Sunday, December 30, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 104: The Icy Frontier

          "Hey Nemesis, where are the girls?"
          Nemesis looked up from his concentration on the ice to see me wobbling down the road to the pond on my three-sizes-too-freaking-small ice skates. "I dunno. They said something like fifteen minutes, but that was--"
          "Twenty minutes ago?" I rolled my eyes. The tardiness of the female members of our family was a well-documented and well-know fact. I considered a sarcastic comment but couldn't think of anything that I hadn't already said a few million times. Ugh.
          "Wanna play something?" I inquired.
          Nemesis spun in a neat circle. I couldn't tell if it was deliberate or not; knowing him, it probably wasn't. "Sure. What game?"
          "How about hockey?" I asked, disregarding the inconvenient fact that neither of us had the slightest idea of how to play it. After the Midway Golfing Incident, we kids had realized that our guesses to how any particular game was played was always more fun than the actual rules invariably turned out to be; normal rules typically didn't let us duel each other.
          "Hockey...that's the one with the sticks, right?" Nemesis asked, both questioning my recollection of the game and quoting the Doctor for the TV show Doctor Who at the same time.
          I laughed. "Pretty sure. Sticks and some disk thingy...puck, I think?"
          "Where can we get them from?"
          I wobbled my way back off the ice. "Let's try the shop."
          The shop, predictably, yielded two hoes, one of which was flattened so that the blade stuck straight out of the handle instead of having the traditional "hook" to it. I took that one; Nemesis took the normal one. "Now we need a ball of some sort," I mused, looking around the shop. "The pond is too snowy for a disk to slide. Maybe a basketball?"
          "A basketball?" Nemesis asked dubiously.
          "Yeah, let's try it. Could you go get it?" I asked, heading back out to the ice to draw up some goal lines.
          Nemesis came back with a basketball and, better yet, a croquet ball. "Brilliant," I complemented him, taking it.
          "How should we start?" Nemesis asked.
          "CHARGE!!!" I yelled and whacked the ball as hard as I could towards Nemesis's goal. He sped after it, with me in hot pursuit. He hooked the ball with his hoe and sent it hurtling back at me. I tried to block it by planting the blade of my hoe in front of it, but my non-standard, straight hoe just bounced it up off the ground and towards my face.
          Not optimal. I leaned backwards hastily, and the ball flew over my head to land (luckily) in the snowbank at the edge of the pond, away from the goal. "Yes!!!" I yelled as I picked myself up and dusted myself off.
          "Aww," Nemesis complained, looking disappointed.
          "Bring it," I grinned, feeling rather cocky. That feeling vanished in a moment when, after a quick flurry of sticks, Nemesis managed to smack the ball through my legs and into my goal. I sighed. "Okay, the score is oogy to boogy. And it's my ball."
          Nemesis and I somehow managed to fit three collisions, a wrestling match, two stick fights, and five shoves into the snowbank in before Nemesis made a lucky kick to the ball, sending it through my goal again. He also managed to clobber me in the kneecap with his stick. I hobbled over to the goal to retrieve the ball. "You know, Nemesis," I commented, "I really wish I had your hoe."
          The next match was better for me. I managed to smack Nemesis into a snowback, hit the ball towards his goal, and...miss. Nemesis whacked it back at me, I mistakenly tried to block it with my hoe, and it bounced up and whacked me in the stomach. Nemesis tackled me (maybe by mistake, but since there were no rules against tackling, I suppose he could have done it on purpose. Neither of us are very good skaters), so when I landed in the ball, I managed to grab it and, with a weak flip of my wrist, send it rolling lazily through Nemesis's goal. Nemesis lunged for it with his hoe but missed by inches.
          "Aww, come on, that's not fair!" he protested.
          "Where is that written in the rules?" I wheezed, still out of breath from having the big lummox landing on me.
          Nemesis sighed. "I suppose it's fair...okay, the score is now oogy to boogy!"
          "I already had oogy!" I protested. "It's boogy to twoogy now!"
          "Oh, right," Nemesis nodded. "My ball this time!"
          "Fine by me," I grunted, dusting myself and checking to make sure all my body parts were roughly in their correct respective locations.
          Nemesis opened ball four up with a hard whack towards my goal. I blocked it with my skate and sent it off at an angle towards the side of the pond. We both charged; a flurry of sticks, and it rolled back towards my goal.
          Alarmingly close to my goal.
          Nemesis brought his stick back for the winning shot; I grabbed it out of the air from behind and reached around to try to smack the ball away. Nemesis grabbed my stick; I overbalanced and wiped out, taking us both down. Nemesis landed on me again but, disregarding insignificant issues like crushed ribs and lack of oxygen, I maintained a firm hold on both sticks and somehow managed to kick the ball away towards the middle of the pond. We had a brief but useless wrestling match, which we finally desisted from because we were laughing too hard to continue.
          "Okay, on the count of three, we release each other's sticks," Nemesis suggested.
          "Which one is mine, anyway?" I asked. In the fracas, I'd lost track of which one was mine, and I couldn't see the ends because--as I mentioned--Nemesis was on top of me.
          "The one I'm wiggling is mine," Nemesis informed me, with appropriate actions.
          "Ah. Okay, one...two...HOLD IT!!! Solemn vow that no one charges until we're both ready," I demanded, remembering that he currently had the upper hand. Literally and figuratively.
          "Okay. One, two, three!" Nemesis agreed, releasing my stick. I released his, and we both got up. Nemesis looked around for the ball. "Where'd it go?"
          It turned out the girls, who were now out and wanted to skate without the danger inherant to two competitive boys waving large sticks with metal tips around indiscriminately, had thrown the ball off the pond. We ignored their pleas for sanity, tracked down the ball, and spotted it to where we figured that it had landed. Then, after some debate, we both placed our sticks down a set distance away from the ball and backed up even further. Then, a reluctant Squirrel yelled "Ready, set, go!" for us.
          We charged. Nemesis went for his hoe, snatching it in time to give the ball a hearty whack. I went for the subtle approach, ignoring my garden implement entirely in favor of sliding in and blocking the ball with my skate. Nemesis smashed his hoe into my knee again, causing me to collapse on both the ball and my hoe.
          "Hey, no fair!" Nemesis protested.
          "Your fault," I grunted, faceup and clutching my hoe. I managed to jackknife up and twist violently in midair to smack the ball away from underneath me with my hoe before collapsing facedown on the ice. Nemesis yelped in surprise and, when he started charging after the ball, got tripped when I kicked his skate out from under him. The end result was that we both arrived at the ball at the same moment. Another flurry of sticks, feet, and arms ensued, after which the ball was discovered to have rolled past the goal. Nemesis and I scurried over to the goal to trace the ball's path through the snow.
          "YES!!! I MADE IT!!!" I cheered, then collapsed on the ground, laughing. Nemesis managed that impressive feat of laughing while standing, an accomplishment I was too tired and sore to try to duplicate. Besides, my jeans were already soaked anyway; his weren't.
          I rolled over onto my back wheezing. "The final score is twoogy to twoogy!"
          "We should play this again!" Nemesis rejoiced.
          I nodded. "Oh, and by the down! I think I'll just stay down here for a bit..."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 103: Oregon Trail!

