Stuff I remember

Memories (or lack thereof) and Games

On memories…

At work, we have a few contractors jackhammering at a roughly 10’x8′ rectangle of asphalt in our parking lot, in preparation for pouring a cement foundation for a small bicycle parking structure. It looks really hard, tiring, uncomfortable. Peering out the window at the activity, someone said to me, “Be thankful your parents sent you to college.”

That made me think about it — I don’t really remember my parents “sending” me to college. I don’t really remember them even encouraging me to go to college. I don’t even remember not going to college being a consideration. My recollection is that I always assumed I would go to college. Perhaps my parents set that expectation early enough that I don’t remember the setting of the expectation.

On games…

The kids recently started playing a game together, spontaneously, and apparently both immediately knew the rules of the game. It went something like this (if I remember KrisDi’s description correctly):

Chilkat yells, “Hey! Let’s play CarrotChilkoot!”

Chilkoot responds, “Yeah!” and immediately runs downstairs and begins to orbit the island in the kitchen.

Chilkat starts chasing him, hollering, “Sit down, CarrotChilkoot! Hey! Sit down, little carrot!” and similar, while Chilkoot carries merrily and stompily on.

Eventually, CarrotChilkoot sits down violently, and Chilkat falls upon him, and feasts on his carroty flesh. “I’m eating you! Om nom nom nom!”

CarrotChilkoot’s mortal screams sounded an awful lot like gleeful giggling.


Posted by snaotheus in Family, Stuff I remember, 2 comments

Thanks, Pa

I was talking with Pa on Skype today, and we got to “reminiscing” about how he used to keep the thermostat at 65 degrees.

“But we kept the coal fire burning!”

This coal furnace was fueled on the suffering of his children. I’m about 65% convinced that Dad bred us to haul coal for him. I won’t go into the general horrors of depending on hand-fetched fossil fuels for warmth, because I have one specific thing I wanted to talk about.

When I was 17 — AFTER I had moved away to college — I came home for Thanksgiving. Eldest had already moved away, so Dad took this valuable opportunity to have two warm bodies help him haul coal. As I recall, I had just recently gotten off of crutches after my second knee surgery.

Northwood and I knew from experience that loading and unloading goes faster if you take the largest chunks of coal available, so the two of us grabbed onto a pretty hefty chunk, lifted it up, over the edge of the truckbed, and then my right handhold crumbled away (damn you, crappy lignite!). My left glove got caught on the edge of the coal, and it was way too heavy to hold up one-handed. Northwood’s end started to rise as the weight shifted, resulting in a large chunk of coal landing in a point on the first knuckle of my left middle finger.

Of course, I screamed and swore, my vision started going all dark and tunnelly, I grabbed my hand and ripped the glove off. I bled like crazy, and I could see the whiteness of tendons and bone. Dad gave me tape and toilet paper.

My finger eventually healed crookedly. Scar tissue took the shortcut over the fold in the knuckle, meaning that my finger couldn’t straighten without ripping the skin. Twelve years later, it no longer bleeds when I straighten, but sometimes the skin still cracks and breaks. See the scar as of today. I can feel strange knots on the tendon.

Dad’s recollection of this event?

“I remember a lot of whining. I sure was glad it fell on your hand instead of my truck!”

Thanks, Pa.

Posted by snaotheus in Photo updates, Stuff I remember, 4 comments

Buying Time

Well, I was working on a new post, and getting ready to upload pictures for it, when my laptop hard drive crashed. I’m in the process of salvaging whatever files I can salvage (which seems to be most of them), and then I need to decide whether I replace the hard drive, or the laptop (I was considering replacing the laptop next year). This is on the same day that my work laptop bluescreened, and a week or two after our media computer pooped out and needed a full reinstall. So, computing hasn’t been entirely successful for me lately.

Anyway, in the meantime, I thought I’d share this video from 2004. I’m proud that I won one round. I must confess I was overmatched. It was a good day, though.

