My Left Knee Cracks

It is pretty constant.  If I bend my knees to be even with my students, it will crack when I stand.  Should I sit with legs crossed, the movement of that left leg will be, with no doubt, serenaded with the grinding of bone on bone.  If I stand and turn, it will pop – pop loud enough for all to hear.

It can jar the teeth. It can be a relief. It can be annoying.  It can be embarrassing. 

It can be painful.

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Fandom and Corn Hole – Not As Dirty As It Sounds

To paraphrase Simon Pegg, being a geek is not being afraid to demonstrate your affection for the things you like/love. My car, my scooter, my home, my clothes all demonstrate my affections for the movies/music/books/television/etc that I love!
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A little jumpstart couldn’t hurt could it? An inventory of creativity as it now stands

If you know me, you probably know I’ve struggled with finishing the final requirement to complete my Master in Public Health. However, with an uncharacteristic flourish of initiative, I made the arrangements to participate in a Dissertation/Thesis Boot Camp sponsored by the Graduate School. Last week I number crunched for eight hours a day in a barren little dorm room at Patterson Hall. Yes, I am claiming that as a vacation. This week I am writing 8 to noon and working 1-9pm at the lab. I’m cheating a little bit as Monday was Memorial Day, but four twelve hour days must count for something, right?

Last week went so swimmingly and I was rather proud of myself with the progress I made stitching together my data set and the early attempts to analyze it. I merged datasets, recoded variables, negated skip patterns in the survey, and even began to characterize my sample population. And it was good. The holiday weekend came and went with guest appearances by Adventurer, Conqueror, King, Draw Something, and steaks. Tuesday came and I was ready for it: continuous and categorical variables of interest were estimated and luminous demographic tables were erected. My head buzzed with the tangle of influences on my dependent variable I was beginning to delineate. And it was good.

And then this morning happened. And it was fair at best. Our organic and rather arbitrary black fluffy alarm clock went off at an unspeakable hour and refused to be placated with food, treats, pets, hugs, entreaties, bargains, pleas and barring all of that a good deal of hateful shushing. I’m sitting at Boot Camp (if any military friends care to comment on the oxymoron, you are well justified) now and really can not get started on task at hand. So I am squeezing words onto this blog until the runaway reaction of word fusion takes off and I can actually focus on the real reason I am sitting in a dorm room with nothing but a desk, lofted bed, and window to keep me company when many adults my age are typically at work receiving compensation for their time.

I have really missed posting on this blog. No excuses, just haven’t made time for creative endeavors when I’ve had it to devote until recently. There have been a few highlights but mostly there have been a few day-to-day discoveries I didn’t realize would be so creative. In the main event, my friend Grace and I recently took a “Introduction to Home Brewing” class at the Lexington Beerworks. The information was very accessible and the class covered the basic Brew Day routine while maintaining a largely conversational air of informality. I highly recommend taking a class if you have ever been interested in home brew and there is one coming up on June 2. I am also lucky that Grace’s husband, a beer hobbiest, will let us use his equipment and be on hand for the “oh, hell” moments. We are going to start our first batch this weekend using a “summer ale” kit we will tweak with the addition of orange peel.  Our batch will debut around Independence Day if all goes well. Fingers crossed!

In day-to-day operations, I have found myself completely addicted to Draw Something, a free app where you cooperatively send your friends drawings back and forth to guess the prompt word. I never realized how much fun it could be to tailor a pictorial message to the recipient. It’s comforting that sketches are digital and go away, but it’s leading me to want to sketch things out more often in real life. It’s also really neat to see the way your friends choose to approach a drawing or represent things to you. My only criticism of the free app is that the words are limited and you soon start drawing the same things over and over. However, the full version is cheap and I’m told there are more words and colors to use. If I ever bother to upgrade, I’ll let you know.

I’ve been playing a really fun pen and paper RPG system called Adventurer, Conquerer, King run by my friend Sam. I’ve played in a few D&D 3.5 and higher edition games and one D20 modern campaign but really have never explored other systems. It was an adjustment at first to declare actions prior to rolling for initiative and to hinge on a truly narrative based style of playing but I think it’s kind of the perfect system for me because of the narrative and the necessity of table talk to get things done. Last week we rescued an ankylosaurus and stopped an evil sorcerer from raising his army through ritual sacrifice. Sam runs a great game and everyone who plays does their character justice, something I could do better than I have been so far. Any tips for a Ruinguard from inside the Mandate?

So I maintain that there is creativity present in my life. It’s just used sparingly and not in the form I expect when I get up in the morning. Like what my capstone data tells me in direct contradiction to my hypothesis, lol. But I guess many good things probably come that way, though. Maybe it’s just part of learning to love the incidental discoveries in addition to making good things happen. I think that’s what I’m going with today and hope it helps you out, too, if you need it. I hope you’ll wish me luck as I return back to the world of statistical software packages and data analysis. I should be back soon to report on upcoming challenges for D3Z, Staci, and myself here on the Easel.

Until then,

cryptotox

Peggle, why are you so much fun?!

As you are aware, I am currently working on a reduction print.  Between waiting on ink to dry on both the paper and the linoleum itself, I end up having some spare time to fill.  Yes, I could be preparing for the upcoming school year and the lessons I want to teach – and I do somewhat – but I usually find myself reading a book or enjoying the game Peggle on my PS3.

Well, I finished yet another book today (Thud! by Terry Pratchett, which was AWESOME) and I found myself drawn to Peggle for some mindless enjoyment.  For those of you who don’t know, I tend to get stressed out and over think things quite a bit.  Peggle is a nice way for me to just sit back, relax, listen to some interesting music, and look at some weird background art.

The game of Peggle is very simple: you start off with 10 shots, shoot the ball, hit the orange pegs, get points, win stage….wash, rinse, and repeat.  After you go through 40 levels, you unlock all the masters (with names like Bjorn the Unicorn and Master Hu – an owl, what’s not to enjoy right?!), and can play the Master’s Challenge levels.  Beyond that, there are various challenges that one can complete that involve scoring the most points, getting rid of the orange pegs with a specific number of shots, etc.

What keeps bringing me back to this game?  Like I said, it’s really simple, the music repeats, and when you do hit all the orange pegs, you get “Extreme Fever” and Ode to Joy starts blaring out of the TV.  That’s it, over and over again the same thing.  So why keep coming back to it?  Doesn’t it get old?  Not for me it doesn’t!

Peggle started off as a game my brother shared with me a little over a month ago when I was visiting home.  We played it until close to 2am, even though he had to go to work the next day (we did this all week!).  It was always, “one more time,” because over time, one realizes it’s not really just that simple.  You have to start thinking about angles and how to shoot the ball to hit the peg that just had to be out of your line of sight.  You have to decide which master is the best to use for this level.  It starts to become a thinking man’s game more than just shooting a ball and hoping.

Now, is it a great brain teaser?  No, it’s not.  It IS a lot of fun to play both alone or with someone..or a crowd!  It’s really just an addictive game that really doesn’t cause anyone to get THAT angry.  I like that, because and I freely admit this, I’m the world’s worst when it comes to getting aggravated at a game.

That’s being said, and since I’m now waiting for the print, I’m off to play the add-on to Peggle, Peggle Nights.  Same characters, new levels, new background art – which, by the way, is a lot of fun to look at!

Have a great evening and don’t let everything get too overwhelming.  Sometimes we all need a good book, a good laugh, or just a good time.

Just an example of a level - looks fun right!