Friday, June 9, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 177: Never Sit Next to Me in Movies (Or Anywhere, Really)

          Author's note: I had a disagreement of a historical nature with someone of a short nature--specifically about how much money was owed me due to restaurant-related incidents. I was challenged to provide proof. If there appears to be a lot of Shorty-featured stories coming up, it's because I'm trying to win a bet. Well...succeeding in winning a bet. 

          "I am soo excited for this!" Shorty squeaked, attempting to keep herself somewhat close to the ground. I mean, she was as a default, but she'd been jumping around like a caffeinated frog for the last few minutes. Her decision to switch from body to verbal communication was prompted by a group of people walking up the sidewalk towards the movie theater. I guess she wanted to look "sane" or something.
          I had no such qualms and hopped up on the bench, trying to balance on the back. I fell off. "I'd be more excited if this place wasn't such a cra--"
          "Yeah, it's not the best," Shorty interrupted me hastily before any of the kids/teens (that I had completely missed the advent of) could hear the expletive in progress. (Whoops.) "But it's worth it! I mean, Hunger Games!"
          I snickered. "Whatever, but next time we're going to St. Joseph. Or KC. Or anywhere that has a theater with actual SEATS."
          "What part are you most excited about?"
          That one took me a moment. "I want to see how the archery plays out--and if it's factually correct."
          Shorty nodded approvingly. We were both archers ourselves, so we could pick out the impossible moves from the possible ones pretty easily. "They'd better stay true to the book."
          I shrugged. "Yeah, good luck to that." I nodded to the teens. "Y'all excited?"
          "Oh yes!" one of them said excitedly. "It was such a good book!"
          "Teens still read?" I muttered incredulously under my breath. They didn't hear me, but Shorty sure did--and kicked me in the shin. That was really all the higher she could get.
          "What?" one of the others asked.
          "Nothing!" Shorty said hastily. "He was just being goofy!"
          He eyed us. "You guys dating?"
          We both burst out laughing, which was kind of our default response to such a ludicrous claim. I decided to have a little fun with that this time, though. "Yes, actually--OW!"
          Shorty turned bright red and kicked me. Again. "RADAR! No we're not!"
          "She just shy about i--OW! Will you stop that?" I demanded, hopping back.
          "NO!" she giggled. "You are not dating me!"
          The teens were trying to hold back laughter of their own, with varying degrees of success. "Well, you act like you're dating," one of the girls informed us.
          I chuckled. "We get that a lot." A thought occurred to me.
          Unfortunately, my poker face was slightly less developed than my sense of humor, if such a thing can be believed. Shorty noticed immediately. "What's THAT look for?"
          "Huh? Oh, nothing," I said innocently. "What look?"
          She narrowed her eyes. "Yeah, right. What are you planning?"
          "Oh, look, the door's opening!" I said hastily and made a beeline for the portal. Once inside, I promptly walked straight to the cashier and loudly requested two tickets. Shorty kicked me again and immediately paid me back upon our entry to the actual theater, laughing her rear off the entire time.
          The movie itself wasn't bad. It stayed fairly true to the book, which I appreciated. However, the book wasn't in my top ten, so I decided to enhance the experience with sarcastic comments. ("They should have brought marshmallows on the cart! They could have had s'mores!" "You call that FIGHTING? I've seen better slap fights!") Shorty probably would have punched me if she hadn't been laughing so hard--and trying so hard to keep it quiet.
          She did absolutely lose it at one point though. There was a moment that (I'm sure) was supposed to be very "touching" where the main character's love interest was trying to help her take care of a massive cut on her head. (I won't go into too many spoilers, even though this thing came out YEARS ago.) Anyway, he was being all mushy about it. I had a very low tolerance for mush and could appreciate the stupidity of his first aid attempts, so I leaned over to Shorty--who was wearing her best aww, they're so cute face--and pretended to be the guy, whispering, "Yeah, I love you, so I'm gonna just smear blood all over your face now, 'kay?"
          I won't say that anyone was particularly noisy at that moment in time, but someone definitely got a few looks.
          We decided to have our traditional post-movie discussion/rant dinner over at Dairy Queen. On the way in, Shorty kept giggling about my "lack of ability to appreciate romance" or something to that effect. I shrugged. "Hey, getting someone's face messy isn't romantic. I prefer the practical romantic guestures."
          "Oh, yeah? Like what?" Shorty demanded.
          I marched up to the cash register. "Hi! I'd like a bacon cheeseburger, large combo, and a...hmm...Reese's peanut butter cup blizzard. Oh, and whatever Shorty would like. We're together." I turned back to her. "Like that."
          "MIDWAY!" Shorty squeaked, then considered it. "Okay, admittedly, I walked right into that one. But we are NOT TOGETHER."
          The cashier was looking confused. "So are you on one or not?"
          I said "Yes" at the same time Shorty said "NO!" However, she was laughing too hard to properly enunciate, so I won.
          She did pay me back for that one, though!

