Family

Updates, Announcements and General Mayhem

I might have been neglecting this blog. Alright, really there’s no maybe about it. I haven’t posted in quite a while and I am sorry about that. I do have some (if not good then possibly adequate) reasons, though.

My first reason is that I am back in Virginia. The Park Service job was a seasonal job, and while it paid more than my job here, it ended sooner. So I’m back in Virginia, working for the concessioner while putting in more applications with the Park Service for winter jobs. It’s now the middle of our busy season, and while we were closed for two weeks for the shut down, October is back with a vengeance.

The second reason I’ve been neglecting the blog is that I am now one of two editors for Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi. Michael, my co-editor, and I have been working for a month now to get everything in order and running smoothly. Well the first issue we’ve edited is out now, and looks great! I’m really very excited about all of this. It has, however been taking a lot of my time. I am also still working with Dagan Books, so I’ve been trying to balance my time between the two publications.

My third reason is a lot less exciting than my previous one. While we were laid off my brother and I were prepping a house to be painted. We actually started the painting, but were called back to work before we were able to finish. Thankfully the paint we have can be used in low temperature weather, so we’ll probably finish sometime in November (after the worst has passed at work).

I guess that’s it for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ping me here or on twitter. I’ll see you a little more frequently now, I hope.

PS-For anyone waiting, there will be a new Our Party soon.

How I Named My Brother’s Car “Dammit”

Because I could use a little levity, I’ll share this story with you.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my younger brother is very ADHD. He is so much so that when he was younger, we made a game based off of it called Free Association. To play, you had to get from one object to an unrelated other object by words of association. I’ll give you an example. Kumquats to Kublia Khan:

Kumquat
Fruit
Orange
Origin of Orange
China
Mongolia
Kublia Khan

That, of course was too easy, so we started adding words you had to go through before you could get to the end. Our favorite was the French Revolution.

All of this is relevant to the story.

Changing topics, my brother recently bought his first car. Our family has a tradition of naming our cars based on the model. My brother, being different, named his Bob. A few weeks later he decided he didn’t like that name after all, so he decided to change it. After some deliberation, he decided on ‘Cody’. Unfortunately, my mother is somewhat hard of hearing, and she thought he said ‘Colby’. When she told me, she confided that all she could think of was cheese. I said in that case a better name would be Jack, as in Monterrey Jack, and well, it went from there. Here is our free association to Dammit:

Colby
Cheese
Brie
French Cheese
France
The French Revolution
Wars in France
WWII
Normandy
Cheese from Normandy
Camembert
Cheese
Monterrey Jack
Monterrey, California
California
Aunt Janet (a relative that lives in CA)
Dammit, Janet (Rocky Horror)
Dammit

And that is how it happened. Incidentally, my brother doesn’t like is calling his car Dammit. I wonder why.

Protect Your Family – A True Story of Outsmarting Scammers

Gather around everyone. I have a story to tell you. This is a true story about my family. This story took place a week or so ago.

To set the backstory, you must first know my brother is almost done with college and looking for a permanent job. He is also not the best when it comes to money.

The story begins with my brother. Last week he drove in to Washington for a job interview. On the way home he ran out of gas. He had to call my parents for help because he had no money. This is not the story, this is the prologue. It is important, though, because it means we know, 100% know, where my brother is.

The next day, my grandparents, who live in New Jersey, received a phone call.

“Hello, Grandpa! This is your grandson,” said the caller.

My grandfather glancing over at my grandmother. “Kevin, is that you?”

“Yes, this is Kevin, your grandson,” said the caller.

“How are you, Kevin?” Grandpa asked.

“Not so good,” said the man on the line, “I’m in jail down in Texas and I need $1500 to make bond.”

“You’re in jail in Texas and you need $1500 to make bond?” Grandpa repeated, glancing again at my grandmother, who was sitting at the kitchen table.

“That doesn’t sound like Kevin,” she whispered as the caller continued.

“One of my friends died so I went to Texas to attend the funeral,” the man on the line said.

Grandpa repeated it so Grammy could hear.

Grammy shook her head. “That just doesn’t sound right. I’m sure Joy would have told us if someone Kevin was that close to had died.”

“After the funeral some other friends and I went out drinking. I got drunk and there was a fight at the bar. That’s why I sound funny, I got punched in the mouth. As we were driving away from the fight, the cops caught us. I was very drunk, so they locked me up,” the caller said.

“No, no that’s not right,” Grammy said with conviction this time. “Kevin would never do anything like that.”

Grandpa nodded.

“I need you to wire me $1500,” the caller said. “Here’s my account.”

Grandpa wrote down the number and then hung up the phone. Then he picked it up again and called my brother.

My brother, unfortunately, was sound asleep, and so rather groggy. He was, however, able to confirm two things. First, he was not and had never been in Texas and second, he had no desire for my grandparents to send him money.

My grandfather then hung up with Kevin and called a less groggy person to talk to-my father. After a short talk they determined it was a scam. My grandparents, while not affluent themselves, live in an affluent area. Grandpa agreed with my father that the best course of action would be to take the account number to the police.

The moral of this story, ladies and gentlemen, is that there are jerks in this world. Talk with your relatives, make sure they know this kind of scam exists. Not everyone is as sharp as my grandparents. Not everyone will see through the ruse. Don’t let your loved ones become victims.

