skjam: (Communications)
Family celebration was on Sunday. Got a Lunds gift card, which I used today to purchase a fancy cake for work.

Actually did get a thank-you note for the United Way basket I made! A pleasant shock. I won the "first basket turned in" award, but there doesn't seem to be any actual prize involved.

I know a couple of people on my friends pages read novels about quirky Southern women. If this is you, please see my previous post.

Second person got their mix cds in for the exchange, so that's furthest away and closest. Two more to go.

Oldest niece is going back to college, this time at Mankato State. I mentioned that this was where I learned to play D&D lo these many years ago. (Biked over from Bethany Lutheran, or walked sometimes.) Man, I miss being able to walk three hours across town after midnight without being scared half to death.

Middle niece will be attending junior high in the fall.

Still waiting for "One For the Money". Saw "Brave," liked it.

How's by you?
skjam: (Imnanna)
First off, both parents are out of the hospital and doing well at home. Huzzah!

This last weekend was Anime Detour, with the theme of "It Came From Japan."

Due to poor timing, I wound up in the Crowne Plaza hotel, so it was shuttle buses for me back and forth. This didn't work too well on Friday, as the shuttle driver got stuck in traffic coming back from the airport and had both shuttles' keys on him so the backup driver couldn't substitute. Things were moving much more smoothly by Sunday and checkout time. One of these years, I'll have to actually eat in the Plaza's restaurant.

Most exciting new thing this year was Otaku Speed Dating. Separate events for gay and hetero folks, to reduce confusion. To no one's surprise, guys outnumbered gals in line for the one I went to, and some had to be turned away. The room was relatively small and the acoustics were not suitable for about eighty people all talking at the same time. One minute per candidate, change seats.

I had more (very short) conversations with women in that one hour than I've had over the last three Anime Detours. Those of you who've known me for a while are aware that while I'm not particularly shy, painful experience has made it difficult for me to engage women I haven't been introduced to in conversation. Being given explicit permission to do so helped immensely.

Sadly, I got not one single "match"--not too surprising given I was at least a decade older than anyone else in the room, and the...other problems. Still very disappointing. I got a consolation email with pictures of puppies and kittens.

Most interesting normal panel was "Weeaboos Then and Now", talking about Japanophilia as it was in Victorian times, now, and some points inbetween.

Some nice AMVs as always--this year the contest broke up the showing order of the nominees a bit for better flow. NO WTF video contest this year, apparently.

I skipped the formal cosplay, most amusing hall costume I saw was someone as Amu from Shugo Chara, with three dolls representing her Charas hovering above her shoulder on wires.

Weather was cooler than expected, though it did warm up by Sunday evening when I left.

This coming week is Minicon, look forward to seeing some of you there.
skjam: (Communications)
Dad's having heart problems, and the doctors have decided to put in a pacemaker. For some reason, he will be having it done in Duluth, which I can't reach so easily. Hope Dad can make it through....
skjam: (Communications)
I took the day off as my mother was down at a local hospital having pacemaker surgery done.

It went well enough, but the hospital will be keeping her overnight.
skjam: (gasgun)
Those of you seeing this on Dreamwidth will get to see a new icon courtesy of [personal profile] djinni, who is having another free icon day on his LJ right now.

Speaking of which, if you are jumping from LJ to DW and still want to read my stuff, be sure and link up. Also, I wound up getting a lot more prompts for my microfic day on DW this time, so you may want to check it out.

Am heading home for the holiday, hope my folks will hold up okay.

One of the authors of "Board to Death" contacted me via my review of that book on Goodreads, and asked for some clarification. Nice to know someone actually reads these things!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Good to see the folks again, though the nephew and oldest niece couldn't make it. The latter will probably be sorry she missed the ice cream cake.

Frank Merriwell's School DaysFrank Merriwell's School Days by Burt L. Standish

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This is the first of the long-running and once-famous Frank Merriwell series of exciting books for teenaged boys.



Young Frank wasn't quite able to make it into West Point (politics), so he has come to the slightly less prestigious Fardale Military Academy to get an education. No sooner has he alighted from the train than he crosses paths with Bartley Hodge, a spoiled and rather vicious lad, who swiftly becomes his rival. (We know Bart's a bad 'un because he kicks a dog in the second sentence of the book.)



From there on in, there's a whirlwind of exciting events with a fight or rescue or startling turn of events almost every chapter. This does, however, make the book not so much have a climactic ending as just a stopping point.