          Author's note, part 2: Oh, and she couldn't have been TOO upset about snorting in the theater, since she posted it to Facebook and sent me the archived post when it popped up on her news feed this year. 
          You're welcome. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 176: Unexpected Changes

          Well, this is going to (again) be more of a progress update than anything else. Next time, I'll be back to writing stories again! I promise!
          March ended with an unexpected offer of employment from a company in Minnesota; I was definitely not passing this one up. Within two weeks of accepting, I'd wrapped up in South Dakota, packed all my crap into a trailer, and driven 24 hours almost continuously to move everything to Minnesota. (I had to make several trips.) This coincided with the Easter season, which made scheduling stuff insane. Additionally, I had to make sure I packed in the necessary work on my boat to ensure that I'd be able to use it this summer (restorations can be difficult!) and still try to keep on my publishing schedule for Deadman Switch.
          I probably went a little psycho for about a week there. In retrospect, I probably could have pushed one or more of my self-inflicted deadlines back, but I didn't want to.
          In Minnesota, I started putting a lot of serious interest in working on Deadman Switch. I got the entire book edited, formatted, and ready to go. At the moment, I'm putting the finishing touches on my new author website (and Facebook page, and Twitter feed...), and once that's done...Amazon ho! I'm hoping to have it in the store by the end of next week.
          Further bulletins as events warrant.
          This summer, I plan on finishing my boat and writing all kinds of new and amusing stories about lake shenanigans. Let the fun begin!


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 175: Where I've Been

          Howdy, all!
          I know, I know, it's been a while. As I may have mentioned, I've been doing some writing. During the month of January, I got about a quarter of Lost done. During the month of February, I was doing a little house hunting (which is just as much of a time-consuming process as one might imagine) and enjoying the 70+ degree thaw I had. (I RAN TWICE A DAY. OUTSIDE. IT WAS WONDERFUL.)
          March has gone back to the regularly-scheduled crappy weather that I've come to enjoy up here--sarcasm definitely intended. Needless to say, work on Lost kind of exploded. I had a brainwave about where I wanted to go with the novel, then sat down and did an easy five to seven thousand words a day. I finished the entire thing in about two weeks. I think I'm getting calluses on my fingertips!
          Before I start on the third and final book in the Bridgehold trilogy (and edited the heck out of Wayward and Lost), I decided to make the conceptual cover art for the next book. I decided to call it Voidwalker. First up, a little refresher on the first two covers; then I'll post the third at the bottom.
          Yeah, I'm gonna make you scroll.
          Additionally, I'm getting my mystery/suspense novel edited for publishing, and I'll be driving to a few choice cities this weekend to snap some pictures to edit for the cover. Hopefully, Deadman Switch will be published within the next few months! I'll post the cover for that one when I get it done, whenever the heck that is.
          Anyway, once I'm done with those, I'll make an official author website, Facebook page, and write a few more short stories for Maximum Effect. Still haven't decided whether or not to publish my books under my real name or a nom de plume, but I'll figure it out eventually, I guess. I'm also hoping to complete the Bridgehold trilogy this year as well--given my track record of the last few days, I think that's doable.
          I'm making progress!



Sunday, January 1, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 174: Update on the Midway Family, 2016 Edition

Merry Christmas from the Midway Family!

Nemesis writing about Radar:
The young Radar Midway’s natural habitat can be found in the urban areas of South Dakota. He can be easily spotted by his considerable height, blue jeans, and the extra layers he wears during the winter season. As we can see, he is quite skilled in using the complex tools of a mechanical engineer, a job that has kept him happily and gainfully occupied for over a year now. His day’s labors completed, he returns to his apartment complex, where his nest is lined with collections of books, shiny computer monitors, and both real and practice weaponry. He may also be found in his recently acquired aquatic nest, a cabin cruiser that he is restoring to become his marine base of operations. If you encounter the Radar Midway out in the wild: smile, remain calm, and use this field guide to engage him in conversation. Remember, he’s more scared of you than you are of him.

