Thursday, February 17 2022

wasting time, the menagerie, and shrimply pimples

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Thursday. My brain is still warming up, so how about we begin with a short writing exercise in setting the scene. It's cloudy, grey, and overcast outside, but there's a touch of warmth in the air and it smells like rain. Seated in this living room chair in front of the computer, my shoulders and knees radiate with a familiar soreness from last night's bout of Gregxercises. A shrill babbling sound shot out of Miles bedroom, echoing down the stairs and around the house.

Speaking of Miles, he knows four words now. In addition to mama, dada, and please, he can sort of say banana. While he watches us eat yogurt parfaits in the morning, he clamors NANA NANAAAAAAH outside the baby gate. "What do you say?" asks Marissa, trying to instill some manners before giving into his demands. Miles squints, and his face twists with focused concentration. His little brain needs every ounce of computational power just to recall the fourth word he knows. There's a few seconds of dead air before he can finally switch gears and blurt out PRIIIIIEEEEEEZE.

I'm feeling wicked tired this morning. In fact, trying to formulate words at the keyboard, I feel a lot like Miles. Squinting, tired face twisting with concentration. It's almost there. It's at the tip of my tongue. COFFEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Sip. It's good to be here today. The tiredness is my own doing. I scored an excellent nap just before dinner yesterday. I went right to sleep, and I awoke to the heavenly aroma of Marissa's chicken tikka masala. I guess the nap made me cocky, because I went ahead and burned the candle at both ends hacking on this website. Remembering I had a handful of amusing pico8 experiments stashed away from kids code, I whipped together a quick games page.

The quick late night hack session made me realize a new vision for this website. I genuinely want to make this website a place where you can waste time. Not in the way we waste time on the Internet these days doom-scrolling the news and skimming timelines. Do you remember wasting time on the computer playing flash games, watching short cartoons, and exploring other weird unknown websites?

Tired, but it's good to be here. I'm pleased to report that I went off-call yesterday. My last time commitment of the work day was a 1-on-1 with my boss, Scott. Sensing I was mired in a bit of a restless funk, he offered some encouragement. "Good things are coming," he said. "Think about the new house, let yourself get excited about setting up a... oh what's the word - it's at the tip of my tongue."

Out of respect for a good vocab word, I patiently waited for Scott to complete his thought.

"What the heck is that word?" he asked rhetorically. "It's perfect."

More silence. Finally, Scott blurted the word out.


I was glad I waited. I had never heard the word menagerie before. He proudly read the definition off a Google search.

"Menagerie. A collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition." Scott closed the browser tab, feeling satisfied.

"I like that word," I chuckled. "It's kind of whimsical, it sounds like something you would use to advertise a traveling flea circus."

Speaking of animals, let's check in on the menagerie. This picture of Ducky makes me laugh.


We've started to leave her blinds open, so her glass enclsoure fills with sunshine in the mornings. The extra light and warmth makes for a good incentive to get out of her cozy warm hide and explore the rest of her tiny jungle. It's nice to see more of her throughout the day.

Growing up is hard. Minnie feels too old for diapers.


After letting her outside, she tries to dart out of the kitchen, hoping that I'll forget to reattach her bulky pink diaper. "It's not a big deal," we assure her. "You can barely notice it."

Did you know we have a cleaner shrimp now? We're all a little hesitant to give this one the new pet spotlight, and I suppose that's because we've already lost so many cleaner shrimp. Recently, Rodney gave us quite a scare while he was inspecting the fish tank for himself. "Our lobster is upside down," he said. Uh oh, I thought to myself. But he wasn't upside down in the bad way - Rodney just meant that he was hanging upside down on his favorite rock.

Maybe this shrimp continues to survive because he finally got his own name. Instead of reusing the name Stephane passed on by our other fallen shrimp, Marissa gave him his own much sillier name - Shrimply Pimples. It's just our luck that the shrimp that happens to survive has a name as silly as Shrimply Pimples. Having outlived our other shrimp, I suppose it's finally time to give him the spotlight. Everyone, this is Pimples. Shrimply Pimples.


"Should I add him to the pet registry?" I asked Marissa. She paused to think, setting down the glass scrubbing brunch on top of the tank. "Yes... as long as it's easy to remove if... you know."

Shrimply Pimples has been doing a stellar job keeping his tank clean. I'll tell you what. Since we've had a long week, let's just spend the rest of this entry looking at some soothing pictures of coral.


That's what I got today. Hey, thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you tomorrow.