In Days Of Yore


Recently, a friend of mine was lamenting the fact that he had a hard time learning programming by reading or watching videos. I suggested he learn like I did: looking at code and typing it in. Then I had a great idea and suggested that he look up an old magazine with a BASIC program and convert it to whatever language he was trying to pick up.

Long ago, back when the world was still flat, a computer in the home was seen as an expensive frivolity. There was nothing particularly compelling about getting one because whatever you could do on a computer, you could do cheaper with a pencil and paper. Maybe it would make sense if you were a company, but not so much for the individual.

Finding software, then, could be difficult and expensive. Luckily, there were magazines and books that contained code listings for various types of programs. Mostly, they were in a language called BASIC.

The thing is, as a child in this computer pre-history time, I didn’t have a lot of money to buy software. It was a lot easier to get the parents to plunk down a lot less money on a book or magazine. It could even be justified as being educational, because I could learn how to program by typing in those code listings.

The joke was on me, though, because I did, in fact, learn how to program that way. And debug. When you don’t have an Internet to search, going through a program you typed in to find out why it doesn’t behaving properly does wonders for figuring out how programs work and where you made your mistake.

BASIC is not a universally loved language. It was designed to be a learning language; something easy for someone, like children, to pick up and learn the basics (get it?) of programming. Many people, then as now, thought BASIC should be buried beneath the Earth and not taught to anyone, much less children in their formative years.

But BASIC was popular among the home computer users because, in most cases, it came built into the computer. You turned it on, there was BASIC. Even if you didn’t have a disk drive, you still had BASIC. It was ubiquitous. Given the choice of, say, dropping $95 to buy Microsoft’s Fortran for your TRS-80 (which would be the equivalent of $318 today) or using the BASIC the computer came with, well, you kind of know who’s going to win that one.

Yes, that Microsoft.

So, it was (technically) cheap, and (generally) available. The other advantage BASIC had was that it was an interpreted language. That meant the BASIC commands were turned into “machine code” when they were encountered. This meant typing in something quick and dirty, like PRINT 27*42, would give you an immediate answer and you wouldn’t have to compile it, link it, and then run it.

What about the disadvantages, then? Why wouldn’t people want this language taught to people? There are probably numerous issues (memory management, etc.) but one of the biggest was that BASIC did not teach structured programming. It was, in fact, very unstructured. It gave rise to the descriptor of “spaghetti code.” This was all most due to one command: GOTO.

The GOTO command allowed the programmer to jump to any line in the program, arbitrarily. Aside from being a great source of bugs (like, maybe using it to jump to the wrong line), it also made programs very hard to read. Given that early BASICs didn’t have, say, IF..THEN..ELSE statements, GOTO was used a lot.

Consider this:
10 IF X > 10 THEN 30
20 PRINT “X is less than or equal to 10”:GOTO 40
30 PRINT “X is greater than 10”
40 END

This simply checks to see if variable X is greater than 10. If it is, it jumps over line 20 to print a message saying so. If it’s less than or equal to 10, it prints its message then jumps to line 40. This may not seem particularly awful, but when you have a program that’s a hundred lines or more, following all those GOTO statements gets to be a real chore.

With a structured programming language (or a more modern BASIC), one could write the same thing like this:
IF X > 10 THEN PRINT “X is greater than 10”
ELSE PRINT “X is less than or Equal to 10”
END

By chance, around the time my friend mentioned his issue about learning and my suggestion of converting a BASIC program, I was reading a post by the CRPG Addict about a game called “The Devil’s Dungeon.” Evidently, there was some controversy about its status, not only as an RPG (or, Role Playing Game) but also about if it could be termed the ‘first commercial computer RPG’ because it was written in BASIC and distributed in a book, rather than being sold on disk or cassette.

“What luck,” I thought. If I could find a copy of this book online, I could try converting it to, say, Python and show my friend just how awesome an idea it was. So I found a copy of the book that “The Devil’s Dungeon” was in and began the task of converting it over. I thought it would be pretty easy.

It was not as easy as I thought it would be. The biggest sticking point was (and you should be completely not surprised by this) was the GOTO statements. It’s not a particularly long program, but following the twists and turns of the GOTOs, used to jump over sections of code and then to jump back into those previously skipped portions was breaking my brain. IF statements had to be reversed in order to get things to flow properly.