Squirrel writing about Quill:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Quill is one talented babe. She has done so much this past year: some highlights include the primary dance role in her college’s production of Brigadoon last winter; charming the patrons at the library where she continues to work; and a flying weekend to visit Nemesis in London for fall break. The highlight of her year, I know, will be graduating summa cum laude – with her BA in English and minor in Communication – from college this December. She’s crazy smart and works incredibly hard, so we’re all pretty excited for her. As far as employment goes, Quill’s been looking into positions in the library sciences field and has some good opportunities to pursue throughout the country. I (selfishly) hope she stays close to home for employment, since she’s the greatest friend and her dance moves are pretty lit. Please keep this happy hamster in your prayers as she starts a new chapter!

Radar writing about Nemesis:
Normally, it’s difficult to write about someone who lives multiple states away; however, this year SOMEONE went to a completely different CONTINENT for several months, which paradoxically makes writing about him easier and makes everyone else in the family super jealous. Nemesis spent the fall semester in Italy, where he visited pretty much everywhere (super cool), did martial arts in the Coliseum (appropriate), and defiled statues with his hat (less appropriate). During the rest of the year, this English-major-turned-traveler helped out with the campus ministry at his college and sold his first short story to a science fiction publication. We’re all looking forward to his first full-length novel, Hiding from the Italian Police Due to Hat-Related Shenanigans.

Quill writing about Squirrel:
                Please, do come in. Welcome to the 2016 Tour of Squirrel Midway’s College Dorm Room. The central focus of this room is Ms. Midway's desk, where she furrows her alabaster brow over Macroeconomics. Practical application of this subject is seen in how she decides the fate of her peers as Student Senator on the college financial committee. The banner on the adjacent wall, reading “#SWAG” refers to her recent theatre debut. In early fall, she was chosen to perform in the college's vaudeville show Theater Physics where she discovered her talent for rapping. If you turn to your right – your other right – you can see her open closet displaying the lovely clothes she wears to her job at a local boutique. As the outfits demonstrate, she is a true gift to fashion-conscious consumers. Thank you very much for coming – you can settle your bill at the door. Tickets are $57.95 apiece; the proceeds will be used toward buying Squirrel a single textbook for next semester.

Mom writing this time: 
This year, my husband and I decided to take the trip we vowed we’d take after all the kids were legal adults and indulge ourselves in a kid-free vacation to Mexico.  We learned that, when necessary, my husband can fix a stubbornly-jammed suitcase handle using the clip from a ballpoint pen, tweezers, two band-aids and some notepaper.  Also, tequila is a staple there, much like pasta in Italy, except that Italians don’t put pasta in their soap.  Feliz navidad!

We all wish you a blessed Christmas and great 2017!  

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 173: A New Trilogy Is Dawning

          ...and my computer battery has the lifespan of a diseased mayfly. Sorry, had to complain to SOMEone.
          For those of you who follow me on Facebook, some of this might be a bit repetitive. My apologies. For everyone else, I'd like to report that my first book in the currently-named Bridgehold trilogy is complete! (By complete, I mean I'll probably tweak it some as future books fine-tune my timeline, but for the purposes of "active projects," it's 100% done.) I was so excited about Wayward, I decided to immediately make some conceptual cover art while procrastinating on book two.


          On a mildly related note, I'm getting better at Photoshop, although I still had to use a model for the silhouette. 
          Then, of course, I had to make a cover photo for my next book, which I'm tentatively naming Lost. I made it for "inspirational purposes" and certainly not because I was procrastinating even more


          Much thanks to Princess, by the way, who was the unwitting model and official loser of our "camera wars." 
          With any luck, I can finish up Lost within the next month or so and get cracking on book three, which is gonna be Redemption or Reclamation or some appropriate-word-beginning-with-R-someone-find-me-a-thesaurus. Just kidding. Honestly, I haven't thought that far ahead, but I'm hoping that completing Lost will give me some ideas. Some better ideas, I mean. 
          Also, if anyone has any ideas for a new nom de plume, I'd be most grateful. It would be nice to finish the conceptual covers by adding an author name! 
          Gah, thinking up names is hard...
          Oh, and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all! Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 172: Here There Be Tech Problems

