• My 10-week online course in science fiction writing started this past Tuesday. I didn't know what to expect. Would I have to make up ships or alien races? My first assignment was VERY interesting. We were to research REAL science, find an article that caught our attention, share why we liked it, and propose various stories that we could build around the idea. Science moron that I am, I opted for something relatively “easy” like teleportation and quantum computing. Wish me luck. I really am enjoying the benefits of an online class, though. While lectures and assignments are posted each Tuesday I don't have to be “there” at any specific time, and I have the week to think about my ideas and post my homework. That gives me the weekend to really focus and, so far, doesn't seem to detract from my blogging time.
• If there's one thing I'm missing by not having Cable, it has to be the Sci Fi Channel. I watched an amazing trio of shows at my friend's place last night. I've seen Stargate: SG-1 in syndication off and on over the years, and I had seen the movie premiere of the new Battlestar Galactica. I didn't have any interest in Stargate: Atlantis but decided to watch it since it bridged the other two shows and my friend insisted it was good. I picked a REALLY good episode to see for the first time. I might have to start watching these shows, either on DVD or at the very least in syndication. The show that really blew me away last night though was Galactica. WOW. I had to check my watch to make sure I didn't just watch a three hour epic movie. I don't mean that it felt long, but a LOT of stuff happened over the course of an hour.
• An adult, living on his own for any period of time, even for just a week, should phone his parents at least once. If they call him in the middle of the week, and he assumes those conversations “count”, he might be surprised when not one, but both at different times of the day make a point of mentioning, “You know, you never called us. We called you.”
• It's important when considering purchasing a house, to look for homes with sloped roofs. My parents own a Spanish style stucco house with a flat roof. It has the slightest of peaks, so water drains to the four walls which extend above the roof, through four openings to drain pipes. I came home relatively early this morning, having to give my friend a ride to the train station, and after unpacking, checking my messages, and working on my class assignment, opted to take a brief nap. My dad meanwhile, having returned from the doctor and getting an echocardiogram, noticed a small flood in the basement. As I dozed off, my mom suddenly called in to me: “Your father is taking the ladder out.” I was ALMOST asleep. I didn't want to move. When I heard the ladder banging against the basement stairs as a 75-year-old man with clogged arteries and an almost 67-year-old woman recovering from the flu struggled to get it outside, I quickly jumped up and ran to help. It was raining and pretty disgusting sticking my bare hands into each drainpipe, and I was surprised by the amount of leaves packed in there. It was only a month ago that I last cleaned them, and the trees had long since shed all the leaves. My only theory is that these had been sitting on the flat roof, until wind and rain carried them through. If I buy a house, I'm definitely getting one with a sloped roof. Taking care of one flat-topped house is bad enough without having to deal with two.
• A toaster oven is not a microwave. Putting uncooked rice in an aluminum pan, adding water, and putting three strips of leftover sweet and sour chicken from two weeks ago might seem like a good idea to an individual ignoring his mother’s admonitions that it won’t work, but he would be wrong. An hour later when the rice still hadn’t cooked, he’d eat it anyway to be stubborn and not admit he was wrong. Crunchy rice is rough on the teeth, and later feels like acupuncture on the inside of one’s stomach.
• Adults build layers of complications and obstacles to life that need not be there, that exist only within our minds. Children say what they think without fear, without considering the reactions of others or worrying about upsetting the status quo. As our priest was taking forever to get through announcements at the end of mass tonight, derailing into jokes about snow shovels, one girl brazenly called out to him. “Father Mike! I wanna go hooooome!” He smiled, said that she was saying what was on everyone's minds, and wrapped things up. Apparently, if you voice a concern or desire out loud, sometimes you get results. Who knew?