A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Dave and I used to play Warhammer 40K, with figures just like those pictured above. He texted me this photo, which coincided with Anne finding in the news that there has been a shooting in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn (4 dead, 7 shot). Dan lives in this neighborhood. Her motherly concern caused her to reach out to eldest her son and ask for proof-of-life. Not immediately getting an answer, she continued worrying and soon tried again. I checked the news and discovered that the shootings occurred at a gambling parlor, on a cross street near Dan. Eventually, he got back to us and everything was alright. Dave is with him in NYC this weekend and they are at a gaming parlor, playing Warhammer. They are playing for points, so no gambling is involved and hopefully no gunplay either. We really shouldn’t worry so much, NYC is safer than Saint Louis is these days.
Anne has been dissecting owl pellets at school. An owl pellet is something that owls cough up from their gizzard. Usually, they are composed of indigestible components of the prey that they feed on and comprise things like bones, feathers and bits of fur. Sounds truly disgusting, right? That’s what the third graders thought at first, but they got into it and soon took to the task with relish. She claims that she never touched any of the pellets, but instead used tweezers and toothpicks to examine them. The kids ended up doing most of the work anyway and Anne washer her hands afterwards. According to Anne, on a continuum of grossness, owl pellets are less gross than dead mice found while opening the cabin for the summer and way less gross than phlegm. I’m sure youth wanted to know. We’re planning on getting our flu shots this week, because although it is unlikely one would ever catch anything from owl pellets, there are plenty of other sources of disease in the third grade.
Anne and I at Sand Dune Arch
“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” A Jedi at playing Solitaire that is. My Dad plays Solitaire on his PC, while I play it on my phone. Either way, it is a solitary pursuit, but also a pleasure that we have in common. I’ve had to throttle the phone App that I use though, cutting off its access to the Internet. I prohibit it from using any part of my data plan. If granted access it would only download annoying ads that I don’t want to watch. Likewise, I’ve turned off its use of the phone’s speaker, because occasionally this naughty App circumvents my will and plays an ad. It has figured out how to do this in two ways. First, if wi-fi is on and I enter the game, then it uses wi-fi to download and play ads. I’m usually pretty careful about this and turn wi-fi off, before entering the game. Its other method is when the App is occasionally upgraded. Each upgrade is accompanied with a new ad. This is how yesterday, the game finagled an ad. It also introduced a new future ad generating feature. Previously, I could choose to play a new game or replay the old one. I rarely chose the later option, but I did occasionally. The new feature that was added to this list was to choose to play an “easy” game. This option was seeded with three free games, which I played and handedly won, but I was left feeling somehow cheated, as if the deck had been stacked in my favor, which it had. I never even thought about buying more easy games, by watching an ad. I’ve gone back to the way that I have always played this game and have somehow earned another three free easy games. So far, I have not had any inclination to play them. I like messing with this App almost as much as playing the game of Solitaire.
Team Axe-ceptable Losses
They brought in a ringer from Boston. I hear he’s wicked smaht! And they then went on to win the whole tournament. Dan and Dave cleaned up at the Carcosa Club in tony Williamsburg yesterday, playing Warhammer 40K. The boyz were planning this rendezvous over Thanksgiving. I’m glad everything turned out so well for them. 40k is a fun game to play, but it’s even more acceptable to win!
Closer to home, what ya got cooking? For breakfast, my go to dish—avocado toast was augmented this week, by an early seasonal present from Monsieur C. Like an X-Man, he put the X-mas back into Christmas with some of his tasty, homemade, smoked and oven-roasted San Marzano tomatoes. They were served as a side, like bacon, only they’re better for you.
For dinner, I crock-potted some beef stew. Which we’ll be having it for dinner all week-long. This will clear the boards nicely for my annual foray into cookie making for Smokin’ Joe’s holiday cookie party. Last year, I mimicked Mr. C’s gift and made visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. C had included a recipe for them and they turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. I could reprise them or the filo fruit cups that were featured earlier this week, but I’m thinking that I’ll make gingerbread men, with emoji expressions instead.
Stormtrooper Showing His Tartan
Lou Ferrigno and the Cosplayers
Anne went off campaigning today for her school tax issue, so left to my own devices I headed downtown and attended Wizard World’s Comic Con. This was my first time, although I have been to a Star Trek convention before. There were lots of freaks and geeks in attendance and everyone was having a good time. Anyone in cosplay or costume play would gladly pose for a picture if asked.
There were a number of celebrities present for autographs and photo-ops, but you had to pay extra for that privilege. There were also talks and I would have liked to hear William Shatner, but he was on too late in the day. There was all sorts of things that you could buy, from art to souvenirs. Tattoos were doing a surprisingly brisk business. There was even a booth that would scan you on the fly and then create a one-foot 3D printed statue of yourself. Mainly, I just people watched. In addition to the well costumed people pictured above, there were many others. Most of the guys tended to want to look like badasses, while most of the girls were into looking sexy.