          Hi, everyone!
          You may be wondering where I've been the past...um...*counts on fingers* three months. And why my site went kaput. Well, it occurred to me that I had more than enough material for a legit book up here, so I started going through, post by post, and copying everything to my computer. Apparently, Blogger didn't like that, so it promptly crashed, and I've spent the last two months (off and on) trying to fix it. 
          Fun stuff. 
          On the bright side, it appears that my book did actually get published. To Amazon. Officially. I'm rather excited. Given that this is the first thing that I've actually gotten out to a marketplace, this is a big step forward for me. It's certainly given me a new degree of motivation to start getting some of my other books published (or finished; I currently have five finished books and FORTY-SEVEN works in progress). 
          I am in the process of recovery and republishing of my short stories. If for some reason, you need them all right now...well, there's a book out for that, like I said. Other than that, I'm hoping to restore full functionality to Maximum Effect over the course of the next few weeks. This is also kind of a test post to see how my strategy will work. Bear with me.
          Say, anyone here good with names? I'm trying to come up with a slightly more "publishable"-sounding nom de plume for my legitimate novels. If you have any good ideas, drop me a line! Please. I'm TERRIBLE at coming up with new names. 
          Anyway, it's novel-writing month, and I just came up with a another new story idea, so...let's break out the whiteboard! 

          (P.S.: I've also been working on a boat. A 1960 Lone Star cabin cruiser, to be exact. I've decided to name it the Panama, for reasons that should become evident upon watching this clip. I have a weird sense of humor.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 171: Mathews Hall Water Bowl 2010

          "Hey, dude, did you look outside?"
          When the interruption came, I was sprawled on the floor, doing all my homework. Literally--I had every subject spread out in a circle around me and was hopping from one to another whenever I got bored with the current topic (which took about five minutes). Saved me valuable time, since I didn't have to spend 55 minutes out of every hour trying to focus. Use the ADHD, I always said.
          Anyways, I was deep in the mysteries of Calc III and was kind of on a roll (seven minutes!), so I may have slightly resented Tim's interruption. "No, but judging by the sounds of it, it's raining again--not unlike how it's been raining all damn day." I thought for a second. "Only upside is that it's warm out, and I have no desire to go outside."
          My neighbor from across the hall leaned against my doorway, smirking. "Did you look out the south windows?"
          I gave him a patient look. "And how would I manage that?" (I lived on the north side, and wasn't in the habit of visiting other people's rooms when I was doing homework...like others I could mention.)
          "Look out mine," he suggested.
          I indicated my schoolwork, scattered about me like I was the epicenter of a giant learning explosion. "Kinda busy here. What's so exciting about night and rain put together?"
          His mouth twitched. "How about the storm sewers backing up and flooding the back side of Mathews?"
          Okay, that was intriguing. Also, close to home--Mathews Hall was the dorm I currently resided in. I reluctantly stood up and danced out of my self-imposed minefield, trying not to step on anything. "How big is the puddle?"
          Tim laughed. "It's more like a lake..."
          "Uh huh." I crossed the hall and entered his room. "So how dee--holy CRAP!"
          The mild expletive was wrung out of me by the site of the flood. It extended about thirty feet out from the side of the building and ran the entire length of Mathews Hall. Based on that alone, it had to have been at least a foot deep. Best of all, there were a bunch of college students playing in the lake.
          Tim gave me an appraising look. "So what do you think?"
          I threw my phone into my room and almost ran him over on my way out the door. "Let's go!"
          We lived on third floor. I was able to shortcut a little by jumping down every flight at one go. Tim wasn't quite as adventurous, so by the time he made it down, I'd already been integrated into the football game that was just starting. He joined us, but it was soon apparent (after the fourth interception) that everyone had a problem.
          "I can't tell who's on my team!" Kyle complained when everyone started giving him crap for his misguided pass. Between the night, rain, building and sidewalk lights, and random lightning strikes, it was difficult to make out faces. Plus, there were now about fifteen to twenty guys in the lake, which made even remembering who was on our team even harder.
          Ben whipped off his shirt. "Shirts versus Skins!"
          "Which team are you on?" I asked.
          "Skins. Duh. Oh, I see what you mean--I'm on yours," Ben explained.
          I promptly defected. "Not anymore. Hey, Tim, switch."
          "Why?"
          I made a face. "No one needs to see my skinny torso."
          Laughing, Tim complied, and we started again. Hiking the ball was quickly scrapped, as holding it to the ground meant that it would launch in unpredictable directions as the center tried to get it out of the water. Fumbles became incredibly long events, due to the fact that the football was a) floating and b) slippery. Once, I launched myself at a dropped ball, only to have it squirt out of my hands. Then someone landed on my back and I went under. It was awesome. One guy took a video, but didn't catch that exact moment, fortunately.
          Spectators--girls, adults, and the occasional security guards (who were probably told to get us out of there but took one look and decided that it would be easier to stop Earth from spinning than to remove us)--began gathering around the edge and cheering us on. I mean, except for the security guards.
          We played for quite a while. Guys swapped in and out--some took quick breaks to go have water fights with the spectators, and newcomers decided they wanted to join. I almost scored a touchdown once, but a sudden tackle sent me underwater and the ball off to who knows where. One of my teammates got it, though, because there was great rejoicing and a score incrementation when I came up for air.
          A few hours later, I finally called it quits--I ran out of energy and was now quite cold. Also, due to the amount of mud that got churned up, my white shorts turned black, and my yellow shirt...um, also turned black. (After washing, they were grey and orange, respectively. I never got their original color back.)
          I started towards the door and was halted by one of the said security guards. "Nope. Gotta dry off first."
          "Um, okay--"
          "Need help?"
          Jordan, another Calc III student, joined me. I nodded. "Hey, think you can get me a towel?"
          "Sure." He snapped a picture of me and vanished before I could confiscate his phone.
          My homework was a little overdue, needless to say.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 170: Family Vacation, Part 3--WE TAKE THE BEACH AT DAWN.

