Book Log – Love Among The Chickens

Love Among The Chickens by P.G. Wodehouse
[via Project Gutenberg]

A Ukridge story, another of Wodehouse’s eccentrics. Clueless city-dweller attempts to start a chicken farm with no notion of how to raise chickens. He for some reason figures that if you can incubate an egg in 1 week by setting it at temperature X, you should be able to incubate it in 2 weeks set at temperature 1/2 X…. silly stuff like that.

An okay Wodehouse, of novelette length.

Foreshadowing the Weekend

There is 150 feet of 1″ manila rope in a box in our entry way, a slingshot in the basement, a roll of yellow poly twine on our kitchen counter, and a heavy bolt or nut somewhere on the premises.

There are two size #3 soccer balls in a bag in the entry way.

In the basement, there are a number of unused toys stored in shelves in the back room.

In the back of a small theater in Little 5 Points, there is a play-board with one more show left in it.

In the backyard, there are a number of left-over fence stakes still staked in the ground.

There are squeaky doors leading to the bedrooms of children, and a can of WD40 in the garage.

These material items form a map of my weekend to come.

Book Log – Emma

Emma by Jane Austen

“That is the case with us all, papa. One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”
~ Emma Woodhouse

“You are very fond of bending little minds; but where little minds belong to rich people in authority, I think they have a knack of swelling out, till they are quite as unmanageable as great ones.”
~ Emma Woodhouse.

I think the strongest effect of having read this novel is a strong desire to watch Clueless again. I had forgotten that Emma was the source material for the movie, and I found it very entertaining to consider the particulars of the adaptations made from one to the other. All in all, I believe I’m fairly impressed with the translation.

The second strongest effect is that I really want to incorporate the phrase to own the truth into my conversation.

The third strongest effect is that the concept of overt and formal class distinctions is jarring.

The fourth is that this is a amusing read of a very foreign culture.

Book Log – Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

The second illustrated autobiography of a unusual childhood I’ve read this year, Fun Home is a humor and sorrow filled read. Bechdel, author of the popular Dykes To Watch Out For comic, is extremely adept at creating a mood and atmosphere. The downside is that it’s a melancholy mood that lingers long after you’ve put the book down, but while you’re reading it, it is terribly engrossing.

This is basically the story of Bechdel’s family as affected by the distant and troubled father. There are many parallels drawn between their lives and the classic literature her father obsessively reads. If nothing else, I am left with a feeling of inferiority in my aptitude for literary analysis.

Extremely well drawn, extremely well told.

Accomplishment, Thy Name is This Past Weekend

Man, I’ve got an accomplishment buzz.

The garage? I went medieval on the garage.

Things I cleared out or quarantined for disposal:

– The desiccated corpse of a rat
– 5 Advanced D&D Dungeon Master Guides, 2 Fiend Folios, 3 years worth of Dragon Magazine, 4 AD&D Player’s Manuals, Basic D&D sets 1, 2 and 3, and an inch worth of paper comprising characters and hand made, graph-paper dungeon maps made in the early to mid 80’s, various non-D&D RPG paraphernalia (Paranoia, Gamma World, Twilight 2000)1
– A dozen comics compilations: B.C., Heathcliff, Garfield, and others I don’t even recognize anymore
– The dredges of my grandmother’s Sci-Fi paperback collection
– My college footlocker, complete with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off sticker

Things discovered and not thrown out:

– Wedding dress (worn once)
– Wedding night nightgown (worn once)
– 6 jillion Georgia Shakespeare sweatshirts
– a 3 gallon bucket filled with crayons (needs to be returned to Imagine It! Children’s Museum)

There’s a wheelbarrow with Tools With No Home that will require some shelving, and a 5×8 foot area full of stuff that needs to be 1-800-GotJunk’d, but otherwise it’s a work of art.

steakums unloaded 3 garbage bags full of baby girl clothes off on two friends expecting 3 girls between them.

I cleared off 4 or 5 shelves of books in our IKEA IVAR shelving to make room for putting our computer center there, and making the kitchen eating area free of computer desk induced clutter.

Most of the books will be put up for sale in our planned May 24th yard sale, and those that don’t go then will be paperbackswap’d or trashed.

If we can keep up the momentum, we’ll be clutter-free in no time. Or rather, 5 or 6 weeks. Which is no time on the geologic scale.

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1 Lest you think I bought all these, they came out of a bunch of boxes that belong to my brother that he left when he moved out. By the look of things, all of his friends left their D&D and other gaming stuff to him, probably when they were de-cluttering.