          We used to have a game.
          A computer game, which seemed to us kids at the time to be the most highly advanced thing we'd ever seen; now, having experience to look back with, it was rather pathetic, but still really fun. This game was called...Oregon Trail!
          The premise was simple start out in a town called Independence back in the 18th or 19th century, get supplies, join a wagon train, and travel across the West to Oregon while attempting to keep the members of your party alive and (my goal) shooting every animal bigger than a pocket watch. When we first started playing, I always had charge of the computer and, as such, got to put my name in the not-really-coveted position of leader; Quill, Nemesis, and Squirrel then gathered around and added their names to my party. We'd debate over what items to get, debate over which trail to take, and I'd get smacked every time one of them got injured or sick and I chose to go hunting instead of dealing with the problem. Quill loved fishing, so I'd occasionally surrender the mouse to her so she could fish her heart out (but never during the salmon runs).
          As we grew older, we noticed that the computer used the same words over and over. It was always "Radar broke his leg." or "Nemesis has cholera." (We also noticed that I had the same response to each problem--go hunting--but that was universally accepted as me being OCD.) I don't know if it was Nemesis of Quill who first thought of this, but soon the party member's names changed. The new names were "Who," "Nobody," "the Mad Hatter," etc, so we could laugh until we cried every time the computer said something like "Nobody broke his leg" or "Who drowned while crossing a river."
          THEN...we discovered the diary.
          This was a computer-generated log of our adventures, in which we could add our own writing. Characters quickly developed for Who, Nobody, and the Mad Hatter (Nemesis was always Who; Quill varied occasionally but was usually the Mad Hatter), and the diary became the main attraction for the game. It's impossible to I'll let you read an example, written quite recently when we rediscovered the game.
          In this particular game, I was the Doctor, from the Doctor Who TV show. He was a time traveler with a "sonic screwdriver" that could fix anything as long as it wasn't made out of wood, and also possessed a police telephone box that was bigger on the inside than it was on the outside. He often fought with a race of aliens called the Daleks, which were obsessed with their machine voices and exterminating anything that crossed their path, so I included Dalek Sec in the party just for grins. (A Dalek looks a bit like a strange salt shaker with a plunger sticking out of it for a hand.) Quill opted for the Mad Hatter, Nemesis became Who, and Nobody joined us because everyone could write for him and puns were inevitable. Also, I introduced a new guy, Some Fool; I figured we could just blame him for everything.
          As far as reading the diary goes...the stuff in red is our work, while the stuff in black is the computer. The computer is kinda boring, but it's occasionally necessary to read it in order to understand where we're coming from. Most of the time, you can ignore it though. Also, we always had someone yell "THIRD BASE" after every Who joke, hearkening back to the "Who's on First" baseball skit by Abbott and Costello that probably set this whole thing off.
          And since the diary is a bit long to go in this post, Doctor Who and the Mad Hatter, too is located on a different page.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 102: 25 Random Things About--HEY LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!!!!

