Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Obsessed with Frankenstein

This summer the family is reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I tried to persuade them that we could skip this year because we are so busy, but they were having none of it. I've never read Frankenstein, so this is a whole new book for me. So far, I have read the letters and am on chapter five. Victor Frankenstein created the monster. However, at this point in the story, I am taking away that the real monster is Obsession. Both narrators thus far, the letter writer and Victor Frankenstein, have their obsessions. The passions seem very different on the surface of things, but in reality are the same.

Robert Walton, the letter writer, and the man recording Frankenstein's words is obsessed with adventure and exploration on the high seas. He lives an acceptable childhood but is disappointed when not allowed to pursue his dreams. Eventually, he makes them happen, but in a letter to his sister before embarking he wishes that he had a companion with a similar mind along.

Victor Frankenstein is obsessed with returning or creating life from death. He too had a decent childhood, but his mother died. Frankenstein goes to school and learns that most of his previously favorite authors have been disproved and are now ridiculed. He has to start his studies again. This time, achieving what he wanted.

Adventure on the high seas and the horror of life from death sound very different on the surface, just to genres in the library. But what Robert and Victor's desire is the same thing. Glory. Robert writes to his sister about the possibility of finding a new passage, or the "secret of the magnet." (I think that sounds like a Nancy Drew novel.) He goes on about how awesome it would be if he could bring that back. Frankenstein, to Walton, says "what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease from the human frame... " (page 34).

So, the real antagonist so far is not the monster, but the obsession that each of them feels.

Another aspect of the novel, versus the well-known movies, is how Victor Frankenstein brings his creatures to life and his reaction afterward. The movies always portray a stormy night and a big contraption to capture the lightning to jump start the body on. However, from the description in the book I picture a tiny attic garret, stuffed with equipment and possibly Dr. Frankenstein (who may not be a doctor in the book) doing both science and something arcane to achieve his goal.

Also, the mad scientist is overjoyed in the movies and often cackles amidst the thunderstorm. In the book, he is excited until his creation works, and then he panics and has a nervous breakdown. His obsession had kept him going, but once achieved he fell apart.

It's a good book and keeping me interested. When I finish, I know that I will need to skim it again for quotes and essays to write. I also see several reflections of Frankenstein in pop-culture where I had not before. The only the comparison I can draw of the apparent discrepancies between Shelley's Frankenstein and that of the silver screen are those of Burroughs' Tarzan vs. Weissmuller's Tarzan. (For the record, I'll take Burroughs).

As I start chapter five, I do have one major question: What did the monster do all winter, while his creator was recovering? I guess I better go read to find out.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

And He's Off...

Robert is heading to Philmont Scout Ranch, and we dropped him off yesterday. He has a long drive ahead of him. Then he has a lot of hiking. The route they are going is a minimum of eighty-four miles in ten days. More if they want to go see things or do things, or if they get lost.  He had a lot of packing up to do to make sure that he had just what he needed and no more.

He then had to cut down from there. However, he has lots of ways to carry water. He has a camel-back from his aunt. That's the blue straw you see sticking out of his back pack. He had to take the bladder out in order to cut down on weight for the trip, but it seems to be working for him. He also has a nalgene bottle from his grandparents. That's in the army green case on his right. Both the army case, and the second nalgene bottle are part of his extra money he got to blow at MCSS for Will getting out. (He was very smart, and chose all things that would be useful either on this trip, or in the long run).

He has several other gifts in his pack that you can't see from both sides of the family.

This is the whole group that is going to Philmont. They have several boys going as well as several parents. Yes, even one mother is going. She already has the "no-stop" thing down, she's a go-gettem soldier.

They left taking two trucks and a minivan on the drive through West Texas to New Mexico. The drive is about ten hours, and they drove all of that yesterday, but it's the last day they get to sit down for more than a week.

Henry is already missing Robert. We grabbed a family photo before they left, and I intend to get another picture of us when he gets back. Even if he is stinky.

