Sunday, August 2 2020

jenga trick shots, ibb and obb, and grand theft auto



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. From my computer screen to yours, I’d like to with you a happy Sunday. This morning, I’m using fresh coffee and gospel music to mentally drown out the Blippi episode reverberating around the living room. Rodney is changed, fed, and happily having a morning to himself on the couch. Miles, Marissa, and the dogs will emerge from our bedroom any minute now.

Sip. Yesterday was one of those days where 1000 words of writing just felt insurmountable. Marissa and Rodney finished eating and were getting ready to go outside and enjoy the day while I continued to languish at the dining room computer.

“Dear Journal. Yesterday I spent ALL DAY WRITING A JOURNAL ENTRY,” I shouted before getting up to warm up my coffee.

It’s tough to write on Saturday mornings. Something about sleeping in just zaps the creative energy. I think it’s because I’ve spent almost my entire life not working on anything on Saturday mornings. Nobody does homework on a Saturday morning. Saturday mornings are for cartoons, hobbies, and using a big breakfast as an excuse to stay in your pajamas a little longer than usual. Sundays are easier for me. I’m doing a better job batting away the distractions and staying on task.

When I finally got the daily publication out the door, I scooped up Miles out of his chair and joined Marissa and Rodney outside. Having just finished mowing the lawn, Rodney was following Marissa around with a bucket, picking up walnuts in the yard.

Miles had a fussy day. Whether he was with me or Marissa, he seemed to spend all day either screaming or on the verge of screaming.

“Is he a harder baby than Rodney?” I asked Marissa as we dug into a small lunch of leftover pizza.

“Definitely,” said Marissa.

“Even when Rodney had all the ear infections?” I clarified. Marissa stared off into space for a few seconds to recollect.

“You know what,” said Marissa. “It’s a close call. Rodney would wake up more in the night, especially before the ear tubes. Miles sleeps through the night, but he’s way more fussy during the day.”

Almost on cue, Miles spit is pacifier out of his mouth and began to wale.

“At least Rodney actually used a pippy,” said Marissa while Miles briefly stopped screaming to catch his breath.

Later that day, after finishing up dinner, we decided to play a few rounds of Jenga. We cleared the table and erected the Jenga tower, and after fishing a chopstick out of the back of the silver ware drawer, we took turns carefully removing loose bricks from the structure.

Mariss scanned over the structure, using the tip of the chopstick to probe for easy candidates.

“You should try this one,” I said, gesturing at the very bottom brick. The entire tower rested on this single brick. Marissa cracked a smile.

“You just want to see me mess up,” she laughed.

“No, it can be done,” I said earnestly. “You just got to go fast.”

“Like pulling a table cloth out?” asked Marissa. I nodded, getting up out of my chair to clear room for her.

She swiftly swung her arm at the brick. It flew off the table and rolled onto the floor. The tower hung in the air for a moment, then slowly tumbled, scattering bricks everywhere.

From there, our game of Jenga turned into a “Jenga trick shot” contest. Marissa successfully recreated the attempted trick shot, and I tried to best her with a two brick version of the same move.

After getting Rod to bed, Marissa and I split off to catch up on some chores. After finishing the dishes and taking the garbage out, I joined her in the living room, leaning up against the wall with a beer while she cleaned the fish tank.

After messaging my cousin, who is a saltwater tank guru, Marissa wanted to redo the cabling underneath the tank. “Tami said that I need to tie drip loops to each of the cables,” explained Marissa. “They serve as a lowest point of gravity to keep water from running into the socket.”

After putting the tools and cable wraps away, Marissa retrieved a little bag of fish food from the shelf. She sprinkled the red speckled food on the glassy surface of the water. Obb, the bigger clown fish, began to circle like a shark.

“Obb has gotten so mean,” said Marissa. “Tami said it’s normal for them to be mean, but did you know that he tries to bite me?”

Obb pecked greedily at the food. Ibb, the smaller of the two, paddled around helplessly at the bottom of the tank.

“And she steals all the food too. If I want Ibb to have some, I have to slip it past Obb with the filter.”

Marissa dropped a single grain of food on the filter. The water swiftly carried it past Obb. Ibb meekly picked it up off the sandy floor.

“I’m sure that’s just natural,” I said. “Obb is kind of like a twenty-four seven body guard. Her job takes more energy. Still - I wonder if Ibb would get any food if not for you little trick with the filter.”

ibb and obb

Ibb, blink twice if you don't feel safe.

Marissa and I headed downstairs into the studio. Over beers, Marissa caught up on some gallery house keeping while I played Grand Theft Auto.

I’ve been getting a lot of joy from Grand Theft Auto. I think because of it’s attention in the news, most people think it’s only worth playing for the violence - which is half true. The genius is Grand Theft Auto is in the details. There are plenty of video games that will do a fine job simulating the experience of stealing a car. But in Grand Theft Auto, it’s a neon green jeep, and the driver has frosted tips, expensive sunglasses, a bluetooth earpiece, and with a yoga mat slung over his back he’ll protest that you’re negative energy is seriously bumming him out. By the time you peel away leaving him stranded on a busy freeway, his car radio resumes blaring new age music, which is interrupted by a sensationalized cable news style bulletin recounting the public’s perspective of a heist you just finished.

The other hilarious aspect of GTA is how it humiliates you with your own mistakes. Last night, I was completing a flashy jewelry store heist. After knocking out the patrons with gas and gutting the store, I was covering my team from a stolen armored truck while they made their getaway on dirt bikes. Together we whizzed through an abandoned aqueduct, narrowly missing high speed collisions with cop cars.

Suddenly, my crew members stopped, pulling in front of me with their dirt bikes and slowing to a halt on a platform. But with my finger planted firmly on the accelerator, I kept barreling through, and I slammed the truck into one of the bikes. And so in the cooldown phase of the cinematic heist when we were supposed to be hiding the bikes in the truck and making a clean, professional getaway, there I was in slow motion being thrown from the truck to join my other slaughtered crew member in a mess of twisted metal and flaming wreckage. An unexpected turn of events, to say the least.

“OPE,” I exclaimed. “Well at least we don’t have to pay him his cut anymore.”

“I thought you’ve played this before,” laughed Marissa.

“I did,” I laughed. “But I was not prepared to stop.”

Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful day today.