As it is, the game sort of works in Python, but I know there are issues all due to how the program executes. I may try to find these problems and fix them, some how.

The Devil’s Dungeon sort of working on Haiku

After the trouble of doing this, I began to re-think my advice of converting a BASIC program to a different language. It wouldn’t, necessarily, be an easy task. But then I thought about how much I learned about Python (take away: I don’t like it) just by having to look things up or working around issues. So, I still stand by it. I still think it’s a valid learning experience. If nothing else, one would learn how not to write a program.

I may fix Devil’s Dungeon. Or, I may move on to another game that was mentioned by the CRPG Addict, called “The Dungeon of Danger.” I found the listing for it, already. It’s a lot longer and a lot more complicated than Devil’s Dungeon. It also re-introduces a long forgotten command, ON GOTO, which is already causing me heartburn. But, I also miss those old DATA statements.

Casa de Entropy: Pure Trash


Trash. We love listening to it, we love watching it, we love reading it.

What we don’t like is having it build up in the kitchen. Because it starts to stink.

Dealing with garbage in the apartment was always a hassle. Pulling the garbage bag out of the trash can was always a problem, for some reason. It was like the bottom of the bag had dozens of tiny hands grabbing onto the bottom of the can, refusing to be removed. Sometimes the draw strings would just snap. Sometimes, the bag would actually rip apart.

If I managed to get past that part, though, it meant running to the front door in case there was a leak. Then it was going down three stories on stairs, then walking all the way to the garbage bin. Sure, it wasn’t, like, a mile away, but it was still pretty far. Every time the can would start to get full, I’d be faced with a dilemma: Do the odious task of taking out the garbage, or squish it down in the can, real good. Which probably didn’t help with trying to get the bag out.

Now it’s a breeze. I just fight with the bag and then walk it a couple of steps to the bigger trashcan and I’m done. Except when I have to haul the bigger can out to the road. Still, 143 feet is less than I was taking it, before. My biggest issue is positioning it on the road where the automatic arms can reach it without getting hit by a car, blocking my mailbox, or in my way when I leave for work.

On that note, I would like a new kitchen garbage bin. I have an old white one, which used to have a lid, but I threw it away ages ago because it just got in the way. I don’t like the pedal operated lids because they will, at some point, break. Leaving me with yet another lid that would have to be tossed away.

The stainless steel ones tend to be nice looking, but they get expensive. I start hyperventilating when I see a device that’s essentially used to hold a garbage bag vertical cost $60 or more. That seems like a lot. But now, some have motion sensing lid openers. Or a little ring thing to keep the bag in place so when you dump a plate full of food in the can, it doesn’t catch the edge of the bag and end up on the bottom of the can rather than in the bag. Where it belongs. Those two things seem kind of tempting to me.

The future of garbage, except my legs don’t look like that
You can put your baby in it for additional quietness

So, yeah, maybe I will spend just a tad more on a garbage bag holder.

Soup II: The Redux


After reading the definition of soup and stew, I’ve decided that I did not make a monster soup after all. I think it is, in fact, a stew. Mainly because I cooked the chicken before adding the broth and water. And also because it’s thick. In fact, leaving it in the fridge overnight requires water to be added to it or else it’s just a mush. Which I burned again, thanks to using an unfamiliar stove.

Also, I’m sick of stew at this point. I feel like I’ve been eating it for, like, a week now. It is, however, very filling. Here’s a fun fact: beets will eventually lose their color, turning into a very appetizing grey color. I should have taken a picture of it. I still have some left, if I remember I’ll do that.

That’s kind of the problem with making a soup or stew with more ingredients than man was ever meant to throw in a pot of boiling liquid: it turns into a grey/brown mush. I’d wager it’s very nourishing, though, and will certainly fill you up. And it does taste good. It’s just… not something that should be done.

After this, I will go back to eating skinless, boneless, chicken breasts and trying to figure out ways to make that more appetizing. It, too, gets old after a while if you don’t mix it up.