Mr. T, one of the regular Philmont Trek leaders from the troop says that the boys come back changed. So this is the last photo of Robert pre-trip that you'll see.

He has a camera and was told to take lots of pictures. He also has three fully charged batteries, and an empty SD card that is large. Yes, the camera is a rugged one designed to survive this type of thing. Hopefully, I'll be able to share some of his pictures when they get back.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Moving Sonnet

We sit and wait for papers, red tape still.
The hurry up and wait - it frays our nerves.
We plan and talk as boxes slowly fill.
We have a move to do with low reserves.

But plans, they help to mitigate the bad
Surprises popping up to drag us down.
Alone, I'd drown so now for fam'ly glad.
As we now pack to move to our new town.

Together life will go on, happy life.
With husband, son, and baby - travel, play.
As family we over come the strife
That strolls our way, but it will never stay.

Oh life will always change and tumble us
About. But us, together, survive. Bless.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Moving Out

For these of you who don't know, we will be moving soon. By soon I mean within the month. I will post about our trip on the blog. But there is a lot that goes getting ready to move. Ties from one community need to be severed while we retie them to anchors in the new location. I am sure that we will miss some connection or another.

Henry has the fewest connections. His doctor and the help we get from WIC are the two big ones. The first we do as part of a family disconnect. I know I need to get his health file, which is tiny, and mostly immunizations. Then I need to talk to our insurance about how to find his new doctor (and get health histories and new doctors for the rest of us.) I talked to WIC at our last appointment. They said to come in and turn off the card before we move. Then I have to make an appointment with WIC at on new location. My next appointment is a few days before we leave. I figure we can tackle it then.

Will and I have a few connections, even though we are mostly homebodies. We are both gamers and SCAdians. Gamers are a loose enough that we just have to say goodbye here and then look for a new family friendly group in our landing pad. For SCA, I have already contacted the groups to the north and south of us. Unfortunately, there is no shire or barony closer than an hour drive. We talk about building a shire, but that depends on the amount of time we have.

The other connections we have are Will's work. To disconnect on our terms is a whole big process. However, we do have a plan. Several appointments are on the calendar so that we make sure that they are getting completed. Clear scheduling is making the transition smoother for everyone.

Finally, there is Robert. He has the most connections to detach from here and reattach them at our final destination. Both are complicated by two major factors. The first is his trip to Philmont. He leaves on Saturday and doesn't return until we are nearly ready to leave. The second factor is that he is flying back to our destination and will arrive before us.

He has school, with football and JROTC as well. He also needs to change to the new boy scout troop and SCA. Finally, he needs to connect with the West Point Liaison in the area. We have been in contact with the school and know what he needs to register. We have also spoken to the football coach, so we are aware when summer workouts and football camp are. We even have his physical done. We have talked to the retired officer in charge of the JROTC program, so we know what to sign him up for. We are also in the process of getting the paperwork to transfer him between troops. We are doing our best to make the transition smooth for him.

That is the update on our moving status. As we attend meetings, briefings and get more paperwork, I will keep you all up to date.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Random Photos

We had a very busy week. Also, I got a little touch of the yucks. That's why no posts. However, I'm getting better, so I'm throwing up some pictures to show off until I can get another post written.

As you can see, the tiny one has now teeth. His two lower teeth have come in. However, his uppers are not in yet. I no longer let him chew on my fingers. He's a very happy excited baby who has no idea what the upcoming months have in store for us.

We also often have guests in our yard, probably because we don't use it enough to scare them away permanently. Birds are no strangers, they love hanging out in the yard, especially right after it gets mowed.

However, this guy only shows up on very special occasions and I don't know how to lure him out more. He did let me get all the way up to the window to take pictures of him, but I wasn't stupid enough to try to open it.

