8am on a Tuesday: Finishing up a semester, ants, reading YA-lit, Nirvana, and wanting to create a board-game

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Summary: It is 8:00 AM on a Tuesday morning, the first of December, and I am wrapping up a semester. On top of this, I am fighting with ants, reading up on what might be my last YA-lit for a while, listening to some Nirvana CDs I have not heard in years, and playing with the idea of creating a board game.

Tuesday, 01 December 2009

(08:47:22 CST)

8am on a Tuesday: Finishing up a semester, ants, reading YA-lit, Nirvana, and wanting to create a board-game

I have early morning head. I do not mean "bed-head", but more a sense of headache-grogginess and a foggy feeling behind the eyes. I always have this if I wake up with the dawn, which I did today (after being in bed since about 10pm last night, which is very early for me). Now that I have read more about how sleep works, I know that some people have a different internal clock than the norm. Even if you are exhausted, this does not mean, as I understand it, that you will get all the melatonin you need to properly sleep. I am already an insomniac on the best of days, but I am more and more thinking this is due to a late-in-day release of melatonin that causes me to get sleepy about 3am-4am, and then I only want to sleep through about 9am, though sometimes an hour or so later. The insomnia might be caused by me trying to force sleep too early, leading to frustration and so forth.

Insomnia or not, I have a relatively full day in front of me. I have to read through Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci's Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd some more and then, tonight, right a review of it along with reviews of two other books: The Maze Runner (James Dashner) and Crash Into Me (Albert Borris). Geektastic is a series of stories and anecdotes about being geeky. The Maze Runner is some cross between Lord of the Flies and maybe The Prisoner (and is the start of trilogy). Crash Into Me is about four suicidal teens going on a road trip to visit scenes of famous suicides with a plan to end themselves in Death Valley. Maze is good, and easy to write about; Geektastic is pretty good and not too hard to sum up; but Crash is a tricky sort of thing. While it does handle its subject with respect, something about the final product does not quite gel and it becomes a little too rote, a little too cliche. Not sure what would need to be fixed, but something is not all there. Fascinating collection of facts about suicide in it, though, and who did what to themselves when.

Finishing this assignment, I then get to move on to my final assignment (sort of) for the semester: a 6-8 page paper about overweight teens and self-image. It kind of plays out as overweight teens and depression, but I'll be looking at a number of factors (depression, suicide, promiscuity, drug abuse, and extra-curricular activities) and try and see how the literature handles it. One thing I have found is that most fictional accounts of fat teens makes their weight the absolute central thing in their life. If a teen is chubby in a book, they get called "fatso" and "lardass" continuously ("Call me anything...but Piggy"). This does not quite match up to movies (where they get used for a couple of throwaway gags and then ignored) or even, I would say, to real life.

Then, Friday, I go back down to Gadsden for the last time for nearly a year. Maybe. I've thought about heading down there some "First-Friday" in the Spring. While down there I have to talk about Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War (excellent book, by the way) and Jennifer Burek Pierce's Sex, Brains, and Videogames (not excellent, but with lots of information). That will wrap me up for classes and I'll have a fair amount of free time until January. Well, as much free time as one can have with the Christmas season springing up and all the family fun times and assorted delights. My plan is to put away at least five somewhat major books during that time. I'll write more about them during the appropriate time. I do plan on putting YA-lit to rest for a while, at least until March or so, so that I can read a bit more serious lit. I know that's unfair, and some YA-lit is serious and thoughtful (see Chocolate War and Lord of the Flies); but, in many cases, the genre is missing some quality of fullness that stops it from being fully satisfying.

As far as non-class things go, the biggest issue of the day are the ants that decided that it was too cold to stay outside. We've had a couple of random run-ins culminating, this morning, in them infesting some cough drops. I'll probably just let the front office know about them, and get some as-animal-safe-as-possible ant spray. My main worry is the run-ins have been sort of centrally located around our interior wall, but in different rooms. That means they are in the wall and this could be a big, long mess.

Less big, I felt the need to get some Nirvana tracks yesterday. It has been a long time since I have sat down with them. I've liked their sound for a long time, just haven't had much of their music. There has been a recent re-release of Bleach with bonus tracks, so I bought that, and have had "Negative Creep" stuck in my head ever since. I also used a couple of coupons/specials and got Owl City's Ocean Eye. The guy says he has not heard of The Postal Service and I find that pretty hard to believe, but it is an entertaining CD all the same. If you like what The Postal Service did, then be sure to give Owl City a spin since you probably won't be getting a PS album anytime soon.

Finally, I've had an itching to create some sort of board-game. One of my main ideas involves checkers. Two rows of eight for both sides and they meet in the middle. Somehow, I want a mixture of shoving and jumping. As in, two checkers can push one checker (and three can push two) and single checkers can be jumped. Checkers can move in every direction and jump diagonally, maybe. The other idea is technically a dice game, but on a grid of sorts. Ten six-sided dice in a pyramid with the idea being to get all of them converted to 1s and played off. The concept of the game is "watching paint dry" and as the dice go from whatever number (random roll, or each layer is one higher than the next are two options) down to 1, that is their drying process. You do it in competition, with some method of swapping dice or something. The only way the game might work is to introduce cards and other random elements into the play, both an event deck (effects everyone and drawn at random) and an action deck. I'll have to ponder both of those.

Si Vales, Valeo


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