Posted by snaotheus in Stuff I remember, 1 comment

Pretty much just pictures

I’ll try not to babble too much, although you don’t get to completely avoid my babbling. It’s my website, so screw you. I’ll go from most recent to least recent.

House pictures, from December 1st 2007 to January 18th 2008. We’re supposed to close in two Thursdays. I’m so damn excited. They start getting more interesting around here, one of the nights we broke in after hours. On the 15th we broke in again, and found lots and lots of blue tape all over the place, marking things that need to be touched up or repaired. But we kept finding stuff that needed to be touched up or repaired, but wasn’t marked. So, we tore up some of the pieces of tape into smaller pieces and put them where we thought they needed to work, too.

On January 4th, we saw my step sister’s band, Sick of Sarah, play at the Aquarium in Fargo. My step sister, Brooke, is the drummer. That was an interesting night. I have never in my life seen so many lesbians in one place.

On New Year’s Day, Dad made us dinner. Steak.

It snowed in Chicago on December 28th.

December 22nd, we took more pictures of E-Dubs’ and Pixel Chick’s little dog.

The day we arrived in Chicago, we went to Hopleaf. We only took two pictures: One where KrisDi’s eyes were closed and everyone else was fine, and one where KrisDi’s eyes were open and no one else looked fine. I photoshopped the eyes from one into the other, so if she looks lopsided, it’s due to my lackluster Photoshop skills.

Old pictures my parents took in 1991. I don’t think I’ll be cute in any of the pictures to follow this set. Out of these, I remember two in particular:

  • This one, of Northwood with a snake. I can’t remember for sure, but I think that’s actually a rattlesnake. As I recall, we were camping in Mobridge, SD, in a pretty regularly-visited campground, and this big old rattler came slithering through. Northwood saw it and went running to Dad, who didn’t believe him until he saw the snake. Then Dad grabbed a shovel and killed it. Didn’t Northwood attempt to tan it or something? I remember him skinning it, pinning the skin out, and putting salt or something all over it. Leedle Brudda, can you verify? If that wasn’t the snake I’m talking about, then it must have been a bull snake or something, I suppose.
  • And this one, in which evil Eldest is seen delighting in torturing me. You see the horrible glee on Eldest’s face — he got me all excited by marking this gigantic box for me from Santa, and loaded it with bricks or something in the bottom to make it seem heavy, and then stuffed it with newspaper and…drum roll…a can of peas. I hate peas. What a terrible person.

Old pictures my parents took in 1990. I remember this BB gun: Eldest sawed off the stock and most of the barrel, then covered it in electrical tape. Afterward, it was suspiciously easy to conceal in a sleeve, and difficult to see in the dark.

I hope that eventually I’ll get some pictures that are actually of the New Year’s Shindig that I can put up here. That would be neat… 🙂

Posted by snaotheus in Photo updates, Stuff I remember, 6 comments

Socks and Other Lies

While I sit here self-medicating my latest infection of my semi-impacted wisdom tooth with bourbon, I cogitate upon my terrible predicament. More than a predicament. A problem. Possibly with a capital P. Maybe more than that. An Issue? What it amounts to is warfare.

Like most normal people, I wear socks. In my never-ending quest to never ever think about clothing, I have attempted to constrict my sock selection to a single type: the Übersock. Gray toe, gray heel, and “HANES” written on the gray section of the toe. The goal is that no matter what two socks I grab from my drawer, it will always be a matching pair. Much to KrisDi’s chagrin, Hanes apparently makes these socks with both red and dark gray HANES text on the toe. I look on this as a good thing — the difference is acceptable. Necessary, quite likely. I think of it as the male and female of the sock world. Much like in human sexuality, only one in ten random pairs of Übersocks is comprised of two socks of the same gender.

This is a lovely theory. However, in practice, inferior socks sneak into the population. Untersocks. Non-conformists. Rebels. Whether these untersocks are gifted to me by well-meaning friends and family, or necessitated by United Airlines’ consistent policy of luggage-losing, or are trans-dimensional illegal immigrants sneaking in through the dryer, they keep showing up. The solution is clear, of course: Attrition through aggressive enslavement.