Due to lots of things going on we didn't get to the tiny tourney. So there will be no blog or pictures of that one. However, I did get some writing done for me. I think that the story is coming along very well, although it's taking some unexpected turns. I'll share my word count with the end of the month update. After all, I'm still adding to it for the month.

Look for lots of interesting updates coming up as our lives tumble over themselves in the next few months.

Also, if you're wondering about the lack of baby pictures, it's been warm enough in the house that Henry has only been running around in a diaper. I try not to post pictures of him in just a diaper on the internets. I know, I'm weird. That's just me. I'll try to get more pictures of him while we are out.

Friday, June 10, 2016

An Ocean of Adventure

From my Trip to Okinawa.
Adventure ebbs and flows like water does.
A calm surface hides a monster down
Below. It rises. Slowly grows from buzz
To Roar. A wave, events that sweep and drown.

It sweeps those caught up to another world,
A place of endless change. It forces us
To shift. So trials see our minds unfurled.
Asea, we search for home, but changed. It thus -

The home, the beach, is not the same we left.
But is it us or them that changed? It's found
That travel changed us, leaves us quite bereft
And lost. To search for home, we now are bound.

Our quest now drags another wave to crest
Here over friends and fam'ly. Never rest.

This blog was written in response to The Daily Post's Discover Challenge: Adventure

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Five Games

Last time I talked about the five books that I would like on a deserted island. However, I do not exist in a vacuum. Ideally, if stranded, I would end up with my family. Rather than books for entertainment, we would want games that we could play together. So here is my list of five games we would want:

First of all, we would want a game that would be different every time we played and would also be complicated enough to take our mind off of the problems at hand. For this choice, I would choose Firefly and its expansions. Firefly has many different story scenarios to play and can even be played solo. On a deserted island, with the full game, we could probably make up additional material of our own if the old stories and locations get boring.

Firefly is an awesome game, but it takes a lot of brain power. Somedays we would be so exhausted from surviving that we wouldn't even want to look at it. So we need a game that takes little brain power, is appropriate for little kids (can't forget Henry), and that we all find enjoyable - Uno. Yes, Uno is overdone, over played and boring for many, but it would be that touch of home that everyone needs. Also because of how big a good Uno deck is it can easily be turned into a regular deck of cards. Everyone just has to agree on which action Uno card is what face card before hand.

Both Firefly and Uno are competitive, and there are times where we will want to play cooperative games to build up teamwork. Two different games popped into my head, but one would just be silly So, I will take the second. Let is discuss the first one first, though. Forbidden Island is a very cooperative based game. But it is set on a deserted island. Why remind ourselves of the problems that we have? Why imagine the deserted island we are on sinking? On the other hand, Martians is also a cooperative game, has a lot of variability, and can be played competitively. I just wish that they had made expansions for it like "Zombies!!!"

We will need something to keep our minds sharp. I prefer "You've Been Sentenced," which is a sentence creation game. However, debates required to resolve issues of what is a sentence can cause strife. Scrabble is a good one, but without a dictionary, which we don't have, (see my previous post), we would have difficulty resolving disputes. So that is out. The Sherlock Holmes Puzzle Case has good logic but is limited to the cases it contains. Plus, Robert doesn't like it. However, the Riddle Cube game is something that can be used to keep us sharp, and we can create new challenges for each other once the cards get boring.

Finally, the whole family enjoys roleplaying games. However, that takes a lot of books, paper, and planning. On the other hand, Munchkin has a lot of expansions and room for variants. Then with all that time we can turn playing that game into a full roleplaying game.

For a bonus, we could make a Go/Othello/Paduk set out of rocks on the island. That one wouldn't have to be stranded with us. We'd use indigenous objects to create it. The only problem with that game is that it is a two person game.

What games would you want on a deserted island with your family? Or friends?

After writing the blog post about the five books, I realized that it was an expansion on the blog comment that I had made. However, it did not add anything or take a new direction. This blog post does. (Response to Day 9: Get Inspired by the Neighbors.)