One of my favorite ways to make chicken breasts is to slice up some onions and green pepper, put the chicken breast in some aluminum foil, cover it with the onions and peppers (mushrooms would probably be good here, too), toss on some seasonings, then close up the foil and bake it.

Even as I write that, I’m thinking of ways it could be improved. Like adding mozzarella cheese, which I know would be a terrible mistake if wrapped in foil. So, maybe, a Philly Cheesesteak type thing, but with chicken instead? That sounds like an idea.

I’ll mention, at this point, that I would love to have a food replicator. It would make life so much simpler.

Soup


One day, I was at work waiting for something to install when I got a message from a friend of mine. It said: “What are you having for dinner?”

I said, “Probably soup.”
“You have soup a lot,” he said.
A few minutes later, “Why?”

“Because,” I typed back, “it’s easy. Toss some things in a pot, add water, boil, then there’s dinner. It’s simple.” This was what we call, a “lie.”

Sometimes I follow recipes for soups. Like “Split Pea and Ham.” I follow a recipe because I don’t know dick about split peas. For real. I always thought you just put peas in split pea soup. You do not. You can actually buy dried split peas. How are they different than any other pea? I don’t know, other than they’re split. Could I look it up on Google? Yes. But I won’t. So, when I follow a recipe, everything works out.

But then there are times when I think, “Hmm. I’m in the mood for some soup. I saw a recipe for a chicken and kale soup the other day, but I didn’t really look at it. Should I look it up? Naw. Chicken and kale. It’s right there in the title. What more could one possibly need?”

That’s the moment the train goes flying off the rails straight into La La Land.

You see, when I’m in charge of the recipe, I don’t know that I’m still making a soup, anymore. It’s more like a damp casserole. Here, I’ll walk you through today.

It was a bit chilly this morning. I thought– well, let’s skip that and go the part where I remembered about a chicken and kale soup. That seemed to be a good idea, so I ran with it. Chicken. Kale. Liquid. Done. And it’ll be cheap, and right now I like cheap because I just bought a house and have been paying dual rent/mortgage and dual utilities for a couple of months now. Plus, I can make a lot and live off it for a few days, on account of me only eating one meal a day.

So, off I go to the store. It’s only a few miles down the street. I think about chicken and kale. “You know what might be good in that?” I said to myself. “Navy beans.” Chicken, kale, and navy beans. Canned, because I’m making it today and don’t have time for soakin’ nonsense.

I park the car and walk towards the entrance of the store. “Say, you know what else would be good? Sausage. And not just any sausage, but that jalapeño sausage.” I agree with myself. That would be a fine addition to the soup. Chicken, sausage, kale, and navy beans.

I grab a cart and walk inside. I pick up a bag of low-salt potato chips, because my cockatoo likes them. Then I navigate around some people who are just standing there. I find my way to the canned bean aisle.

Navy beans. The problem with shopping these days, is that you can’t just get something without there being multiple variations of that thing. Like, diced tomatoes. Low salt, Italian style, Mexican style, with garlic, fire roasted, and the list goes on. If you want “diced tomatoes” you have to look really hard for something as simple as plain diced up tomatoes. In my case, navy beans can come with jalapeños.

“You know what would go good with that jalapeño sausage?” I asked myself. “Is it, navy beans with jalapeños?” I answered. “You’re a freakin’ mind reader!” I shouted. Then we both high-fived each other for being so awesomely in tune.

But there were also pinto beans with jalapeños. So I took those, too. Then I saw garbanzo beans. “I haven’t had garbanzo beans in a while. There’s no jalapeño, but let’s take it, anyway.” In the cart a can of garbanzo beans went.

Chicken, kale, sausage, navy beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans. For Chicken & Kale soup. I passed by the diced tomatoes and grabbed a can of diced tomatoes with chilis. Because, why not?

I also grabbed some other canned vegetables because I was running low. I saw cans of cut up beets. “Beets are good for you,” I thought. “Maybe I should put a can of beets in the soup, too?” Inner me shrugged in a “why not” kind of way. Good old me, always up for something different.

Off I went to the meat section, where I grabbed a pack of chicken tenders. This way, most of the work was already done for me. I grabbed the sausage I wanted. Off to find some kale.

