So this is a pic of my new office!
I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing I am. Here we have a near-inescapable reminder of an old joke:
Patient: I’m a tepee! I’m a wigwam! I’m a tepee! I’m a wigwam!
Psychiatrist: Ah, I see your problem. You’re obviously two tents.
Though, to be fair, I’m only showing you one tent. Not that I don’t have many others, and a hammock that works well for backpacking in treed-but-not-flat places like Southeast Alaska. But this is the one I’ve been setting up in the back yard.
Why would I do such a thing, you ask? Well. Because reasons. (Bonus: I’ve written large chunks of three novels on that particular folding table. Maybe that’s relevant…?)
More specifically, the shared-office space I thought I had paid for weeks ago (“for which weeks ago I thought I had paid”?) has apparently gone goofy on me. Multiple delays. It’s for safety’s sake, of course, and who could argue with that? Not I. Hell, I barely argue at all. I mean, I got myself ordained online, in more than one place, but one of them was the Church of the Latter-Day Dude. Yes: I am a Dudeist minister. So that tells you something. (Someday I might tell you about how I used an online “doctorate” from a similar establishment as proof of an advanced education, in order to become a foster parent, not that I was at all sure it mattered either way to begin with–I mean, my intentions were either pure or at least amusing to me at the time, so it was all okay in the end.)
But then. I mean. Am I trying to work/think/write at home? Sometimes. At Panera Bread, where they foolishly offered me all the coffee I can drink for $9/month, and the employees/management are both congenial and interesting? Sometimes. How about just in the car, then? I’ve tried that too.
I have kids. I love them. They love me. It’s all quite horribly awesome. Examples, all from the last two days:
- Dad! Can you set up my new hard drive in my Chromebook? Depends. Maybe. This is because you want to be a rapper on YouTube, right? Yes! Okay then. Sure. Where’s your Chromebook? (BTW this actually means swapping out the lame 16GB hard drive it came with, putting in a 512GB birthday present, and installing Linux on that to create a usable laptop.) Uh…it’s not charged right now. So? I mean it’s dead. And I don’t know where the charger is. Why don’t you get back to me on that? Okay!
- Dad! My keyboard doesn’t work! What does that mean? Um, the “D” key doesn’t work. This is what you get for being such a gamer. I know. Can you fix it? Not really. So here are your options: get a new keyboard for your laptop–and just so you know, the last time I tried that I went through three of them before I found a replacement that actually worked–or you could try an external keyboard. I really, really want it to work. Okay. [1.5 hours of research ensues; kid spent $34 and borrowed my mechanical (“It’s so loud!“) keyboard in the interim.] Hey Dad, I can’t find a USB power source. Please, please don’t do that! Please plug my very nice keyboard into the very nice computer instead. Oh yeah! [smacks forehead] What was I thinking? I, um, really couldn’t say.
- Dad! Do you have gloves we can borrow? It’s summer. Why the @!#$%…? It’s so we can do pull-ups from the tree! Uh. First off, that tree you’re talking about (I’d asked more questions) is actually on the neighbor’s property. Second, that limb you’re talking about is quite thoroughly dead. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be fun to try it and see what happens, but… So what can we do? Well, two thoughts: either get some nylon straps, or some chain. We can use those on the trees that are actually on our property. Cheap either way, too. We have some hand-dinguses we can attach to those, and you can even adjust the height with the carabiners so it’s right for whichever of you is using it. Cool! Or, you know, you could use the bar and resistance bands we bought last month and achieve pretty much the same thing. Oh yeah! We forgot about those! Okay then.
- Dad! Can you take me to the store? Sure.
- @!&$%! Language!
- Come help me! There’s some @!#$% bots on my @#!$% @$$! Grammar!
- Bedtime! Seriously, Dad? Again? Give it a rest. (Yeah, that one was my fault, and I tend to shout it out at random times. I don’t know why. For some reason it makes me happy.)
- Dad! Can we get one of those pull-up bars that fit in a door frame? Um, maybe. If you want to spend the money. Do you want that, or nylon straps, or chain? Or do you just want to use the bar and resistance bands we talked about an hour ago? Oh yeah! Um, right. Let me know.
- Dad! Can we go to the river tomorrow? Sure!
So maybe my overall position/stance/attitude makes sense. And maybe it doesn’t. Thing is…I don’t mind the summer-ish heat. I’ve always enjoyed temperature extremes more than others find reasonable. But the sunlight? With a laptop’s screen? So I spent a few hours figuring out how to use my 2012 Kindle Paperwhite as a secondary display. It works really well, and it’s easy to do (now), but figuring it all out was a bit of a…well, not a challenge…an enjoyable exercise in frustration, maybe. Something like that. Anyway, as I said, it works now. The E-ink screen is very good even in direct sunlight. And, since I’m connecting via Wi-Fi, I can even wander around the backyard (the microphone also works via Wi-Fi) while I dictate. If I want to. Now that it’s set up. When there’s time.
Meanwhile, there are the other things I “need” to do soon:
- My 1970 convertible VW Beetle? It needs new CV joints. I mean, probably. Kind of hard to narrow down the problem. But that might be it. It’s not terribly hard to replace them. I just need to do it. When? Soon…?
- We have a batch of mead fermenting. It’s more than ready to go into a secondary fermenter. My wife and I both prefer “dry” wines/mead to the stuff you can typically buy, so it probably makes sense that we’re making our own. We’re going to split the current project into two batches: plain and grapefruit. Which just means putting some grapefruit peel, wrapped in cheesecloth, into the fermenter. (Fancy word for “Mason jar” btw.) So, when will we deal with transferring that, and so forth? Soon, right?
- The AC in our truck isn’t working. I don’t use it anyway. My wife does. I noticed, at Walmart the other day, that coolant is really inexpensive. Maybe I need an adapter? Or maybe I don’t. Either way, the actual “fix” will probably only take a little bit of time. When will I do that, again?
- There was that one time when it was raining. And that guy ran into our Prius while we were stopped at a red light. And I could fix that with some Bondo and some paint. When…?
- Speaking of the Prius, does it actually need more air in the driver-side rear tire? Or did the “Slime” screw up the tire-pressure sensor? I mean. It’s probably one of those. Not a lot of options. So when will I check?
- Also, how the @#!% did all that trash end up in our vehicles? I didn’t do it. So, kids, really…?
- Um, hey, guys? Did you notice that none of the above was about making money? I mean, some of it will save some cash compared to other options, but shouldn’t I really do something relevant to one of our various small businesses…?
Yeah, well. That’s how it goes.
What I’m getting at: seriously, I want to get some more stuff published, if only to my own website. And I will. But it’s hard to know when the stars will align. Not tomorrow, because we’re going to the river (and that will be fun!).
Oh, the title? A manager-guy at Panera Bread asked me for a recommendation for a science fiction book for a newbie. He mostly reads biographies. I figured To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer would be a good choice: lots of historical figures, and a damn good book in the bargain.
But he can’t get that book from his local library. Any suggestions?