          So, I was poking around in my computer archives today instead of cleaning my room (because my mom refuses to allow me to build secret compartments in my wall--such a shame!), and I stumbled across an old post I wrote entitled "25 Random Things About Me," which I never got around to posting because I have the attention span of a sparrow, and that's on the days that I am FOCUSED. I touched it up a bit and decided to post it; mostly because I think it's hilarious and also because I have no stories to write about today. However, I believe we still have some leftover fireworks in the barn, if anyone would like a story tomorrow....
          So without further ado or any more rambling (because at this rate, I'll forget to post it again), may I present 25 Random Things About Me...and since I am COMPLETELY random, this should be easy...

          1. I'm horrible with names, to the point of in, (and I've done this before) I'll have been in a lab for an entire semester with someone, filling out lab reports and blowing stuff up, and I still won't remember his name! Fortunately, another semester of lab did the trick.

          2. I am quite possibly the biggest nerd ever. I have five computers; only one of them I paid for (and boy, is it a nice machine!) Four of them are ones I fixed up after people threw them out, and I'm attempting to wire them up to my room for the prototype artificial intelligence that will one day control my house. "Lights on! NO, NOT THE BLENDER--!!!!"

          3. I'd like to buy a taser. However, I fear that I would inevitably succumb to my curiosity and preform a self-test.
          4. I once built a cannon, but my parents caught me before I could test it. I still maintain that it would have worked.

          5. Solitaire is the bane of my existence. I can lose a game without moving ANY cards.

          6. My best friend and I tried to make a movie over the course of a few years. The movie was never competed, and the bloopers were longer than the movie was.

          7. I have a lighter. I have no idea why.

          8. My siblings make snowmen...or snow-trolls. I make obelisks. Yay Egypt?

          9. My favorite tool in making snow sculptures is a hand saw.

          10. I love swimming, but it's impossible for me to float. I sink like a rock. A wildly flailing rock with water up his nose.

          11. I LOVE NINJA. It's one of the very few games I'm good at.

          12. I'm studying to be a Mechanical Engineer, I teach myself programming on the side, I'm a black belt in Taekwondo, I'm working on writing a novel, and I lead a very eclectic life. Any questions?

          13. I think I'm ADHLAS, or Attention Def--HEY LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!!

          14. My computer now talks to me. It's because I reprogrammed it to sound like JARVIS from the movie Ironman.

          15. It is impossible for me to spell antidisestablishmentarianism without using spell check. My sister can spell it off the top of her head. I'm still wondering how we can possibly be related....

          16. I was born in Illinois. Sorry guys, I'm not a true Minnesotan. Although, I have been told I have the accent...

          17. I once hit the mailbox with the car. my defense, I received faulty directions about where the box was relative to the car's mirror.

          18. It IS possible for tomato sauce to explode. I found that out the hard way.

          19. Never let me near a kitchen. Stuff happens...bad stuff. Fortunately, I can USUALLY repair the damage.

          20. My treehouse has all the switches and panels needed for it to be a submarine. Or a spacecraft. Or a time machine. Or a battleship. Or an AT-AT. Or an airplane. Or...

          21. My phone is awesome. It's an Android, and it usually knows what I'm trying to do before I realize it.

          22. I have one major goal in life...and that's to build a working Ironman suit.

          23. You can challenge me to just about anything. I'm very competitive, even though I usually lose. Hence....y'know...this BLOG....

