Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Corn Starch Conundrum-

Corn starch. Unless you are unusually active in the kitchen, you only need it once in a while. When you need it, though, you need it.

For some of us it is easier to find it at the store than to remember where it was last seen in the kitchen. Little used, and not particularly large, these little packages get pushed back to those odd corners of kitchen cabinets, perhaps to never be seen again.

At least, until some member of the family has a lot more time on his hands than he once did. Organizing the pantry seemed a good idea. I have given it a great deal more order than it had, but I did come across a bit of corn starch. And some old yeast. And a lot of those potato flakes.

I do watch some cooking shows. Those well planned and well ordered kitchens are a dream. Then again, so are those lovely homes featured in so many home related magazines. Rooms that are neat, tidy, and not really lived in. Kind of like movie sets. Hey, cooking shows are done on movie sets!

For the most part I think it is not a bad thing to let the store do the organizing and storage. It really isn't that far, whether grocery store or hardware store. They can store the meat, and screws, and chard, and wood glue. I only need a little, once in a while.

They can mind the corn starch for me, as well.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"I got a key!"

I was in the bathroom (always a great way to start a story) when I heard a scrabbling at the door. I live in a house with six adults, three (and sometimes four) children, four cats and an ancient dog. Scrabbling at the bathroom door is not unusual.

I opened the door. My cherubic grandson, Wyatt, was at his most cherubic. He held up a key. "I got a key!" he said. Wyatt is not given to much verbalization, so I took this at face value. I could see Wyatt. I could see the key. "I don't think that your key will work on the bathroom door." I said. He grinned and ran off.

Later Wyatt went with Mom and Grandma and his little brother Lucas. They were going to Target. I was working in the kitchen. I finished in the kitchen. I decided to go back to the bedroom where I kept my desktop computer. Oh, my laptop was in there, as well. And my phone! And here is the door, locked! I didn't have a key for this door!

Yes, I suspect Wyatt wanted to try out his key, and this was the door on which he tried. I doubt that it worked. After all, I was locked out.

No problem. I had learned a little trick some time ago. That little board to the right of the knob, against which the door closes? It can be pried loose with very little damage, if you take care. I did so. Pushing a flat knife blade in I tried to disengage the lock tongue. No luck. I tried. I tried some more. Then I quit. Time for more serious measures.

In this case it was a sheet rock saw. Yep. You can just push one of those through a hollow core door. I did. A little sawing and I had a hand sized hole. Reach in, open the lock. Now just some duct tape and it is good as new. Good as new if you really like duct tape, that is.

Now I have access to my computer, and something to blog about.

Have fun, and watch out for small boys with keys.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More technology, more learning-

Well, part of the learning here is that I just can't seem to cut and paste as I would like into this editor. The lesson? Perhaps I should do a lot of my blog writing here.

That, however, is the issue. I am learning to use my Samsung netbook. Small, portable, somewhat limited but great for staying on the Internet and grabbing wifi sites. I want to be able to write in any location, however, not just net linked locations. Blogger is on the net, and so is not a first choice for my editor.

Also, I want to be able to write my novels, short stories, blogs and such anywhere using this nice little machine. So, I must master my software and do a bit of writing.

To initiate my Microsoft Office Suite trial package I had to connect this machine by cable. It went well, but I was not made confident by the necessity. Can I trust it out in the field? Time shall tell.

I tried the Notepad program for plain text editing, copying the text and pasting to Facebook and MySpace. It would not paste here. I had to do a lot of editing in the other editors to finish, and even so the MySpace copy was not well formatted.

I have a lot to learn. I don't mind. Learning is fun. I suspect I will find this little Samsung my constant companion, and the platform for some interesting work.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A mindset of poverty-

I have determined that I have a mind-set of poverty. Not “Woe is me!” poverty. Monkish poverty. The poverty of a priest or supplicant. A philosophy of poverty, the opposite of a philosophy of wealth.

This philosophy has been mine a long time. I recall that my mother warned my wife (before we were married) that I had gotten by on very little for quite some time. It seems I have never required much.

There have been times I have studied philosophies of wealth and wealth builders. Not people of avarice, but people who respect wealth and the things wealth can bring. My motivation was generally wanting to provide well for my family.

Such study never came to much. I simply do not value property and acquisition the way such people do. I see the things I possess largely as tools for living, to be used and appreciated but not valuable as things in themselves. When a tool no longer serves the purpose for which it is intended, it is time to be rid of the thing. Dull and broken tools are simply an incumbrance, and life is better unencumbered.

For the sake of my family I have often put aside my monkish ways, and sought material things to meet their needs. Many of those needs require more than a minimum of possessions, and so we have acquired more than I feel the need to have. I often feel encumbered.

I do not mind. My family has provided me with a focus and an anchor. An anchor in the sense of that useful nautical element that prevents drifting at sea. Focus as opposed to unfocused rambling. I am inclined toward drifting through the world, observing and contemplating but not contributing to any great degree. A vagabond existential priest, a monk of the moment. The love of my family gives my life form and definition.

Family can also be an expression of faith. My drift brought me into the Christian faith, and working out that faith brought me to family and church. Within the limits of my nature I have tried to be faithful to family and church, and am content with how it all has worked out.

I am not always sure how my family feels. Perhaps they have longed for designer jeans, horse riding lessons and private schools. I don’t recall any mention of such things. I am not privy to their more secret longings. I have done my best, and they seem content.

Such thoughts are mine right now because I am working through my plans for my next career. Can my longing to drift a bit be somehow satisfied at this point in my life? My family is still with me, and has needs. Still, they are not so dependant upon me as once they were.

The tools of our modern era increase the temptation to pull up the anchor and drift. Electronic readers allow one to carry whole libraries in one hand. Computers and cell phones keep anyone as connected as they might want to be, and still free to see what is beyond the horizon. See, and report on it.

Can I get a tweet on that?

With such tools I could drift with few possessions, yet have great wealth of knowledge and information.

Now that’s what I call poverty!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Learning Curve-

I purchased a Samsung N130 Netbook computer today. I really felt ubergeek using it along side my desktop. Actually, I was just configuring the little thing while checking my reader and my email. Still, it felt pretty uber.

It felt so uber that I wrote it up. Then I came here to paste the document and found a bit of trouble. Not yet sure what, but I can't seem to paste into this document. Something more to learn.

I selected this Samsung for the price (under $300) and the size. It is small enough to take with me just about everywhere. I have the flexibility of going online in more places, and I can work on writing more often. It is far from a power house, but it is a useful tool and not particularly costly.

My desktop will probably need to be replaced in two more years. I expect to get a larger format laptop for a main computer, and this little rig will be my knock-about take anywhere machine. Until then the desktop will remain, my primarily gaming machine and general work horse.

I was tempted to get a nook book reader, but they are hard to find and this really is more useful. I may not have the free cash when a nook becomes available, but I think I can work it out when the time is right.

A Nintendo DSi was also tempting. However, I game on my desktop machine, and we have a Wii in the house. Though some DS games are tempting, I just don't really have the time. I can game quite a bit, but I do need to do a few other things.

Like write. Oh, and I do need to find a job.