Frank's a likable young chap, accomplished in many areas, handsome, not given to vice (but not through a tiresome goody-goody personality) and an all-round decent fellow. Perhaps a bit too decent for his own safety, but he's also got some amazing luck. Even so, Frank is not invincible, he is outdone more than once, and suffers several temporary setbacks.



Ethnic humor is provided by two boys, one of Irish descent and the other of Dutch, both of whom have ridiculous accents and act stereotypically "foreign." They're good guys, though, so the humor never gets truly mean. The setting of a boys' school reduces female roles considerably, but we do have "buxom" farmer's daughter Belinda Snodd, who is quite capable of handling unwanted advances even without Franks' intervention, and dark-eyed Inza Burrage, a jolly girl that Frank and Bart both fancy. Inza's much more the damsel in distress type, I fear, and it is due to her that Frank gets a medal of honor from the US Congress about halfway through the book.



Yes, that's right, the awarding of a Congressional medal of honor to Frank isn't even the big ending of the volume!



Suitable for older teens, especially boys, who are interested in what life was like more than a century ago and are willing to slog through the awful comedy accents.



View all my reviews
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Christmas happened. It was good to see the family again, and much fun was had. The gift I gave out that seemed the most awesome was a volume of Amerlia Rules for the youngest niece. She was already halfway through when it came time for her to leave.

They'd changed the bus schedules so my bus back to the Cities left about noon; the folks and I had brunch in the Banning Junction cafe. Sadly, it seems that business is down, and that part of the restaurant is now closed and looking for someone to rent.

Snow and cold continue to dominate the weather.

I missed getting a room in the Sheraton for ConVergence; the room committee has acknowledged my request for a Sofitel room, but no guarantees, and I won't find out for a while if it took. I do have a room for Anime Detour though.

Work is tolerable. My supervisor went to Nicaragua for a couple of weeks and brought back souvenirs; I'll be regifting the coffee.

Oh, and back to Christmas for the moment, I sent out all the wishlist items, finally. I hope everyone got them okay. I was very pleased with several mix CDs, some candy, books and so forth. Thanks, internet!

For hobby stuff, I have been "liveblogging" the Republic movie serial "Zorro's Fighting Legion" over on the TV Tropes website. Take a look: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/lb_i.php?lb_id=12921152820B27780100&i_id=12921152820I27781900&p=1
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Have sent out quite a few of the surprises for the folks on [community profile] holiday_wishes and [community profile] wish_list. I know at least a few of them have arrived because the recepients have said so, and one definitely did not. (Gonna have to look into that.)

Need to wrap the presents I'm giving family members, and figure out who I've got left to shop for. My parents have asked for giving to a good cause this year, so that one's easy.

Made a couple of posts on Scans Daily, which is having a big December event.

Work goes okay.

Still trying to lose weight. Valiantly resisting my usual habit of buying cartons of egg nog and drinking them at a single sitting, but man I love egg nog. Exercise getting even harder to get around to with onset of snow, ice and frigid air.

Have received one package so far this season, I know who it's from and approximately what it might be, but am saving opening it for a little closer to Christmas. Also, my brother's family holiday letter.

Hope all of you are as well as can be expected, and keeping warm.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
I hope your day is filled with warmth and good feelings.

Been busy with the wishing communities, have gotten the first few surprises out--and a couple have already arrived! (Perhaps just a little *too* early Christmas ;)

The family is out to a restaurant this year, to save wear and tear on relatives.

Still alive

Nov. 9th, 2010 09:25 pm
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Well, life has been pretty blah lately, and somehow I never got around to posting....

Most exciting thing was youngest niece's birthday. I gave her a doll I picked up at ConVergence, Zoe Raccoon. Which is Zoe from "Firefly" if she were an anthropomorphic raccoon. Quite good quality, handmade, and I got it for a song. I think the grownups were more impressed than the niece, with much oohing over the handstiching, fabric choices, and the posable fingers.

Also, I provided a CD of spooky songs for Halloween. It was my brother's first exposure to Jonathan Coulton's hit "Re: Your Brains." Don't know if he'll let the niece listen to that again or not.

Went to see "Megamind" this last weekend; it was okay, but I don't think kids will like it as much as "Despicable Me".

Looking forward to the opening of the Holiday Wishes community--money's a bit tighter this year so I won't be able to send as many surprises, but I've already laid in some supplies for those I can.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Yep, my folks' 50th Anniversary party was this weekend.