6:00am: Radar wakes up with Nemesis's foot in his ribs.
6:01: Nemesis is kicked off the bed and wakes up in that little hammock thing you get when you tuck the sheets in under the mattress.
6:11: Nemesis regains the bed.
6:27: The girls walk in on a (quiet) pillowfight. Inquiries are made regarding parental status.
6:31: One game of "Spies" later, it is determined that Mom and Dad are still asleep. Everyone sneaks back to the boys' room and tries to figure out what we'll do for the next hour. Or maybe two. We tired the parental unit out pretty thoroughly last night.
7:13: Dad wanders in and suggests that we get ready to bring Mom breakfast in bed. After he locates an outfit that's not his PJs, of course.
7:23: Dad locates some suitable clothes and meets everyone at the front door. A discussion is had regarding "proper attire"--the boys have not yet changed out of their pajamas.
7:24: The boys spent 55 seconds arguing and five seconds changing. Everyone is now deemed "presentable."
7:27: An appropriate store is located. Doughnuts and other appropriate breakfast foods are purchased. The boys are allowed to carry the juice, since the girls are considered more trustworthy when it comes to matters of edibles.
7:28: The boys protest. Dad threatens to break fingers.
7:29: Radar almost successfully makes off with a package of doughnut holes but is forcibly stopped with the patented "Dad Neck Grip of Death."
7:30: The general consensus is that Radar sounds like a mouse. Radar points out that it's hard to sound normal when your dad has the back of your neck.
7:31: Dad suggests that we go in the hotel room quietly in case Mom is still sleeping. However, Radar and Nemesis are having a small wrestling match and are already in the process of bouncing off the door when this edict is issued.
7:32: Mom is awake! (Admittedly, it's hard to sleep with four hyperactive and hungry children pouncing on you.)
7:33: Mom announces that she'll be right out to eat "as soon as she puts her contacts in."
8:03: Mom finally enters the living room area to find that, despite Dad's best efforts, Radar and Nemesis have made off with a few doughnut holes and a few melon cubes. Her advent prompts cheering.
8:04: Morning prayers are said with pardonable swiftness and breakfast is officially started.
8:45: Breakfast is over. Plans for the day as discussed. Beach is mentioned.
8:47: Cheering is finally quenched by Dad's offer to let the noisy kids stay behind while he and Mom visit the beach. Silence prevails, although the chairdancing cannot be suppressed.
8:50: Table is cleared and room tidied. Everyone adjourns to change into swim gear.
9:02: Surprisingly, everyone is ready to go. Even the girls. Nemesis starts to make a comment, but Mom warns him that the offer to stay behind is still valid.
9:04: Everyone piles into the car.
9:16: We're pretty sure Dad is lost.
9:21: Yeah, Dad's definitely lost.
9:35: Debate about mountain formation.
9:44: Arrival at the beach. Mom reminds everyone (too late) to remain in the car until the car has come to a complete stop.
9:45: Mom attempts to tell Radar and Nemesis to put on sunscreen. Radar is already in the ocean by this point and ignores her.
9:46: Radar manages to time the waves perfectly and get in position to see the "tunnel" right before the wave collapses on him...on the first try.
