Smallhouse Log

Thursday, second week of Winter session

Went as a family to see Paddington 2 for Chloe's birthday. I think that it may be my new favorite prison movie. While I thought the first one was lackluster but acceptable, I have to say that this movie is that rare sequel which not only stands on its own but rather surpasses its predecessor. I was laughing out loud at many points, scenes were visually stunning, and all the actors were superb throughout.

Homeownership continues to take its toll, but on the whole, I prefer it to renting. With another three-day weekend coming up tomorrow, I'm scheming already about which projects I'll tackle next. I suppose cleaning up and organizing the basement (again!) is somewhat a prerequisite to handling other projects effectively, but I suppose there's nothing stopping me from handling those other project ineffectively. I actually made some significant progress yesterday on clearing out the first floor, so I may as well capitalize on that to really get something done. I'd like to have the winterization finished by the time it's no longer needed, after all.

Work is terrible, my health is terrible, and I have so many creative projects smoldering that I can't seem to get to. Not that I'm stagnating... it's more that the things I'm getting done are more important or I like them more, but I still want to be able to blow everything off and concentrate on something that is just for my own satisfaction. I'm too pragmatic for that, though. I have to be. I'm not hurting, just wistful.

But if I found a winning lottery ticket on the ground I might just quit my job and dick around for a few months. Who wouldn't?

Monday, fifth week after Summer Lab

Well, we bought the house, the contractors took six months to do two months of work and didn't finish it all, we moved in anyway as soon as the plumbing and stairs were done. The name of this blog has become more relevant, we got a new internet provider, and I fenced the backyard.

Lemme break and talk about that for a hot minute, because my backyard in garbage. Like, it is composed of garbage. Literally. For a foot down, it's a hearty casserole of half-bricks, shards of plate glass, old rugs, bagged trash, carparts, plastic bits, chunks of cement, and rocks that aren't native to Illinois; all with a thin interstice of dirt to hold it together. Plus the tree roots, but you're gonna have that. Sinking the fence posts, it took me twice as long to dig the first foot as to dig the next two together. Further digging has show that this is less the case within the bounds of where the previous fence lay, but still. It's like landfill. But I have a beautiful new fence and a whole lot of pride of ownership.

There's so much more to do. And so much more to write about what has been done, what needs to be done, and how excited the whole family is about it. But right now, I need to go to work.

If you'll excuse me.

Third Sunday after the Epiphany

A brief history of the last few weeks: Yesterday, I attended the Chicago Womens March with my wife, daughters, and about a quarter million others. I am almost done buying us a house, probably. I need to get another job. I made a personal proverb generator and then tinkered with it extensively. Mostly, we've been sick, all of us, unceasingly. Christmas with with all the members of my family, though not all at once. I am trying to build a new PC, and having a LOT of trouble with it; most recent analysis suggests that the CPU is just defective. I've stood up against a lot of racist and otherwise bigoted remarks rather than let them pass unremarked. I finally beat Rogue Legacy and then beat the increasingly hard aftergame modes in quick succession.

Most recently, I completely forgot what I came here to write about.

Wednesday before Thanksgiving
"Let's say your heart is made of gasoline, okay?" -Anthony, pd

I've been experimenting with cutting myself off from the Facebook in the wake of the election, and I find it really improves my mood. After reading a blog post about the deleterious effects of social media on attention and focus (apparently blogging isn't social media?) I'm considering giving it up altogether, or perhaps doing a check-in one day a week only. Because I've noticed, too, the addictive, distracting qualities of the medium. I mean, sometimes, I'll be browsing my news feed and think, this is boring, let's see what's happening on facebook and start to type in the address while I'm already on the site! Clearly, there is a problem.

Does this mean more blogging for me? Maybe. I'm not sure what it means, until I do it and see what of social media I miss.

It may mean a looooooot more song lyric posts.

Wednesday, fifth week after Summer Lab

So there's some controversy right now about a footballer who sat silently through the National Anthem in protest. Not protesting the Anthem, though now that I've read a bit about Francis Scott Key's Opus it's clear that we could do with a better one; rather, protesting the state of injustice our nation has tolerated and is still being tolerated today. Specifically: "There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

If anyone has successfully shut themselves off completely from their news shunt and needs this explained, he's talking about extralegal killings (y'know... murders) by on-duty police officers, and the (to put it lightly) less-than-satisfactory response thereto by the police departments overseeing them. It's a problem. Right now, for a lot of people, it is the problem, because it's the one most likely to get someone they know killed. Black men need to be wary of the police, and ever since the Dallas sniper, officers just doing their duty are worried they could be killed for someone else's bad actions. Really, it's both groups that need to be worried because they could be targeted for someone else's bad actions.

Now, I can admit my understanding of things isn't perfect. I don't put my life on the line in a blue uniform so that my fellow citizens can live in safety. As a blue-eyed white male over six feet tall with great hair, I get discriminated for, not against, and learning all the legion of insidious ways such discrimination happens has been a painful and lengthy journey that I am not nearly done with. Not as painful as, you know, actually living through it on the other side of things literally from birth. But I can still resent that discrimination against my neighbors, and the harm it does both to individuals and our society. And yeah, I'm gonna protest, and yeah, if I had a platform like Kaepernick I can hope that I'd have the guts to take a stand (well, sit) and face whatever backlash came my way. As to the man himself, well, he made a lot of people angry. But he knew what he was doing, and he knew what it could mean for his career: "If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." I respect his bravery and will try to follow his example.

As to the form his protest has taken... honestly, I don't like when people sit during the Anthem. It really tears me up. I used to work in a sports bar, and every time the Anthem played I would pause somewhere out of the way and place my hand on my heart, which made me feel a little silly when I was the only one doing it. And while I've mentally castigated these unpatriotic bargoers hundreds of times, I bet they get a free pass from those criticizing Kaepernick today. Me, I'd rather have a hundred thousand athletes intentionally protesting during the Anthem because they want a more just society than see even one more "sports fan" treating it like elevator music because they can't be arsed to put down their burger and stand up for three minutes.

A lot of other, better, and certainly more concise comparisons have been made. But this is what I think, and I thought it needed to be said.

Saturday, second week after Summer Lab
"I see things in this restaurant that I've previously only seen in an Ohio airport." -Mark Gallagher, pd

Summer Lab is over, a good year but a hard one. I kept my files more organized than ever before, though there's still work to be done there. Got a lot of things on my to-do list, now, though since everyone's been sick the whole last two weeks, it seems like no additional time in which to do them. Ugh.

I'm sick, too, so should probably stop typing before I start complaining.

Friday, fourth week of Summer Lab

...because 'the season after Pentecost' stops being a useful marker after a while.

Not much more organized. Definitely not better slept. A few better parties. And in nutrition news, there seems to be a whole slew of new things I just can't eat, which is... fun. Fortunately, it seems to mostly be things I shouldn't eat anyway, and now I have a much more immediate reason not to eat them. Involuntary improvement.

Too tired and disorganized to remember what I came here to discuss. Perhaps later.