I know I haven’t done a grab bag kind of post since something like mid-January, and up to that point they had been the format of choice for Saturdays, not only because they were thrown together quickly at home rather than at leisurely length in cubicleville, but because in general they collected the stray thoughts which occurred to me throughout the week and were significant enough to jot down but not big enough to support the weight of standalone weekday entries. As it happens I have a number of downright semi-feral thoughts yowling around in my head right now, and the weekly schedule is basically a non-issue at this point so I might as well go wildly off the rails. Let’s see if I can hit all the Areas of Interest a normal week’s worth of blogging would cover, all in a single lightning round!
Monday (Work) – It’s understood that this week is basically a loss, right? Between Monday being a holiday and yesterday being a sick day (hence no new post round here), not to mention my boss being out of the office for the entire back half of the week, there simply hasn’t been and won’t be the critical mass of consecutive work hours I would need to really get much of anything done. I had vague thoughts, no doubt spurred at least partly by the beginning of a new, clean-slated month, that I would really diligently get organized and get stuff done this week, but no. Ah well, there’s always next week.
Of course next week is a short week, too, but has a couple of different elements in its favor. I’ll be working three days in a row, Monday through Wednesday, and I won’t be caught by surprise missing work, since the root cause (trip to my brother-in-law’s wedding requiring a Thursday morning departure) has been known for a long long time by now. So hopefully I can get a modicum of productivity out of my time in the office next week. I’m also taking the following Monday as a travel day, so the week after next is shortened by one as well. Of course by then four consecutive days in the office will feel like a marathon. And the (presumably) uninterrupted five-day work week of June 20th through 24th? I honestly don’t even know how that’s going to go down.
Tuesday (Free-for-all) – Hey we ordered a new computer for the house! So maybe Saturday Grab Bags and Scanner Sundays will make a comeback as well. It’s really not much of a thrilling tale to tell at all, since it simply entailed going to Dell’s website and finding a decently-priced desktop and then saying “no” to absolutely every peripheral and add-on offered during the customization process, which was kind of amusing until they got all the way down to surge protectors and then, really, come on. I’m mainly psyched about being able to get iTunes incorporated into my entertainment-consumption arsenal again, and possibly looking into this whole “streaming video” thing the kids are all talking about. Updates to follow.
Wednesday (Dork Day) – Earlier this week, in an effort to head off what I sensed was an imminent temper tantrum a’brewing in the little guy’s savage breast, I trotted out good old Castle Grayskull for him to play with. Of course, the definition of “play” becomes somewhat limited when applied to a piece of architecture, so I also handed over a couple of my older action figures which are already not in the greatest shape, a Spider-Man and a Cyclops (the X-Man; sadly I do not have any Greek mythology action figures, though now of course I can’t get that idea out of my head). A genre-respecting purist like me, you might very well think, would be much more inclined to give the little guy the appropriate techno-wizards, barbarians and monsters in action figure form to romp through Castle Grayskull, as opposed to modern superheroes, but the thing is we don’t have any He-Man figures in the house (with the exception of a dismembered Evil-Lyn, who came along with the Castle as bequeathed by the little guy’s uncle, but whose pelvic elastics did not survive prolonged storage in my in-laws attic, apparently).
All this got me thinking, though, about action figures which would be both genre- and scale-appropriate for the playset in question (He-Man figures really were a distinctive shape and size) and the possibility of making use of eBay to find a few second-hand toys with which to populate the castle. Even at non-collector’s prices, though, clearly I’m not going to order up all forty or fifty of the Masters of the Universe. Seven – a few good guys, a few bad guys – seems like a more reasonably-sized starter set. But which seven? That was the question I e-mailed to various friends this week, and the answers I got back were interesting enough to provoke further rumination that could occupy a month of Wednesdays here on the blog. So that’s exactly what’s going to happen! Next Wednesday and for every Wednesday in June, I’ll be attempting to make sense of the world of He-Man and Skeletor and how I might (or possibly even if I should) pass that portion of my geek heritage down to the next generation.