9:51: Radar shows Nemesis where to stand to see the tunnel. Dad and Squirrel wade out and get smoked by a wave while laughing at Radar and Nemesis.
9:52: Dad asks where the heck Squirrel went. Radar points to the shoreline; apparently, she rode the wave back to the beach.
10:00: Mom wades out and is passed by Nemesis, Quill and Radar going the other way via wave.
10:21: Dad locates a bodyboard and suggests trying it out, since we keep capsizing every time we try to ride the waves in. Radar requests a surfboard and is turned down.
10:37: Radar finally gets a turn with the bodyboard.
10:40: Radar decides that it's "too boring" to use a board, even if it keeps him upright. Gives board back to Nemesis and decides to see how long he can stay underwater.
10:58: Quill looks around of her older brother to see if he wants to play Shark Tag.
11:03: It takes Quill five minutes and Nemesis to find Radar; apparently, he's only coming up for air and has spent 21 of the last 23 minutes underwater. He calls it "playing dolphin."
11:25: Nemesis and Squirrel are working on wonderful burns. They adjourn for more sunscreen.
11:45: Mom tries to get some sunscreen on Radar when he comes back for a snack; Radar points out that he doesn't burn and sunscreen is gross.
12:00pm: Sandcastle-building contest between the siblings.
12:10: Sandcastle-destroying contest between siblings.
12:25: Radar suggests a new game: building castles on the shoreline as quickly as possible between big waves. Points awarded for speed of construction, intricacy of design, and awesomeness of destruction by wave.
12:40: Radar and Quill get hit by a massive wave and decided to follow the water back out into the ocean.
1:00: Dad joins us for Shark Tag.
3:00: Mom suggests that five hours in the water is probably plenty and requests that Dad round up all children.
4:00: Nemesis, Quill, and Squirrel have obeyed the summons, possibly just because they're getting pretty hungry. Dad is still looking for Radar.
4:10: Radar is located, but disappears back underwater before Dad can catch him.
4:30: Radar is finally evicted from the ocean (Dad managed to grab his ankle and tow him out). Much protesting.
4:40: Everyone has rinsed off the salt and dried off. Sunburns are compared.
4:41: Squirrel and Dad tied for best sunburn; they both look like lobsters. Nemesis is a close second. Quill has a little red, while Radar might have a little red on his shoulders if you crossed your eyes and used your imagination. Mom and Radar tied for best tan.
4:45: Dinner is discussed.
5:10: A restaurant is located. The Midway children proceed to eat record amounts of food. Double normal intake for the girls, triple for Nemesis, and at least quadruple for Radar, but Dad cut him off after his second triple burger. The kids discuss stealing the battleship Missouri and turning it into a pirate ship. Again.
6:15: Ice cream is located. A stroll is had.
6:21: Radar kills the only bug he sees on the entire Hawaii trip by yanking off his sandal, chasing after it, and hitting it repeatedly while yelling "DIE BUG DIE!".
6:22: Dad reminds Radar via Dad Neck Grip of Death that the Midway family is not the only people on the island and should behave with propriety. Radar concedes the point by squeaking.
7:30: Family returns to hotel.
8:00: Everyone is pooped and voluntarily decides to turn in.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 169: Family Vacation, Part 2--Let There Be Pirates