I found the kale. I found the spinach. I looked at the kale, which was pale green, hard, and scruffy. The kind of plant that you’d mistake for a hardy, post-apocolyptic lawn weed. I looked at the spinach, which was bright green and soft and inviting.

It was decided that kale could go jump a ledge, and that we (I mean ‘I’) were having Chicken and Spinach soup. With sausage, navy beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, beets, and diced tomatoes with chilis.

But, the spinach was sold in ‘bunches’ and the bunches had more stems than leaves. I meandered over to the bagged salad section, where they had baby spinach in a bag. In the cart they went. I thought I would look for a small bag of kale, just for funsies. They only had, like, 20 pound bags of kale and I knew that would be way too much. So, kale was off the menu for good.

As I was leaving the vegetation section, another bag caught my eye. Shaved Brussel sprouts. “Huh,” I said. It went in the cart. The cart, I should say, was looking kind of full at this point. And this was an HEB Plus shopping cart, which is about twice the width and twice the height of a normal shopping cart. I feel short pushing them around because the push bar thing comes nearly up to my chest. They are the SUVs of shopping carts.

If you’re the type of person who, when sitting in traffic and glancing in the rear view mirror, thinking the car behind you doesn’t have a driver until you notice the top of an elderly head just barely peeking over the dash, gets nervous, then, well, when you see an old lady barreling down a grocery store aisle with her arms above her head grasping the push bar and navigating solely by looking through the leg holes of the child seating area, well, you’ll just die. Possibly literally, if you’re too stunned to get out of the way.

I figured it was time to go. So I grabbed some sliced mushrooms. Because I like mushrooms. I checked out. The cost of my cheap soup turned out to be alarmingly expensive.

So now my Chicken and Kale soup consists of: chicken, sausage, spinach, garbanzo beans, navy beans, pinto beans, shaved Brussel sprouts, diced tomatoes with chilis, beets, and mushrooms.

You might think that would be the end of it, then. Just toss that in a big pot, add some water, and boom, dinner.

But, first, I had to cube my chicken. That’s why I buy tenders for this. I just have to grab a handful of tenders and start slicing to get, roughly, one inch chicken cubes. They get tossed into the pot to start browning. Then I cut up the sausage to create half-discs. Those go in the pot. So, too, do the mushrooms.

While those are cooking, I start grabbing other things out of the bag. Like the beans and tomatoes. I open them. That’s when I noticed a can of corn that I had bought. It was wet. So wet, that the label was coming off and the print stuff on the bottom was smudged. I looked in the bag.

It was dry. I looked at the other cans from the same bag. They were all dry. “What the hey?” I thought. How was that possible? So I did the only logical thing that I could: I opened it and dumped the contents in the pot. Then went the beans. Then the beets. I found left over chicken broth in the fridge. That went in the pot. I added the tomatoes. I looked in the freezer. I had an open bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower.

“Well…” I thought. “It’s already open,” said me. “I’m sold,” I agreed. That went in the pot. I gave the pot a good, hard, lookin’ at. It was nearly full, and it still only had half a cup of liquid in it. I looked at the bags of spinach and Brussel sprouts.

“Surely, those will take up less space once they start cooking?” I said. I agreed with me, and dumped half the bag of Brussel sprouts in the pot. Then I dumped half the bag of spinach into the pot. I pressed them down a bit. Then I poured water over the top which, thanks to physics and all, caused water to splash all over the place. I managed to fit enough water in the pot so I could kind of see it, just under the spinach leaves. Like a swamp.

Then I figured I should add seasoning. Salt, pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, thyme. I saw some cilantro leaves. I don’t usually use cilantro. That went in. I gingerly tried to give this pot of miasma a stir so as not to slosh everything out of it. Then I put the cover on it and waited for it to boil over.

So, in the end, my very simple “Chicken and Kale” soup consisted of:

  1. Chicken
  2. Jalapeño Sausage
  3. Garbanzo beans
  4. Navy beans with Jalapeño
  5. Pinto beans with Jalapeño
  6. Diced tomatoes with chilis
  7. Baby spinach leaves
  8. Shaved brussel sprouts
  9. Beets
  10. Mushrooms
  11. A can of corn
  12. Three quarters of a bag of broccoli and cauliflower
  13. Salt
  14. Pepper
  15. Oregano
  16. Onion powder
  17. Garlic powder
  18. Paprika
  19. Chili powder
  20. Thyme
  21. Cilantro leaves

You can make Beef Wellington with about 14 ingredients, if you count the dough as an ingredient.