          24. I've gotten lost on a campus with 5 buildings. Twice.

          25. I wrote this entire thing in 20 minutes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 101: A recap of my semester

          "Yay finals!" said no one EVER.
          I'm taking a break from studying for finals at the moment, hence the slight bitterness here. Studying has taken over my life to an unhealthy degree, so my breaks have begun to take on a life-saving importance. Prepare for rambling!
          CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!! This semester is almost over!! Good gravy, where did the time go? It's insane how fast time's been a crazy four months. I'm sure you could probably have guessed that, as I've only written four times since the start of the semester. However, I guess I've never really written about my college life, except for that one post about getting chased through a dorm (don't you dare say a word, Quill!), so I'm thinking it might be good to do a quick recap of my semester, which arguably holds the record for being my best semester EVER!!! (It would be good for me to remember that as I head into my remaining two finals--sometimes extreme annoyance at studying can best an optimistic outlook.) about a quick summary of my top three things that made for an excellent semester?
          Let's see...where to start?
          Hmm, how about the whole reason for college in the first place? Grades this semester have been excellent (I only have one potential B, and hopefully if I ace the final I'll get an A there too; hence the obsessive-compulsive studying) and I've had some pretty fun classes. Hands-down, my Heating, Ventilation  and Air Conditioning class was the most fun; got to design a duct system for a house at the end of the year! My senior design class takes second place, as my class got to design a distillation column that we're going to build next semester.
          ...I think I just made a few liberal arts majors faint. Too much tech-speak? Sorry. I'm a geek. Anyhoo. Moving on...
          Excellent thingy number two: My sister Quill joined me at college this year; I approached this transition with a great amount of trepidation, as I'd worked hard to build up my reputation here at college and was a bit worried about having someone come who would be able to dispel such notions in the minds of others. HAHA, just kidding--I'm a geek and everyone already knows it. No, I was actually excited, because this was someone I could direct others to for some good-natured freshman hazing! There's a tradition at BC that all the new students have to wear beanies their first week, and any current students who pull them off can make the freshman caw like a raven. I pulled hers three times, one of which was just so she could caw into the phone for Mom's benefit. Plus, she cooks for me sometimes. YAY COOKIES!!! And non-caf food!
          So yes, I'm indebted to Quill in more ways than one; she introduced me to my amazing girlfriend! Well, I say "introduced;" she actually grabbed my arm and shoved me towards Sparrow at swing-dancing class, saying "GO DANCE WITH HER!" Subtlety, thy name is NOT Quill....but hey, considering I had been spending the last thirty minutes trying to figure out how to ask Sparrow to dance, it helped me out quite a bit! I've been dating Sparrow for two months, and it's definitely been a major highlight of my semester! Gives Quill something to tease me about, too...but oh well, I guess I'll just have to return the favor sometime *insert evil grin here*.
          So anyway, that's my semester in a nutshell--er, blog post. My apologies for not writing more! I'm going home soon for break and to rig my brother's Christmas present in some respect--he reads my blog sometimes, so I refuse to give out any details until AFTER Christmas--so I'll be able to write more.
          And if you're still reading, thanks for bearing with me and my compound-complex sentences that just seem to run on and on because I'm kinda tired and I have no idea how to end a thought tonight because of all the studying; everything just seems to run together in my head and confuse me and everyone around me because I'm suddenly talking out loud about the heat capacity of steel and its effect on copper sheets in manufacturing processes--
          Maybe I should go to bed now.

          May ogres never question your fashion sense,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Captain's Log, Day 100: I got CAUGHT.