Thus came about my policy of sock segregation. The untersocks are assigned the front line of the sock drawer; after all, they’re the most dispensable. Organizationally, this presents a problem, because the untersocks are characterized by their peculiarity and must, by definition, travel in matched pairs. Once they’re in front, they should be the first socks selected for hazardous duties, and so become the first casualties of wear.

Again, in theory, consistent adherence to this policy should solve my problem. Once again, theory fails me. I think the untersocks may be on to my cunning plan — or maybe they just cannibalize the Übersocks. Since the inception of this policy, no fewer than three pairs — PAIRS — of Übersocks have expired, and not a single solitary untersock.

The next step is concentration drawers. However, I lack the real estate. I have no spare drawers into which I can confine the untersocks, and therefore must consider conquering or otherwise acquiring neighboring furniture…

Also, I may have to abolish theories. They’re obviously no good. From now on, I think I’ll skip that step and go straight to scientific fact.

———— ANyway… ————

My dad likes to lie to children. It’s one of the things about him I love most. I was telling the story of some of my father’s stories today. Here are the ones I remember best:


As you drive across this dam, you can see the weird little fish runs on the dry side. One day, we were driving across the dam when the fish runs were filled with water, with an eight-year-old passenger. He saw the fish runs and asked what they were. Dearest Father, ever knowledgeable, answered with absolute aplomb, “Those are the tracks they use for the Fish Olympics every four years — distance races, sprints, hurdles, even an obstacle course.”

Little kid’s jaw dropped…”Really?”


We were in a waterpark in Florida, waiting in line for a water slide. Dear Father turned to the kid behind us to share his latest nugget of wisdom.

“You know, they have fish in these waterslides, and if you catch one and show it to the lifeguard at the bottom of the slide, you’ll get a free one-day pass to the park!”

Stranger kid looks up at him in mild horror and shaky disbelief.

“They can tell whether they’re really their fish by the bar codes they have printed on the sides of them. They’re called bar-acudas.”

Evidence of mild horror and shaky disbelief intensifies. Dad proceeds to advise the kid on exactly how to catch the bar-acudas: “If you go down the slide on your heels and fingertips with your fingers outspread like -so-, you’ll have a better chance of snagging one!”

I don’t think the kid completely bought it (props to the kid – it’s hard to disbelieve a respectable looking adult stranger), but they woman we had gone to the park with looked at Pa in the deepest amazement, breathing, “Really?”


We went to the zoo in Minneapolis. As we leaned against a railing looking at the moose exhibit, some mother unwisely looked away from her child in the vicinity of my revered father.

“You know, Minneapolis is actually way too cold for a zoo. None of the animals would survive — that’s why they have these robots instead.”


Another time, we visited Yellowstone. As we stood around waiting for Old Faithful (near the visitor center), Dad started a conversation with a kid near us. “You know, Old Faithful stopped erupting years and years ago. But the state wanted to keep tourism revenue up. You see that big building over there?” he said, gesturing toward the visitor center. “They built a humongous boiler under there and set it to go off at regular intervals. It also provides electricity for most of the state.”


And, of course, the grandaddy of them all (Northwood hates this one)…

We went to the Wisconsin Dells. As you drive around, you’re likely to see these things. Little Northwood asked, “Dad, what are those things?”

“Well son, those are the Wisconsin Rat Traps. They’re so big because Wisconsin has such gigantic rats.”


And an argument raged, along the lines of, “Are not!” “Are too!” for a fairly long time.

Then we went to dinner. This is where it gets shady. I went to the bathroom, and on my way back, I see Dad, suspiciously talking to our waitress in a darkened back room. I swear I saw money change hands.

Back at the table… “Go ahead, Northwood, ask the waitress what those things are.” Northwood proceeds to do so.

“Why, those are the Wisconsin Rat Traps! We have such huge rats around here,” declares our innocent-looking waitress. “We load them up with corn to lure the rats in…”

To this day (seriously, I brought it up to Dad today), Dad denies any bribery.

Posted by snaotheus, 7 comments