I came down the day before and helped make nametags, though I fear I spent most of the afternoon napping--so tired these days. We ate at Banning Junction to try out their "Oriental buffet." It was okay, considering it's a small town family restaurant. The sesame shrimp was much milder than most places in the city make it (not surprising) but the lo mein was very disappointing--they used a noodle recipe that was way too floury and made the noodles clump together.

The day of the party, the other immediate family came down and everything was moved over to the golf course clubhouse. Attendance was good, with many relatives, my mom's old schoolmates and work colleagues, and such of Dad's old buddies as are still around. A few folks couldn't make it, and sent their regrets or visited the next day.

I spent the early part of the party manning the door; it was lovely weather, sunny but not too hot and a good breeze. There was a small golf tournament the same day, plus the regular golfers. One fellow asked me to bring in his rental drink cooler for him--he was wearing just swim trunks, tennis shoes and baseball cap and hadn't realized there were going to be a bunch of people in the clubhouse when he got back.

Mom and Dad appeared to be in good spirits and not too tired after the party, though we had to wrap it up earlier than some would have liked due to there being a class reunion coming in a couple of hours later.

I caught a ride back to the Cities with my nephew, who is back at security work. We swapped "easily penetratable security" stories.

Sunday I spent considering choices from the heroines_fest LJ community, and doing research and an initial outline of the story prompt I picked.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
There have been a couple of deaths in my extended family recently.

My older niece and nephew's paternal grandfather died a couple of weeks ago. Also, a cousin's four-year-old child unexpectedly passed away.

I wasn't close to either of them, but it is a bit saddening.


In other news, Project L is getting closer.

Hope you are well.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
As I've mentioned before, my parents' 50th wedding anniversary is coming up in a little while. Since they don't want gold, I thought it would be nice to see if I could get something special for them for the occassion.

My parents have not been able to travel much this last little while; sixty miles is now a huge trip for them. So I thought since they can't get out to places, it might be nice for a bit of the places to go to them.

What I'd like any of you who feel like participating to do is send a picture postcard of your hometown, or the nearest touristy thing if you don't think your town is postcard-worthy. And perhaps a congratulatory message, since fifty years married is something of an achievement these days.

address )

Disclaimer: This is not associated with any charitable or non-profit organization, does not give you chances to win prizes, will not cause rich people to donate money, and does not involve a dying child.

Let your friends know, if you think they might be interested, and see how wide a net is cast!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Way behind on news, but two bits: My parents' 50th Anniversary is coming up this fall. The family is having a small party at the Sandstone Golf Course, if you know anyone who should be contacted.

Coming up sooner is my birthday, so here's the now traditional Amazon Wish List:
https://www.amazon.com/wishlist/3TV5UMA84N51R/ref=cm_reg_rd-upd?_encoding=UTF8&msgid=updated

I liked it better when they had little buttons you could put on.

By the by, anyone tried this "universal Wish List" thing Amazon keeps pushing? Is it worthwhile, or does it just make your browser window smaller?

Peter Pan

Mar. 27th, 2010 10:46 pm
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
So, Friday night I went to see middle niece's school play, "Peter Pan." She played an Amazon warrior. Some of you may be wondering where Amazons come in. Well, it turns out that they're Tiger Lily's people, what used to be "Red Indians." (And it's also a neat way of dealing with the fact that the production had a lot more girls than boys.)

Since St. John's is a Catholic school, another departure from the usual text was the inclusion of "the Lost Priests" who had a brief scene with corny old priest/young priest jokes.

The most polished performance was the girl who played Tinkerbell, who very obviously had dance training. She was kind of stiff for the monologue they gave her, but the physical acting was very good.

We missed my sister, who is in the hospital at the moment, hope she gets well soon.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
New Year's Eve was spent preparing for the trip, and early to bed.

On New Year's Day, I hitched a ride with my brother's family up to Sandstone for the belated Christmas celebration. We had waffles and other good food for brunch.

Then it was present time, with the littlest niece already having sorted the packages before most of the family got to the room. I think most of the recepients enjoyed the presents I got them; the oldest niece wore the long handknitted scarf I picked up at ConVergence the rest of the day. (Along with the bright green warm pajamas she got from another family member.)

I got a tin of hard candy, a notepad and pen, a gift card for Brit's (a local restaurant), a couple of calendars, a slim book on military support weapons, a hand-carved candy dish in the shape of an acorn (not from the same person who gave the candy), a dishtowel, more pages for the family scrapbook, and a potholder with a built-in pocket.

