Silly Car Shenanigans

You know what I hate?

The "Check Engine" light in my car.

It never comes on when I need it. This is true for every car I have ever owned over the course of my life. My alternator dies! Does the "Check Engine" light come on before my car stops moving, on the middle of a strange highway, in a strange state, at night, in the rain? NO! My water pump ceases pumping! Does the "Check Engine" light see fit to alert me before I do lasting damage to my vehicle? NO!! My carburetor collapses into a singularity, sucking in all matter and energy within its event horizon in the process! Does the "Check Engine" light so much as flicker? NO!!!

And now, once again, my car-- a brand world-renowned for its reliability-- suddenly ceased running while traveling along a US highway at 60 miles per hour. Does the "Check Engine" light see fit to warn me that my engine (you know, that "Engine" thing, as in "Check Engine"?) was about to stop dead, before stranding us in the middle of rural Kentucky, well outside the AAA free-towing radius from our home?

Do I really have to tell you?

Fortunately, Billy the AAA Tow Truck Guy who came to our rescue was a knowledgeable resident of the area, and he towed us to an auto parts store with a mechanic who he assured us would fix us up quickly and at a fair price. Then he kindly dropped us off at a small local airport where we were able to rent a car and carry on our merry way without delaying our arrival at our destination by so much as an hour! It worked out really well, our trip was great, and we had a wonderful time, aided in no small part by the warm and fuzzy afterglow from the great luck and great kindnesses we experienced during our automotive mishap.

Sure enough, Dave the Auto Shop Guy was swift at the repair, and the cost was low enough to make our budget-crunched wallets do a little wallet dance around the store. We were on our way home, without going broke, and with time to spare!

We were not two miles into our trip when... the "Check Engine" light came on.

vaklam turned us right around and took us back to the shop.

Dave got out his diagnostic device and asked the car's computer what the deal was.

The car's computer said: "Dude, like, I don't wanna harsh your vibe... but, like... your catalytic converter's gettin' kinda old. You oughta think about replacin' it someday."

Me: "What, you mean like now? Like it's getting ready to die on us RIGHT NOW?"

Car Computer: "No, Dude... like... someday."

Me: "..."

Me: "So, you mean you're warning us so we can-- what?-- start the process of thinking about replacing it... someday? Not, say, because it's going to cause MY ENGINE TO STOP RUNNING IN THE MIDDLE OF A HIGHWAY, OR SOMETHING?"

Car Computer: "Yeah, Dude... like, I don't wanna bring you down."

Luckily, vaklam convinced me that forcibly removing the "Check Engine" light with an icepick was in no way going to facilitate our trip home.

Two quick kid stories

B said, "My baby teeth are going to come out. And my baby arms are going to come out." Then he insisted I pretend to take his arms off and he stuffed them into his shirt until he "grew" his permanent arms.

B has just brought Lord of the Rings/ Wonder Pets crossover fic into being, with his narrative "Ming Ming Meets the Nazghul."

Adventures in kids' toys

So, it took Brendan all of a week to determine he could remove the dress of his Tasha stuffed animal Backyardigan.

And how to turn her dress into a ninja mask.

He now calls her "Naked Ninja Tasha."








Yeah, so I finished Deathly Hallows and I'm totally trying not to spoil anything for my husband, who's still on Chapter 4 or so. This includes suppressing my reactions to everything and even my general emotional state after finishing the book, which might lead him to some spoilery conclusions. The strain of holding it in is becoming too much for me. Something had to give!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Creative Process

In a conversation last night with whirl_twirl, I was recounting my creative process, for no particular reason other than I'm trying to finish a painting and misery loves company. It got me thinking, though-- do any other of you on my exceptionally creative friends list experiences anything similar in your own creative process?

Mine goes something like this, annotated with accompanying emotions at each stage:

1. Initial idea. Genius!!! Pure genius!!! I am *giggly* with anticipation.

2. Start artwork. Meh-- I might consider it a good start, tomorrow, after I look at it again.

3. Lay down underpainting; start on top colors. Life is perfect!!!! This is what I was BORN to do!!! I love everyone, everywhere!!!!! World peace is possible! Birds sing, bells ring, small animated woodland creatures do a dance and clean my kitchen.

4. Notice a problem with the [lighting/colors/focal point/lines]. The problem is incorrigible!!! The whole concept was fundamentally flawed from the get-go!!! The piece is so horrific-looking it makes me want to claw out my own eyes. I am the worst artist in the entire world. I am alone in my misery-- ALONE, I say!!!! All is dark in my sight, food turns to ash in my mouth; cliffs are too good for me to throw myself off of.

5. Work the problem through. I am a fevered mess of pain and raw nerve. Personal hygiene and sleep are just things that happen to other people.

6. Problem resolved. A nightingale twitters timidly in the distance. A juddering spark of hope glints in my sunken eye.

7. The finished piece begins to emerge. WOOOOO, I AM ON FIRE!!!!! It just doesn't get any better than this!!!! ALL OF NATURE CELEBRATES WITH ME!!!

8. Painting is finished. I am so slick. What was the big deal? Why was I ever worried about this? I am such a cool artist. What a pro!

9. Take a much-needed breather between projects. Yay, I finished a painting!... and now I will never, ever have another idea as long as I live. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaugh!!!!

10. Repeat. Is there any wonder I'm on medication? :-)

So, what's your creative process like?

Metal Memories

My son, ever the wild man, saw an old Lawrence Welk Show rerun at his great-grandmother's house a while back, and he loved the music, the dancing, and the bubbles. So his grandmother got him a Lawrence Welk tribute DVD, which he enjoys immensely.

On this DVD is a performance of the song "Precious Memories." Is everybody familiar, at least in passing, with this old church-music standby? "Precious memories, unseen angels, sent from somewhere to my soul..." etc. etc. Sweet, catchy little ditty, often sung by a choir.

Brendan has taken to singing it, as well. Only... well...

I think he is trying to sing all the voices of the choir at once. But the effect is that he sounds just like Till Lindemann of Rammstein when he's bein' all screamy. Also, the boy tends to staccato-stab each word as he belts the song out. And the words, as he sings them:


I would love-- love-- to know what he thinks that song is about.