Dr. Who seemed to be the main draw of the convention. They had the actors that played doctors #10 and #11 present, plus numerous blue phone booths. There was a large video arcade, near where Lou Ferrigno and the cosplayers posed, but there was also a small table top gaming area. When I first passed by two women were playing Candyland. They asked if I want to play too, but I explained that one summer my niece Ashlan had burnt all love of that game out of me. On the way back to the MetroLink, I passed by the Blues Museum, which opened today. It was lunch time and I tried to get into Sugarfire, but it was too crowded. The museum was doing a brisk business and together the museum patrons and convention goers on the lunchtime sidewalks made for an eclectic mix.
Anne and I had lunch today with Dan. We all walked over to Manhattan Café in Clayton. I felt the need to get some exercise and couldn’t quite steel myself to go biking today. Even so, it was a cold walk, with a bitter wind. I wished that I had my long undies on. I kept seeing the same guy grinding out miles, by riding up and down Wydown. I admired his perseverance, but I didn’t envy him how frozen he must have felt. A jogger died in Clayton, a few weeks back, when he fell and couldn’t get up. He died of hypothermia.
Manhattan styles itself as a fifties diner. I don’t know what possible connection it might have to its namesake bough in New York. It has always struck me as looking more like something out of the set of Happy Days, than anything from NYC. Lunch with Dan usually involves letting Dan do most of the talking. This luncheon was no different.
Maybe it was the restaurant’s name, but somehow we got on the subject of NoHo and WeHo. In the vernacular that would be north Hollywood and West Hollywood respectively. These are different LA art districts and / or trendy neighborhoods in and about the Hollywood portion of greater LA. Dan’s mentioning of them must have stuck in my mind, because of their phonetic similarity to Manhattan’s Soho district.
Dan was telling us about a video game that he likes called LA Noire. It is produced by the same people who brought us Grand Theft Auto. Noire is a police procedural set in the late forties and in this game one plays a policeman and not a hooligan. The amount of mayhem tolerated in the game is significantly reduced, but since one plays a LA policeman it is certainly not eliminated. Both games are set in LA, but while Grand Theft plays fast and loose with the LA street pattern, Noire is much more accurate. Dan likes to “drive” down his street, even if only the building kiddy-corner to his is in the game. All the rest in the intersection, including his were built much later than the forties.
Dan’s work at Otis College of Art and Design is all about fashion. The library that he works in is mainly devoted to the college’s fashion department. It seems that his day-to-day activities have less to do with working as a librarian than with creating fashion displays for the department. Earlier this year, I had seen on his Facebook feed pictures of a lingerie display that he had worked on. The school does a lot of corporate sponsored displays. He has worked on a display for Mattel that sounded like Barbie and some sort of post apocalyptic display for Eddie Bauer. Hey a guy has got to look good, even at the end of the world.
Today is the one year anniversary of Anne’s bicycle accident. Last year on this day, she crashed her bike just a few houses from home and broke her pinky. Like last year, this morning started out with the MRH high school pancake breakfast. This time though we didn’t bicycle to it, but drove instead, not wanting to tempt the fates. We ended up closing the breakfast this year. Today was such a gorgeous day that we needed to get out on our bikes after all. We threw caution to the wind, threw our legs over the bar and then launched ourselves towards Forest Park.
We were pedaling by the Grand Basin when we first heard a loud-speaker blaring and then noticed a bunch of people on Art Hill. The speaker was entreating people to come up there and join them. When I heard him announce that if you showed up on a bicycle that it would be free, I was sold (Anne donated). As it turned out Barrel Roll Man and Nurses for Newborns had organized this charity event. Their motto was, “Rolling for the babies!” In addition to raising money, its purpose was to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing either somersaults or barrel rolls at the same time, or something like that. So, we signed up for the event and then participated in it. Check out the video. It is a hoot, if I do say so myself.
We rode on taking pictures of the fall colors and generally enjoying what turned out to be an excellent day. We rode on to Humphrey’s, a bar adjoining SLU, had a beer and a snack and then headed for home. Humphrey’s was a major sponsor of the event, and was offering 50% off selected beverages and appetizers. Going there instead one of our usual haunts allowed us the opportunity to see parts of the CWE that I had not seen.
We set a new world record with 889 people. I guess that makes us World Champions. It’s not quite as great as winning the World Series, but it was certainly more participatory. Afterwards, I bumped into one of our bike buddies at the grocery store. As I was going on and on exclaiming about these events, I could almost detect a mental, if not physical eye roll. Still, it was fun and it came from out of the blue.