          "...which was located just behind the fuel stores, which caught fire and helped sink the ship in minutes. Oh, and there's a legend behind the oil leakage that says it'll stop when the last crewmember dies."
          Ma peered over the railing at the remains of the Arizona. "You need to read some books that aren't World War Two related for once. But thanks for the details."
          "What we need to do is see if the sub tours have a place for us," I suggested, accepting the underhanded compliment that I'd memorized the entire library collection of WWII books by the tender age of fourteen. "By the way, can we get a periscope for the treehouse?"
          "No," Dad said, putting a hand on my shoulder and steering me back towards the exit. "And we can't do both the submarine and the battleship. The girls want to see the Dole Plantation."
          I glanced up (in time to see him roll his eyes) and giggled. "We could stay behind?" I suggested.
          "It's a family vacation," Quill said huffily, wandering over. "You're obsessed with Pearl Harbor, so it's only fair that we get to do something fun too!"
          "Besides, I hear they let you taste the fruit!" Mom pointed out.
          I sighed. "I'd rather fly a simulator."
          A few minutes later, we were back on land, and a few minutes after that, we were boarding the Missouri. Squirrel gazed in awe at the massive guns. "Those are big!"
          "Well, they are sixteen-inch guns," I felt constrained to point out. "Too bad they don't fire anymore."
          Quill held her hands out, gauging distances. "I think those are bigger than sixteen inches. Are you talking about the machine guns?"
          "Diameter, sweetie, not length," Dad informed her. "Now, let's be quiet and polite during the tour, okay?"
          "I could just tell you everything," I suggested, desiring to run free aboard the massive battleship (which is just as much of a terrible idea now as it was back then).
          Mom looked amused. "I don't think you know everything."
          I shrugged, a little boastfully. "Most of it. Did you know that the big guns could fire a two thousand and seven hundred pound shell twenty miles?"
          "Good to know," Ma said absently as she and Dad greeted the tour guide.
          Nemesis sidled up to me. "What about the small guns?"
          "Five inches, ten miles," I said promptly. "There's twenty of those."
          We started the tour after a few other people joining our group. I poked Ma when the tour guide informed everyone that the 16" guns could throw a 2700-pound shell over twenty miles. She gave me a look.
          The tour continued. We were shown the bridge, the engine room (which Dad and I really enjoyed--we actually pulled away from the main group to discuss the eight Babcock and Wilcox boilers and the propulsion system without disturbing anyone in the group. Ma was forced to come get us when the group began departing, since we didn't notice), crew quarters, and finally the area where the Japanese officially surrendered after WWII.
          "Bet you didn't know that," Mom suggested on our way to the foredeck. "Isn't that interesting?"
          "September 2nd, 1945," I said absently, running a hand along the railing and trying to figure out how long it would take to restart the ship after its long retirement. "General McArthur presided, if I remember correctly."
          Mom sighed and gave up. I dropped back to Nemesis. "Hey, know what we should do when we grow up?"
          "Come back to Hawaii?"
          I waved my hand dismissively. "That's a given. No, become pirates!"
          Quill joined us. "Yeah, we could rule the ocean!"
          "We just need this ship." I guestured at the Missouri, grinning.
          That got both of them into the spirit of things. "Yeah! We could fix it up!" Nemesis said, grinning.
          "And sail it right out of the harbor!" I added.
          Quill grinned. "We just need a crew. How about Scholar?" she suggested, naming her best friend.
          "Only if I get to bring Sargent and the twins," I conceded.
          "And I get Goose and those guys," Nemesis interjected.
          "We might need a few more guys," I added, stopping next to a small machine gun and grabbing the grips. Swinging it up, I opened fire vocally on imaginary aircraft.
          "We can just stop by Tortuga," Quill joked, referencing one of our favorite movies. Pirates of the Caribbean was a definite staple in the Midway household.
          "Can I try?" Nemesis asked, indicating the gun.
          I relinquished the gun.
          A few minutes later, we were still plotting when Dad came looking for us. "Hey, be careful with that."
          Quill let go, a little guiltily. "Sorry."
          "I think they put that there for people to play with, but you don't want to break it. You know what they say," Dad warned us.
          Nemesis frowned. "What's that?"
          "You break it, you buy it."
          "Deal," I announced and lunged forward.
          Dad snagged me by the collar of my shirt. "You don't have enough money. Trust me."
          "It's okay. We're pirates," I informed him.
          "Sure you are. Come on, let's go," Dad said, and ushered me back towards the group. My other siblings followed.
          "Can we go in the simulator?" I asked, pointing with some difficulty at the small building on shore.
          "Ask your mother," Dad deferred judgement.
          Mom grudgingly agreed, already acknowledging the futility of getting to the plantation that day. Nemesis and I spend a very enjoyable time in the simulator--we couldn't fly it (it was more like a movie), but the swooping and banking of the room was incredibly fun.
          Dad and Mom probably got a little annoyed with us over dinner, since we wouldn't shut up about the idea of being pirates. And, to be fair...that option still isn't entirely off the table.
          No, I didn't grow up. Why do you ask?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 168: Family Vacation, Part 1--Houston, We've Landed....