In Anticipation of Cleaning and Other Random Statements Regarding the Future, With Blame

I am really way more excited about the cleaning and organizing tasks scheduled for this weekend than I should be. I blame the inspiration of unclutterer.com.

This weekend we will be babysitting two very large dogs. I blame my brother.

If anyone was planning on catching the penpenultimate Uncle Grampa’s tomorrow, know that I will not be in it. You may possibly take this as extra encouragement to show up. I wouldn’t blame you.

RocketBoy’s playdate with his 4th grade friend was canceled due to a sudden scheduling conflict. I blame her mother.

We’re going to do a yard sale on May 24th. If you are in the Atlanta area and have some items you wish to dispose of in a non-online way, you have only yourself to blame if you do not contact us about it.

The steady drip… drip… drip… of a book

I came across DailyLit via unclutterer.com.

Essentially, you can buy an e-book (looks like they’re around $5), but it comes to you in little email installments, at a frequency you set. This is for people who don’t have time to read a book, but do read lots of email everyday. You almost fool yourself into reading a book.

The catch seems to be that they don’t have much in the way of selection, only about 750 titles available. But, you could knock out one of the 422 public domain classics for free.

Anniversaries and Unnatural Acts

We went to Murphy’s for our anniversary and had a pretty good meal, and then walked around Virginia Highland for a while. Sometimes it’s nice to walk aimlessly, with nowhere in particular to be.

We walked by a stone, 5 bedroom house that had been for sale when I was buying my first home umpity-ump years ago. At the time, the ~$230k price was well out of my range. I briefly toyed with the idea of talking my parents into going in with me on an investment and renting out the rooms, but decided against it for purposes of being financially independent. I’m sure that was a horrible mistake now. Live and learn.

I’ve been looking into how best to get RocketBoy started in reading, and came across this quote on readingrockets.org:

It has long been argued that learning to read, like learning to understand spoken language, is a natural phenomenon. It has often been suggested that children will learn to read if they are simply immersed in a literacy-rich environment and allowed to develop literacy skills in their own way. This belief that learning to read is a natural process that comes from rich text experiences is surprisingly prevalent in education despite the fact that learning to read is about as natural as learning to juggle blindfolded while riding a unicycle backwards. Simply put, learning to read is not only unnatural, it is just about the most unnatural thing humans do. (Emphasis mine)

It can’t be as unnatural as that one trick with the whipped cream and the cucumb… er, never mind.

Scout slept through the night! It’s not like it’s the first time or anything, but I feel the need to celebrate it when it does.

As a result of a 2 hour cleaning and organizing binge, everything in the family room now has a place. Which means we can (belatedly) start teaching the kids to put things away on a regular basis. Previously, the effort was doomed to failure because really, you couldn’t put everything away. You could just put lots of things away in random locations, and pile the remaining stuff in the corner.

Scout is a delight when it comes to cleaning. She loves putting things away, just as much as she likes taking them out and throwing them around. She is perfectly happy to do either, or both. And being allowed to throw something in the garbage can is like Christmas to this girl. In fact, for Christmas, we should get her her own garbage can with lid. The trash, she will create herself.

This, of course, presumes that she makes it to next Christmas, because she seems hell-bent on killing herself by plummeting from a height. She is spider-man in tiny overalls.

As special volunteer to the Fish Tank Committee, I aided RocketBoy in the addition of two more goldfish to the big tank, where his fish Kissy has taken permanent residence. The new fish (Andro and Pandro1) are Kissy’s adopted parents, and RocketBoy spent the rest of Saturday lobbying for the addition of cousins, or at least grandparents.

Saturday was possibly the worst Uncle Grampa’s Hoo-Dilly Storytime ever, where we portrayed the three bears as a dysfunctional, unpleasant and possibly abusive family. During which the monkey turned dysfunctional, unpleasant and abusive to Larry Lederhosen, because of Larry’s poor character choice in his portrayal of papa bear. Hopefully, we can put that one behind us and make the last 3 shows (ever?) much, much better.

Whilst trying to come up with cost-efficient solutions to some household storage issues, I came across two way-cool blogs: unclutterer and ikeahacker.

From ikeahacker, I like the secret passageway bookcase, the roll away cat litter box and the 2007 best-of turtle terrarium.

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1 I have no idea where these names came from. Also, the fish family’s last name is Green, after a family from a book RocketBoy recently read that had nothing to do with fish whatsoever.