State of the Lstrs

I’ve been avoiding blogging for a bit. Previously, I was too busy. 2019 had been a brilliant year of hard work. In fact, I remain proud of finishing up my tenure at Lockheed Martin. Then, my first Scout Camp as an adult (NoBeBoSco), followed by an amazing family trip to Bavaria and the Black Forest. And then I was recruited to a new job at a Company I’d rather not name.

And now that’s over. I wasn’t let go because of the Pandemic, but I am part of a mass letting-go because of the Company’s performance.

The job was never quite as billed, but it was a good experience. Its end is bittersweet, like most endings.

So, I’m forcibly taking a wee break from most things to get my head, my house, and my life in order. That might actually call for more blogging, I hope.

I’ve been interviewing and I expect to be able to find something once all of This is over. If not, I may switch roles with the missus and start my own business while she goes back to work full-time. But that’s her story and I’m not going to tell it here.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to finally learn the ukulele my wife bought me in 2005, just before the Daughter was born.

I built a robot

When the Great Insidening began, I directed The Boy to the unopened Gundam-style robot kit sitting on the bookshelf since he received it (unsolicited, mind you) three Christmases ago. He had a similar one, which he put together when he was 9 without an issue, so I thought this would be a good idea too. Apparently, it was not, and his interest in model building lasted exactly for the amount of time it took to clip together the first one.

For the last five weeks, however any cry of “I’m bored” was met with a nod toward the Mech on the Shelf.

Last night, I finally realized it was pointless, so I sat down and assembled it myself. It took all of ten minutes. Ten BLISSFUL minutes. I’m not saying that I have found a new hobby, but this gave me the same level of joy previously only found in putting together IKEA furniture. Seriously, I love putting together IKEA furniture. I love the ritual.

The kind of robot that brings a knife to a gun fight

The problem is that to indulge that ritual would result in a house full of IKEA furniture (which ours already is, admittedly). Same with this little model kit. I really enjoyed the practice and interest of snapping this kit together. I would not enjoy looking at a house full of them.

There is a bit of nostalgia. On a trip with my older brother’s Scout troop, I once bought a cheap Japanese model kit at the gift shop of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (itself, a bit of a holy space for me). I assembled it on the bus ride home.

It was the only model I have ever successfully put together. I have just enough patience to admire the intricacies of snap together kits. I have never completed a model that requires glue. As a child, my bedroom was littered with half-built heaps of plastic and poorly glued models. I just don’t have the dexterity to glue well.

Same with soldering, but that’s a different story.

This was an experience. Everything fit together precisely. Even getting the pieces off the mold was a joy…I may have used my snippers twice to trim off the excess plastic-y bits. The instructions, accompanied by Japanese text, were all printed on the inside of the box, which was also surprising and delightful.

It felt like a meditative practice and, I’d imagine, it could easily turn into a hobby if it weren’t for the clutter.

Reading Notes: Notebook Found in a Deserted House

Last Christmas, someone read my Amazon list and picked me up a copy of Mysteries of the Worm, the Robert Bloch collection edited by Robert M. Price.

Price is the Lovecraft Geek and an ancient and controversial figure in Lovecraftiana. I first heard of him while listening to a science/skeptic podcast whose name fails to spring to mind at this moment. He’s written some of his Mythos tales and collected many more of the years.

This collection of Bloch (author of Psycho, which is the “powerhouse of the cell” of epitaphs) tales is worth a read if you like this sort of thing. He wrote most of these while he was young and still corresponding with Lovecraft himself. They are all good examples of the genre, with a few rising to the position of excellent.

The most superlativest is “Notebook Found in a Deserted House,” which is a quick, tense and unnerving tale that sticks with you despite the Lovecraftian conceit of a tale ended in the midst of the narrator meeting his fate.

I think this is the only Cthulhu Mythos tale I’ve seen told from the perspective of a young boy–and all the more creepy to me because the narrator is the same age as my son (as of writing this in 2020). What stands out is that the narrator behaves nicely in character and makes no fatal errors either in character or uncharacteristic of his age. That’s difficult to do for an adult protagonist, let alone a child. Worth the read.