One of my greatest fears is that someone, someday, will come over, have some of my soup, and ask for the recipe. This is, in fact, in the same category as my fear of an alien space ship landing on my front yard while little green men pop out of it and start asking me to take them to my leader. They both, statistically, have the same chance of happening.

But, let’s borrow from the previous blog post.

It’s raining. There’s a knock at the door. I open the door and there, standing drenched and miserable, is an attractive woman with middling length blonde hair (or maybe jet black with purple tips), looking miserable and drenched.

I invite her inside and she stands there, dripping on my living room floor, in a dress made almost transparent from the rain. Her car died, she explains. Her cell phone is dead, too. Could I call triple A for her? Of course, I could. I offer her the use of my fluffy robe and say that I can dry her clothes while we wait.

She exits the bedroom wearing the robe and hands me a bundle of wet clothes. I sit her down at the table and give her a bowl of soup, if it can still be called that, while I take her clothes to the dryer.

When I get to the dryer I stop. Should I was the clothes first? Will drying rain drenched clothing without washing them make them kind of weird? I don’t know. In the interest of just getting on with the fantasy, I put them in the dryer and go back to the table.

“This soup is very good,” she says, looking up at me through the still wet curls of hair framing her face. “Would you mind very much giving me the recipe for it?”

Now what do I do? Should I write down on a 3×5 card, “Go through your fridge and pantry and toss anything you think is edible in a pot. Cover with water. Add whatever spices you have on hand. Boil.”? She would think that I was being a jerk, trying to keep the super soup recipe a secret.

You see, even when following a recipe, I don’t really follow it. I don’t measure things. If a recipe calls for “1/2 a teaspoon of pepper” I say, “Fuck dat!” Then I take the top off the pepper container and dump half of it in there. For everything else, I just sort of sprinkle liberally until it “seems like enough.” I couldn’t write down a coherent recipe, even if I wanted to.

Assuming she wasn’t angry, the woman would say to me, “Though I came here desperate, willing to do anything for a person kind enough to help me. And, though, I sit here wearing nothing more than this robe, this soup has an alarming amount of fiber and my bowels are crying out in anguish. I am no longer in the mood, and would, instead, avail myself to your restroom. Probably for the rest of the night.”

That should give you great insight into who I am: a man who can’t even fantasize properly.

Addition: I went to the store yesterday and saw a box of ‘instant’ barley. I bought it and added it to the soup. Yes, I have a problem. I know. I know…

Casa de Entropy — Noises in the Night


One of the interesting things about staying in a place you’re not used to for a few days is finding out about the various noises that are made. Once you’ve been in a place long enough, you recognize them and they’re sort of comforting. Noises in a new place you’re unfamiliar with can be kind of terrifying.

A while back I was getting ready for bed, so I got a glass and filled it with ice from the bucket for the automatic ice maker (which I am super happy to have, finally). Then I filled the glass with water, because I like to have some water nearby in case I get thirsty in the dark. And then I went to sleep.

Later, I was woken by a noise. I lay in bed, not sure what the noise was that woke me up, on account of me being asleep when it was going on. So I lay there, looking at the darkness gathered around the ceiling.

Then I heard it: a loud knocking sound. Thump, thump, thump! it went. I lay there, listening. It happened again. I got out of bed and walked towards the front door, thinking that, maybe, it had started raining during the night and a traveler, a woman, maybe in her early thirties with middling length blonde hair (or possibly red) laying flat and drenched, mascara running from her eyes, would be standing there, huddled in front of my door, looking for comfort and warmth.

I looked out the door window. No, no blonde (or even brunette) woman was out there, ready to be very grateful for any help that I could provide. It wasn’t raining, though it was cold. I heard the knocking again. I followed the noise to the kitchen. It was coming from the fridge. It was the ice maker, creating new semi-circle ice cubes. When I got to the refrigerator, there was a wooshing of incoming water along with clatter of newly born ice cubes, well, ice semi-circles, dropping into the bucket.

