November 30th, 2008

ozarque figure

Personal note; very miscellaneous update...

Holidays and celebrations

Thanksgiving at my daughter's house was splendid; she and her husband have the rare knack of making anyone who is their guest immediately feel at home. A good time was had by all, and then some. I had so much to be thankful for this year, and I was mindful of that. It was a memorable day, with memorable food and drink, and memorable conversation.

Thanksgiving was supposed to be followed up on Saturday by lunch with George's sister and her husband at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, after which they were going to come back to our house for a bit more celebration. That was the plan. But I woke up Saturday morning with violent pleurisy -- on both sides -- and we had to call that off. My brother-in-law has just been through a round of chemotherapy, I had no idea what sort of germs I might be harboring, and there was no way I was going to take any chances of sharing those germs with him. I was disappointed, because I'd been looking forward to the lunch and the visit. But I went to bed instead, and am on the mend this morning. Still have pleurisy, but not the every-breath-like-redhot-knives variety I had yesterday, and it's getting better with every passing moment. More to be thankful for, you perceive.

The re-learning how to drive project

There'll be no driving for me today, and not because of my pleurisy; it's the weather. We have rain mixed with snow, and a 30 mph north wind laid on. I'm far from qualified to drive in anything like that. But I have a good report from last Sunday: I not only drove all the way to town, I drove all the way to the post office, pulled into the parking lot there, and -- after a fashion -- parked. For me, Gentle Readers, that's a triumph. The post office is one of the places I'd have to be able to drive to, if the driving were to become one of my tasks. Now, if I could just learn to drive to the post office [or anywhere else] without being terrified the entire time....

Closing remarks

Last night, in one of my business magazines, there was this article advising people to buy up houses at half the price they would have cost a year ago, fix them up, rent them out while the housing market is recovering, and then look forward to selling them one of these days at a handsome profit. Which means the audience for the article is people who have $200,000 lying around to buy each such house with, and $40,000 lying around to spend fixing up each such house. The article recommended doing this with several houses at a time as a practical strategy.

Meanwhile, people in their seventies and eighties who had considered themselves retired are having to go out and hunt for jobs at places like Home Depot and WalMart and Target and the fast food chains....

To rest my mind from dealing with this insanity in the allegedly real world, I've been reading a fandangously shiny gift from one of you: S. Petersen's Field Guide to Creatures of the Dreamlands, by Sandy Petersen et al., published by Chaosium Inc. in 1989. From Abhoth to Zoog, it offers a full page of detailed information -- including "Habitat" and "Distribution" and "Life and Habits" -- plus a full-page color illustration by Mark J. Ferrari, for each and every creature. [The illustrations are especially interesting to me because Ferrari, like me, "works exclusively in colored pencil," although I suspect that -- unlike me -- he does not work exclusively in watercolor pencil.] Should you need the ISBN, it's 0-933635-53-2.

I love the field guide genre, and I can enthusiastically recommend this example. It has big full-color maps. It has "observer warnings." It has a bibliography. It has a "Quick-Reference Monster ID Key." It has wonderful sentences like this one on page 14: "Only trained preternaturalists should deal with Basilisks." It may be that just reading it and marveling at it is responsible for preternaturally healing my cottonpicking pleurisy; I wouldn't be at all surprised.