          "Who won the dodgeball game?"
          I'm not entirely sure who the random girl who posed this question was, but on the other hand, I was kinda busy laughing at my sister Quill's expression. "Huh?" she eloquently inquired.
          Abbey, Quill's roommate, did her best to explain. "Radar threw your squishy ball at me--"
          I interrupted. "So she chased me down the hall and tried to hit me with it!" I nodded to the girl in the hall. "I won, by the way."
          Abbey tried to glare at me. She failed. "You did not! I hit you once!"
          "Yeah, and then you somehow missed at point-blank range," I pointed out. The girl outside laughed and wandered off to find someplace slightly more sane to hang out.
          It was more or less a typical night for me at college. I had decided to stop by to see how Quill was doing, and she had vanished to go give some papers to friends, at which point the altercation with Abbey had  taken place. Quill had returned roughly the same time my girlfriend, Sparrow, had showed up to visit as well and to partake of the sandwiches Quill had made. And then Christina, a mutual friend of all of ours, showed up...basically, Quill's room was getting a little crowded. Needless to say, all the newcomers were a bit miffed that they had missed all the fun.
          "You chased him down the hall?" Quill asked enviously through a mouthful of sandwich.
          "Yepp," I confirmed, tossing the aforementioned squishy ball into the air. "I think we confused most of the residents."
          Sparrow poked me in the ribs. I promptly collapsed (I'm a bit ticklish). "You shouldn't throw stuff at people!" she admonished me.
          I curled into the fetal position, trying to protect my poor ribs. "Ohh, Abbey's practically a sister at this point anyway. I can do that!"
          Abbey shrugged. "Yeah, that's true." She heaved a fake sigh. "Brothers!"
          "Just remember, this means you get all the privileges of a sister," Quill reminded her. "In other words, it's okay to hit him."
          I sat up indignantly. "HEY!"
          Christina had been mostly silent throughout this whole discussion, but now she sat up with a wicked glint in her eyes. "We should all chase him down the hall!"
          I scrambled hastily up. "Whoa now...unfair!"
          "How is it unfair?" Sparrow asked, getting up and pointing her "poking finger" at me.
          I thought fast. Unfortunately, I couldn't really come up with a legitimate reason for them not chasing me, since I obviously had all my limbs attached. Oh well. "If I'm going to get chased, I want to deserve it." I lunged for the ball.
          "Oh no you don't!" Christina squeaked and grabbed for it. I got it free, threw it at Quill, and ran for my life.
          I will say this for the girls; they are pretty fast. They still wouldn't have caught me if I hadn't missed the exit to the stairs. One frantic backpedal later, I managed to trip and wipe out. Before I could get up, Sparrow was standing on my feet. I sat back against the wall. "Everyone happy now?"
          Quill sat on my shoulder. "Hmm, I don't know. That was pretty short."
          "I missed my exit," I explained.
          "Let's do it again!" Christina urged.
          "What is this, tag?" I muttered under my breath. "Nah, I'm good. You're wrecking my shoulder, Quill."
          Quill jumped off. "Again. Come on, Radar, please?"
          I stood up, wiggling my toes to get some blood flowing there. Sparrow had kinda cut off the circulation down there. "I don't think so--"
          "Run or get tickled. You have five seconds," Sparrow informed me.
          "Aww, come on!" I protested, then spun around and ran as they charged me.
          This time, I made the exit to the stairs well ahead of the girls, opting to go downstairs first. I could hear them spilling into the stairway as I yanked open the door to ground floor. Abbey was in the hallway; apparently, she had not opted to join in the original chase and wandered down here instead. She burst out laughing as I flew past.
          I hadn't lost the girls yet, so I decided to go up the back stairway. I raced up two floors; then, in a burst of inspiration, I yanked open the second floor door open as I shot past. The girls couldn't see me, but they heard the door closing; they all piled through into the second floor as I leisurely strolled through the third floor door and headed to the water fountain for a much-needed drink and a review of my options.
          It was obvious that I couldn't keep trying to evade them like this; sooner or later, one of them was going to realize that they'd me more effective if two of them barricaded the stairways and sent the last one to flush me out. Or if (heaven help me) they recruited reinforcements. Sadly, my sense of honor (and humor) demanded that I not try to sneak outside. Fortunately, an alternate plan presented itself: I would sneak down the front stairs, draw them out, let them chase me around a floor, then duck back down to first floor and barricade myself in Quill's room.
          Foolproof! With a capital F!
          It went rather well at first. I drew the girls out and took off back up to third floor, than cut through second to get back to the stairway to first. When I reached for the door handle to first, however...
          "Gotcha!!" Sparrow pounced. I was definitely not expecting that. I backed up, tripped, and hit the corner of the stairwell. Sparrow grabbed my wrist and yelled up the stairway to Christina, "I GOT HIM!!!"
          "Excellent! Where's Quill?" Christina asked.
          "I think she went to go guard the back stairs," Sparrow explained.
          "Let's go get her," Christina proposed, grabbing my other wrist and pulling me through the door to first. We headed down the hallway with me trying subtly to see if I could managed to remove my wrists from their death grips.
          Christina saw Quill first and waved. "Hey, Quill, we got Ra--"
          I quickly yanked my arm away from Christina. Unfortunately, Sparrow had anticipated me and grabbed my other arm with both hands, preventing me from running. Christina quickly re-established her grip on my wrist.
          "I feel like a prisoner!" I complained.
          "You are," Quill informed me. "And I'm the warden."
          "I caught him," Sparrow informed her. "Right when he tried to get though the door. He was not expecting me!"
          I groaned, still a bit out of breath. "You're never going to let me forget this, are you?"
          She smiled angelically. "Nope!"