On Saturday, the folks and I went to Hinckley, where we dined at Cassidy's. They have an excellent salad bar. We ran into Dad's old babysitter! Afterwards, we hit a thrift store--I donated some manga (the folks were dubious, as they'd never seen any there--it turns out they sell very quickly), and picked up a few items, including two doctor comic books. (I hope the Scans Daily folks will like them.)

Sunday morning, Dad was feeling particularly good, so he and I went to church. Good thing too, because it turned out it was his turn to usher! I was either the youngest or second-youngest person (not sure how old the pastor is) there, but was reassured that sometimes there are younger attendees.

Come evening, it was time to take the bus back to the city. Turned out to be a lot more crowded than I'd anticipated, and I had to negotiate for a seat. (The fellow who became my seatmate had a pack that didn't quite meet the definition of carry-on, and had to keep moving it.)

Work--Well, it's not good at the moment. More on that later.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Thursday was dinner at Aunt Judy's house. The food was quite good, and I was happy to catch up with that side of the family.

Friday, I took the bus up to Sandstone, where my siblings and I had an early supper with our folks.

I picked up some more of my British comics collection for the Scans Daily community--hope you folks like 'em.

I also spent a lot of time on the Neopets site--on dial-up, Keyquest just won't work, so I played that a lot and even won a couple of times.

On Saturday, we visited Lena's Gift Shop in Askov, which features Scandinavian and local gifts--and is "the home of the rutabaga malt." I do not recommend the rutabaga malt, by the way, but if you're feeling adventurous... I got quite a bit of Christmas shopping done.

I did a fair bit of yakking with the folks too. Won one game of Dominoes, lost two.

Sunday, we went to brunch at the Audubon Center, one of only two times they'll be open this winter. (Last year had disappointing attendance, so they cut back.)

On the bus trip back to the city Sunday night, McDonalds was unable to fill my order in time, so they refunded my money.

Back home, I found that the folks at Wish List and Holiday Wishes had been quite enthusiastic about the prospect of getting a surprise from me, so I've got a fair backlog. Will need to concentrate on overseas delivery first, but with luck everyone will get their stuff by New Year's.

Hope your weekend was tasty!
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Have bought bus tickets for Sandstone to visit the folks over the weekend. Thanksgiving itself is at Aunt Judy's place, after she got a day off last year.

Some Christmas shopping done back in July, now I need to find where I put those goodies. Then it's filling in the blanks, including my Secret Santa.

Mind, if the middle niece keeps up the grabbiness, she might get a Orange Lantern ring, and nothing else. ;-P

This week

Nov. 14th, 2009 08:29 pm
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
While waiting for the bus after work, I saw a deer walk across the parking lot directly in front of me. Six point buck. Closest I've been to a deer in years, let alone one that didn't have a wall between me and it. I hope it got across the highway to the woods okay.

And the computer issue that was chewing up two hours a day at work finally got fixed, allowing me to catch up on some back work and feel like I was "supporting the troops."

The Scans Daily community has closed its doors at InsaneJournal and is now transitioning over to Dreamwidth. As it happens, I managed to get in the very last scans post, and for now at least you can still see it--I think comments will still be live too.
http://asylums.insanejournal.com/scans_daily/1231636.html

Enjoy!

My aunt Judy is having Thanksgiving at her place again this year, after a well-deserved rest last year. Looking forward to seeing the clan.
skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
Yesterday, my family celebrated my youngest (today she's 8) niece's birthday. I got a haircut and beard trim to prepare.

Rode down with my sister and oldest niece, who tells me she's doing okay in her massage therapy training. I gave her (the niece), a CD I'd picked up at the sale last week of Beanie Baby collecting songs. She said she'd put it with her collection of Beanie Babies.

We ate dinner at Banning Junction, which was not as crowded as usual. I had the Banning Burger, the little ones had smiley fries. One of the other diners was a nurse my mother had known back when she was Inservice Director down in Pine City. (She'd retired when she came up a half-credit short on her continuing ed classes for re-certification--a class Mom hadn't taught was disallowed.)

Afterwards, we returned home, and had some cake with chocolate pumpkin decorations. Also some jack-o-lantern Peeps, though the slightly older niece tended to hog them.

Youngest niece enjoyed her presents, including a purse designed to look like a skirt, and a griffin stuffed toy I'd picked up at ConVergence. When she wondered what to name it, I suggested "Merv", but I think "Gryffindor" got more votes.

I picked up a few of my British comics for possible scanning, and we did some visiting.

All in all, a nice trip.

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skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
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