Epilogue-after the phone call with my grandfather, my dad texted my brother. It went something like this:

Dad-Grandpa just called. He said you said you were in Texas. Are you?

Kevin-Nope, Arkansas.

Dad-What are you doing there?

Kevin-Trying to get the money together to get the hell out.

Later

Dad-Home yet?

Kevin-Nope, stuck in Tennessee now.

Dad-Tennessee?

Kevin-According to Kelly’s sense of direction that’s halfway between Arkansas and Home.

The End

Journals, Cookies, and Zombies! Oh my!

Okay, I should have written this blog ages ago, but I’m feeling rather frayed around the edges. Christmas, family and forced socialization does that to me. Anyway, I have a plethora of things to talk about starting with a CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH HAVOC AND PAUL MAGNAN for winning the Zombie Santa contest. Since there were only two entrants, I decided to paint one for each of them. Paul has already received his and Havoc will get his shortly.

Next up there are a few new journals in the gallery.

A traditionally bound journal covered in cloth.

A traditionally bound journal covered in cloth.

I really like how the bear came out.

I really like how the bear came out.

And finally, the annual parade of Christmas Cookies That Need to be Explained

Rainbow Cluck and the unnamed bug eyed rainbow cat were two spectacular cookies this year.

Rainbow Cluck and the unnamed bug eyed rainbow cat were two spectacular cookies this year.

What a beautiful tree! Too bad one of the candles caught the tree.

What a beautiful tree! Too bad one of the candles caught the tree.

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The poor tree.

Finally we have Simon Cat. There is no explanation necessary.

Finally we have Simon Cat. There is no explanation necessary.

Happy Fourth!

I haven’t given you a real blog post in a while, and sorry, you’re not getting one now. My grandparents have been here. Love having them, but it makes things busy. Instead, here are some pictures of my 4th of July.

Grill Master dad at work making kabobs for dinner. They were delicious.

And we can’t forget the fireworks.

I forgot my camera, so these are all what I could get on my phone. I’ve cropped them because I couldn’t zoom.

As always, they were much more spectacular in person. My phone just doesn’t do them justice.

My grandparents went with us. This is the type my grandmother liked best.

Even though they have a company come and do theirs in their town, my grandparents said they liked our display better. I’ve been to their display. It’s very loud and bright. I like watching ours from a little bit of a distance.

So yeah, there’s my 4th of July in a nutshell. I hope everyone out there who celebrates the 4th had a safe, happy day.

Remember, forest fires are bad. Starting one with fireworks is just dumb.

Christmas Cookies (And their explanations)

I will need to send a note of explanation with some of the cookies this year. While this is not unusual (See last year) we have some new additions to our family of weird cookies.

Here are

Here are all this years cookies. Please note that they are piled two and three deep.

We, of course, have a couple of repeats. Here is Osama bin Chicken, back again.

The very old tradition of the rabid scotty dog. It's been a holiday tradition since my mom was a kid.

And of course the killer rabbit.

New this year, we have two stars in honor of last night's eclipse. On the left is a supernova, on the right is a black hole.

The cookie on the right was supposed to be a lighthouse. I was told it looks like a death ray. The squirrel on the left (with a flamethrower) must be responsible.

This is my attempt at a dragon.

This one is titled "I can haz Cheezburger?". And the answer is yes, yes you can.

Last but not least we have the "diabetes special". Guaranteed to give you diabetes if you don't already have it.

Remember, if you can’t tell your left from your right, proof reading is a great idea.

Purchases (aka-Another Slapped Together Entry)

I had an Adventure today with my Aunt, Grandmother, and Mother. After being picked up an hour late (I really wish I could have just slept that extra hour) we started off to Shopping. Unfortunately my Aunt was driving and she doesn’t know New Jersey that well (she’s from California), and then my grandmother fell asleep so she couldn’t give directions, and we ended up in Rural New Jersey. No, I didn’t think it existed either, but apparently it does. Might have something to do with the rich folks (and yes, I’m actually kidding here. I know rural parts exist, it’s just that I don’t get out of the suburban NY suburb where my grandparents live that much. One township bleeds into the next, and it’s all very disorienting to a person like me who grew up in the country where towns are at least fifteen minutes driving time from one another.) So yes, I ended up seeing much more of this area than I ever wanted or needed to. We did end up at the store, but had to call and get talked in.

After that store we were off supposedly to my aunt’s dentist appointment. We ended up at another store instead with the appointment put off until half an hour later than it was originally supposed to be. The store we went to also had some of the most hideous clothing in it. I liked the wraps they had, but wasn’t going to spend twenty dollars for one. Finally headed back to my grandmother’s after a stop at the dentist (my Aunt went in, the rest of us waited in the car). There I had the nap I’d been longing for.

The only real bright spot of the day was what I was able to pick up while shopping. These are my two favorites. Silver earrings with red jasper roses (which I managed to get a really good deal on considering how much they originally wanted), and a white china rose bowl (which was cheap to begin with). I’m going to put potpourri in the bowl. And yes, this does mean Valentines Day is good for something, if only buying the occasional pretty trinket.

I also found out that they’re redoing Clash of the Titans. Not really hopeful about the plot, but at least the CGI and special effects look like they’re going to be better in this one.

Small progress on the writing front. Nothing really worth noting yet.

Remember, adventures are not necessarily fun, but make sure you get any good out of them you can.

PS-Traveling home tomorrow, might not have a blog up.

Comments are appreciated. They make me feel loved.