          "Uh...Dad?"
          Dad looked up from his bag, which he was busily digging through looking for something. (Probably Mom's camera.) "Yeah?"
          I pointed. "That lobby doesn't have any walls."
          He chuckled. "Well, there's not that many bugs here, and it's not like it snows..."
          "That is so AWESOME!" Nemesis and I yelled.
          "Shh! You'll look like tourists!" Mom scolded.
          "We are tourists," Quill pointed out, clutching her notebook. Mom had given us all notebooks in which to write our vacation experiences down in (as a homeschooling mother, Mom felt it her duty to suck all the fun out of everything by requesting essays on any and all life experiences). Quill was the only one who took it seriously and had already written about our airplane flight while Nemesis and I were fighting over the camera and smearing up the windows with nose prints.
          Mom suppressed a smile. "Then we don't want to annoy everyone else."
          "We already--mmph!"
          Dad managed to suppress the rest of my comment. "Well, we shouldn't," he warned me, tone indicating that even the paradise of Hawaii (Oahu at the moment, to be specific) would not be devoid of ass-whuppings should I act out in public. Even hyped up by the airline sodas as I was, I took the hint and became the model of silence, if not of stillness.
          For about five seconds. "Guys, come on!" I suggested, and starting running back and forth across the rather abrupt transition between carpeted lobby and paved pavilion. The novelty appealed to my siblings, who joined me. The parental unit let out a mutual sigh of mildly strained patience, but decided that was probably the least annoying/destructive thing we could be doing with our pent-up energy and went to go check in.
          When they turned back around, we'd ceased running back and forth through non-existent walls and were now trying to catch pigeons. The birds, while tame enough to let us get within inches of them, were nonetheless wily enough to skedaddle when we grabbed for them. Ma arrested our game and ordered us to help bring the luggage up to the room. We made the journey in record time.
          After situating the boys in one room and the girls in the other, and after hanging up certain of the nicer articles of clothing, Mom decided it was time for a lesson in travel. She convened the Midway family meeting in the boys' room.
          "Who remembers what the time difference is between here and Minnesota? Radar, stop hitting your brother!"
          I discarded the pillow. "Um..."
          "Five hours," my time-conscious brother declaimed proudly.
          "Very good. Ahead or back?"
          "Back. I already reset my watch." He held up his wrist for inspection. "Oh, and I also set Minnesota time on the world clock. That way we can see what time it is back home."
          "I showed him how to do that," I felt compelled to add.
          Nemesis stuck his tongue out at me. "Yeah, but you didn't remember the time zone!"
          Dad snatched the pillow out of my hands as I tried to clobber my brother with it. "Don't even think about it, or we'll leave you here when we go to the beach!"
          "Are we going to the beach today?" I asked eagerly.
          "Tomorrow," Dad said firmly. "We're probably all too tired to go today."
          All of us kids just looked at him.
          "Okay, I'm too tired to go today," Dad clarified.
          Mom cleared her throat. "When you travel across time zones, you sometimes experience something called 'jet lag.' It means your body thinks it's time to go to bed when it's not. So right now, it's 3pm here, which means it's..."
          "8:14 at home!" Nemesis announced.
          Quill grinned. "We're up past our bedtime!"
          Squirrel giggled. Then her face fell. "Are we going to have to go to bed now?"
          "Well, we should all probably take a small nap so that we're not too tired for dinner..." Mom began.
          A chorus of groans greeted that announcement. Mom and Dad exchanged looks, silently admitting that we had been pretty good on that eight-hour-long flight and we probably needed to burn off a little steam.
          "Why don't we go for a walk?" Dad suggested.
          He made the mistake of standing in the hallway to the door and was almost flattened by his over-enthusiastic offspring. To be fair, we were pretty excited to visit somewhere that didn't have mosquitoes the size of canned hams...