All in all, it was a little disappointing. For one, I could have used the company. But, also, a bit of mystery can be fun, especially if it can be attributed to spirits and ghosts. I have plenty of spirits stocked away in my pantry, but they’re not generally the kind to go around rattling chains or pointing out where I’ve gone wrong in life.

Otherwise, the place is relatively quiet except when it rains. There’s a metal roof, so rain storms tend to be a bit on the noisy side, but it’s kind of nice. I haven’t yet gone through a hail storm, though. I’m all right with that, though.

I’ve mentioned how dark it gets out there. Even though most people have at least one bright light out by where their driveway meets the road, there are many stars visible. It’s not always dark, though. When the moon is full, it hangs there like a 40 watt bulb, illuminating the ground in a dim, silver, light. On cloudy, moonless, nights the lights of Austin brighten the northern skies a bit. It doesn’t bother me, though, because I can’t see the stars at that point, what with all the clouds in the way.

I still have not seen any coyotes, feral hogs, deer, or hippopotamus’. You may wonder about the last one, but it’s happened before. I think I saw a cat the other night, though. If so, it would be the first one I saw since moving in. I’ve been told there are bobcats, but I haven’t seen one of those, either.

The other thing I haven’t seen, yet, are any UFOs. Being “out in the country” I expect to get pestered by aliens who like to frighten the yokels with their zany antics.

Maybe I’m just asking for too much in the short time I’ve been here. Anyway, I really should be concentrating on getting a lawn mower because all the rain we’ve been getting lately has the grass growing like, well, weeds.

Casa de Entropy — Various Noggin Leaks


Trials and Tribulations

I am almost done with the apartment and I’m looking forward to only paying one set of bills. I’m also looking forward to getting my Saturdays back since I won’t have to run up there and, at a minimum, check the mail. Soon, I’ll be able to spend my Saturdays the way they were meant to be spent: unpacking and throwing away (or maybe storing) a bunch of boxes.

So far, there are only two things that annoy me about the house. And, to be fair, one isn’t even the house.

The first thing is, the sink strainer. I no longer have a garbage disposal and, having been dealing with a regular sink drain for a few weeks, I have no idea how humans get along without one. My sink drain is always clogged up with oozy gunk that the birds leave in their water bowls. And bits of wood (thanks, Tooka!). The sink strainer is crap and suffers from the problem that all sink strainers do, depending on what you’re trying to do.

Like, when I’m washing dishes and expect the water to drain, the water movement causes the thing to rotate and plunk down into the drain, stopping it from evacuating water. While that’s happening, it opens gaps letting various bits of food (and wood) to go down the drain. Or, worse, accumulate above the drain turning into an ungodly mess. Then, of course, if I want to fill the sink with water, the damn thing just free flows the liquid right out.

The other problem I have is actually with a road that I have to cross to get home. It’s a two-lane road (one lane in each direction), but it’s quite busy (especially with truck traffic) and has a high speed limit. Currently, there’s a stop sign there. Not a four way stop, mind you. Just where I need to go. It can take several minutes for a break in traffic, which is a total drag. It’s also a drag when some numbnuts in a pickup or SUV squeeze to the right to make a right hand turning which, effectively, blinds me to traffic coming from my right. Dicks.

The good news is, there’s a light there. It’s just not functional yet. And I have no idea when it will be functional. But I hope it’s really soon. I may still be stuck for a few minutes, but at least I’ll have the knowledge that I’ll be able to cross the road at some point.

So, those are my two major issues at the moment and I think I’m lucky that they’re pretty minor.

Future Look

One of the downsides of not having a woman in my life (aside from the 101 obvious ones), is that decorating will be up to me. I don’t know a damn thing about decorating. Left to my own devices, I’ll probably either never do anything, or do something that would be stylistically horrendous.

I know, for example, that I want to start putting in ‘smart’ devices. Like, window blinds, lights, thermostats, and locks (which will be fun, considering there are five doors to the place). This will be a slow process, though, on account of new things are coming out all the time and I keep waiting for them.

