posts I was conjuring up!

But it’s turned into a total mollusk slug-out.  Not like sexy escargot slugs.  Like gross, pouring salt all over them on the back steps slugs.

I would gladly accept slugdom if its in exchange for feeling ultra rested and relaxed.  Loafing around in pyjamas for days on end is my utopia.  Except I’ve been staying up absurdly late reading YA novels and playing Tiny Tower on my iPhone and then waking up ass early because I’m ridiculous.

So instead of feeling serene and accomplished, I’m grody.  Like a back porch slug who was beckoned by the golden siren song of or a dish of beer, got drunk, then got salted and had an oozplosian.



Filed under Holidays

the nadir

it’s winter solstice today.  the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

which feels like it should create a sensation somewhere in the range of gloomy to soul crushing.

and yet.

i just finished my last day of work before eleven days off.

i put the last of my holiday cards in yesterday’s mail.

there are tiny white lights on a tree in my living room.  made all the more magical by the big, long darkness happening outside.

that christmas happens at the same time as the year’s longest, darkest night is part of the reason i think people love it so… it happens when we feel a need to gather around the hearth and huddle in the dark.  we feel safe and protected and cocooned up with the people who mean the most to us.  and even though, sometimes, the people we need are not really close enough to wrap up in our cocoons, the efforts we make to send that intention through cards and gifts and phone calls can feel almost as good.

this day.  this day that i woke and went to sleep to in the dark.  this day has as much darkness as there will ever be. and the beauty of recognizing this low point – that this is as long as the night will get – is knowing that it’s only getting better from here on out.




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You can serve people an unholy amount of finger foods comprised of primarily cheese and/or bacon, provided you also offer a subsidy of veg.

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if you’re looking back and wondering where 2011 went…

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Filed under the interwebs, Tidbit

dirty mouth

Parenting is fascinating.

I love hearing stories about how people contend with those little hooligans and how parents try to retain control in a world ruled by creatures free from reason and logic.

My experience in parenting is limited to the recollections I have of what my own parents did and what other people tell me now.  And those two things are really different these days.

My brother told me yesterday that he offers “stern advice” when his 3 year old is acting up.  And a coworker says that they just ignore bad behavior until it goes away.

Which is a much kinder and gentler nation than the one me and my brothers grew up in.  But it was all different then and, like a lot of things, there are trends in parenting, I guess.

I am not really sure what my own philosophy will be if I have my own kids, but I do like pondering.  I do know that I have a small sense of pride that I survived childhood in the 80’s, a time when my elementary school principal had and used a paddle and the teachers whacked kids on the knuckles with a ruler.

Not that I ever got any whackings at school.  ‘Cause I was awesome.  And a big nerd.

But I was just thinking about how my dad used to wash my mouth out with soap if I told a lie or used a bad word, and just how absurd of a punishment that is.  Like, who wants to stick a bar of soap into the mouth of a squirmy squalling little minion and try to rub it around in there?  Seems like an awful lot of hassle to me.

Obviously, I was not a fan of this treatment.  It was a major suckage.  But, despite how awful it was, it did little to stop my lying ways or me from calling one brother or another a Yuck Butt.  Once my parents caught on that a Yuck Butt was the highest of insults in our clan, using the phrase became grounds for a mouth washing.

But we were slick and came up with a secret code for how to continue using our own special little curse word unscathed.

We switched it up to Butt Yuck instead.

They caught on to that one, too.


Filed under Family, Friends and other Humans

my favorite gift this year

Some very wonderful friends have just moved away.

I wanted to do something to say just how sad I am that we won’t be neighbors anymore, how much I will miss them, and how much I’ve appreciated having them around.  What with all this holiday business, my floodgates of spend are wi-i-ide open and in fine form; I figured that I’d find something great to buy them.  But instead, I had a wonderful idea that I think I like better than any of the Christmas gifts I’ve gathered.

Rather than telling them how about how sad I feel and how that sadness equates to love, I clevered up a plan to tell them about how much fun they’ll have exploring a new home.

I polled some friends on Facebook to get opinions, did some scouring of Yelp, and started buying gift certificates for places that they might like to check out in their new town.  I go two for yarn stores, two for rock climbing gyms, a book store, a movie theater, a coffee shop and a mobile food truck.  All local, independent places – so I largely had to make calls and talk to people on the phone (dislike!) to get them, but I really love the idea of taking part in helping them get out there and get to know about neat places in the area.

After a particularly creative flurry, I also drew my own card!  Drawing is a thing I do largely never.  Although my mother would probably disagree and reference this series of dad cartoons I created in 1987.
Anyway.  I drew a card!

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure that you could probably tell what this is… right?


It’s a dinosaur exploring his new cave!

So now I am full of that hooray feeling of happy that comes from good gifting.


Filed under Up to Stuff