Meanwhile the comics blogosphere is blowing up because DC Comics announced a plan to start renumbering all their titles at #1, and perform a certain amount of premise-reworking along the way. I’ve pretty well phased out of collecting individual monthly comics anymore, so I can’t even summon up a reaction to this one way or the other. But I felt it appropriate, this being a Grab Bag and all, to at least acknowledge that I’m aware of the news.
Thursday (My family) – The little guy seems to be turning a corner lately in the communication department, getting closer and closer to the point where he no longer needs me or his mother to act as a translator between him and the world at large. He can string together complete, coherent and reasonably well-enunciated sentences when he addresses complete strangers, as for example when I recently took him along to the dry cleaners and (after I spent most of the car trip answering his “why?” questions about dry cleaners) he confidently entered the establishment, looked the owner in the eye, and said “We’re here to get my daddy’s work shirts cleaned!” The owner was suitably impressed.
But he hasn’t completely left baby-talk malapropisms and spoonerisms behind. As a special grab-bag-within-a-grab-bag, I now present a rapid-fire collection of his Darndest Things:
-Calling melons “lemons” (and yesterday offering me a pretend melon and saying “here daddy this lemon will make your tummy feel better”)
-Calling mustaches “mushrooms” (this is pretty much my all-time favorite)
-Calling volleyball “bollyball” (which momentarily gave me visions of competitive full-contact elaborately costumed dance numbers, but alas no)
-Somehow re-inventing the words to B-I-N-G-O as “B! I! Bumpy-O!” (really not much I can add to that one)
-Renaming Doc Hudson from Cars as “Doc Husband” (In all fairness, my wife and I do everything in our power to encourage that one)
His sister, of course, is still as pre-verbal as you would expect a normal almost-eight-week-old to be, but she does have a really impressively attention-grabbing grunt. We’re also getting familiar enough with her various other random noises and semi-vocalizations to try transliterating some of them; our fave so far is a high-pitched “mowrf” which is just a lot of fun to say.
Friday (Random Anecdote) – Surely it would be reckless and foolhardy to waste a perfectly good random anecdote right here when I’ll be expected to come up with another one tomorrow, right? Actually I plan on dedicating tomorrow’s space to something specific which may only be tangentially anecdote-worthy, but I still need to pace myself, so perhaps I’ll go a bit meta here.
My wife and I watched another of the 30 for 30 documentaries over the holiday weekend: The U, about the rise and fall of the University of Miami football program, which was produced by the media studio Rakontur. The doc itself is great and I ate up its entire double-length running time including the closing credits and then went back for the special features. But somewhere near the end of those credits, I had a minor epiphany.
“Raconteur” is one of those words that I’ve applied to myself ever since I developed any interest in self-definition (along with “bon vivant” and “sybarite” and a few others) more or less to try to class up the fact that I just like to have a good time; I know I have a better chance of being remembered as “life of the party” or “always up for anything” than “doctor” or “senator” or “Nobel Peace Prize winner” or whathaveyou, so I might as well be able to bandy about a few good (albeit pretentious, perhaps) terms for my state of being.
And yet apparently all this time I’ve misunderstood what “raconteur” means. For some reason I always associated it with “rake” in the “a man habituated to immoral conduct” sense (which goes more to prove once again beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am a liberal arts nerd) and beyond that I guess I just liked the sound of it enough to not think about it too deeply beyond that (see “mowrf” above). But of course the Rakontur logo, at the end of the documentary’s credits, included a definition of the word raconteur which (thudding facepalm) means “one who is skilled at recounting stories”. Even though it doesn’t mention random anecdotes specifically, this is actually is good news because I have to admit at this stage in my life I’d much rather be known for spinning a good yarn than for wasting my inheritance on gambling and whoring and bouncing from debtors’ prison to the insane asylum.
(Although I do have a soft spot for gambling.)
(No inheritance to speak of, though.)
(But the whoring is definitely right out. Yikes.)