I also know that I want a different refrigerator. One that dispenses filtered water because I’m super tired of re-filling the two water pitchers I have. I know. Cry for me. It’s terrible. But, really, water is my primary drink so it would make my life much easier. On the plus side, maybe it can be a ‘smart’ fridge with a way to let me see inside without opening the doors! On a related note, did you know Delta has voice activated faucets? I won’t get one, though, because there’s no Siri or Apple Homekit support.

That’s all neat and stuff, but it’s not decorating. I know I need stuff on the walls and floor because noise travels. And when you have a cockatoo that hates you, there’s a lot of noise. Thing is, I’m a big fan of the Fallout franchise of games. Not just the games, but the whole aesthetics of the series which is a sort of retro-1950s-futuristic look. I’ve already been looking at area rugs with a kind of retro 1950s pattern (some 1960s patterns are neat, though).

Then I saw these on the Dr Pepper site:

It’s got neon lights! (not pictured)
Retro-tastic!

The living room and kitchen are primarily red, and they look pretty retro. The clock has a neon light that (I assume) goes around the edge. Why they don’t have a picture of the light on is beyond me. Anyway, do I really need a big table in my kitchen? There’s a total of one of me and I don’t see friends coming over. But, yeah, left to my own devices that’s probably the kind of thing I would do.

Then there’s the outside of the house. I have a playscape, which I don’t use nearly as often as I thought I would. There’s also this thing:

Ignore everything but that wooden structure

The owners before the owners I bought the house from used that area as an entertaining spot. It had a barbecue pit and what not. The previous owners used it for plants and things (as evidenced by the pots, which are no longer there).

For reasons I don’t fully grasp, I want to turn it into a bar. Seeing as how I don’t drink, I blame this idea solely on the show Abby’s, which, as you’ll recall, got cancelled a few months back. Despite the fact that I watched it. See, the whole idea of having people come over and have a great time and, maybe, talk to me, is a very attractive one to me. See, I could put all-weather bar stools in the front. There are shelves for liquor. I’d just need some power for a Kegerator and some lights and a mini-fridge. How awesome would that be? Of course, I won’t do that.

For starters, it would be incredibly illegal. Sure, people keep telling me there are “no laws” out where I live, but I’m not willing to test that. Also, I’m sure every night would be a hassle what with kids and transients stealing all my booze.

One last thing I want to do is to increase the size of my back patio by laying down a bunch of concrete, and then fencing it in so I don’t have to see the neighbors. The pièce de résistance would be a hot tub.

When I mention this, the most often asked question is: Why? Why a hot tub?

The answer is pretty simple: I don’t know.

Sure, it seems like a real groovy-gold-chain-1970s-hippie kind of thing to do, but maybe that’s why it appeals to me? It’s something outrageous and, dare I say, excessive. But, not having a significant other, I could do it. And, to be honest, there’s something appealing about being submerged in water and gazing up at the stars in the night sky that really appeals to me.

Image result for 1970s hot tub
Hey, baby!

Well, it could work.

House of Entropy – 1 Month


It’s been about a month since I’ve moved in. During that time I have encountered three roisterous parties by the neighbor (none of which I was invited to) and a couple of nights of extreme fireworks (and probably gunfire) that I could hear, but not see.

The strange thing is, the parties I could only hear when I was outside. And the music was so loud that it sounded like it was coming from a radio right next to me (I should say, too, that they must have an incredible sound system out there because not only was the music really loud, but it was really clear and sounded great — if not for what they were playing). The fireworks, on the other hand, sounded like someone was shooting a cannon in my living room.

One thing has been made clear, though: I desperately need area rugs and, maybe, wall hangings in the living room. It’s big, it’s open, and it’s tile so sound is pretty wacky in there.

Oh, that reminds me. I finally figured out what clock was set an hour ahead that was confusing me. It was the clock on the thermostat. I haven’t fixed it, yet, as I’m thinking of replacing it with a new-fangled ‘smart’ thermostat.

I’m still not quite done with the apartment, though. I’ll be really glad when that’s over and done with.

Overall, things seem to be going well. I’m already making a list of ‘upgrades’ I’d like to make, including buying trees or bamboo or something to block out the neighbors. I was thinking 9 foot tall stone walls, but I may get some pushback on that.