Things I learned on my vacation no particular order.

  • It’s worth driving a hundred miles out of your way to avoid really boring countryside.  It’s worth driving three times that if it lets you hang out with an old buddy.
  • Junk food is “road food” for good reason.  A well-paced series of sugar spikes is just as good as roughing it on beef jerky and water, and makes you a better conversationalist.
  • Now I know why most truckers are fat.  “Car exercises” on long trips work stabilizing muscles you didn’t know you had. In bad ways.  Carcercising on short trips: good.  Carcersizing long trips: serious back pain.
  • Cure to being lonely in a crowd: realizing you’re not supposed to fit in with said crowd.
  • Sometimes the “spam filter” excuse is true – and somebody you’d written off come chasing you down the hallway calling your name.
  • If you have four hips, spandex is a not a good idea.
  • We all get older.  Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that’s “shit, that guy’s not looking real good, I gotta spend some time with him before it’s too late.”
  • If your colleague argues with you on Facebook, but won’t return your emails and doesn’t say hello when you’re facing each other with your hand held out — he’s not your colleague.
  • Even serious theologians think swords are cool.
  • Sometimes your mentors are wrong – but without them, you’d never have been able to discover that.  And they WANT you to improve on their work.
  • Only nukes will TRULY clean bugs off a windshield, but driving west into the rain at 80mph softens ’em up pretty good, too.
  • It’s ALWAYS a good idea to make an extra stop at that place that does the extra-awesome donuts.



In My Copious Spare Time…

Why does this phrase always evoke knowing but quiet guffaws among all adults?

In my copious spare time, I will

  • Work on the second novel
  • Write the article due in June
  • Construct a farsetto di cordovano after the descriptions of Matteo Villani and various 14th-century images
  • “Un-fuck” the yard.  This is an ongoing process in the spring, but at least we have roses all over.
  • Excavate the guest room, finding space for all the old raw materials and re-enactor gear that I don’t get to use any more
  • Repair the house
  • Prepare for a giant road trip to the Medieval Studies Congress in Kalamazoo
  • Prep the presentation I’ll make to those guys
  • Write the “Persona in a box” guide to portraying a 1340s Hungarian soldier in Italy
  • Continue translating source material for the “Angevin” historical novel
  • Administer the game-world and satisfy player requests, etc
  • Call my buddy to help him work on his father’s legacy
  • Assist and be there for a grieving friend
  • Not neglect my daughter to do any of the above

and most of all, not take on any more bloody projects.

Sarah Hoyt’s having a bad week, and I suggested that we all link-bomb her by writing up our little “copious spare time” issues.  There’s a lot more that I want to have on that list, that I’ve simply shelved.  More skill at 3d modelling, improved language skills, writing up a manual of sabre for my instructor’s lineage, gaining the ability to write at least marginally-useful code in a 21st-century programming language, etc etc.

But what I’m really curious about is… where do all these other people get the time for t.v.?  I don’t mean watching it: I have something from Netflix running in the background all the time, while I’m doing other stuff.  Because dinosaurs.  Or zombies.  Or Curious George.   

Maybe what separates us “odds” out of the mix, no matter how relatively mundane the interest, whether it’s old cars, Incan astrology, or the age-old feud between Phlan and Melvaunt that doesn’t actually exist between because neither do Phlan or Melvaunt, is “are you happy to work like a beast, take care of basics, and then kick back?”  Or are you constantly stretching and pushing and doing?

Of course, other people I know, like my twin, have to constantly stretch and push and do just to stay current in their fields.  This isn’t some sort of psychological preening – I work less hard for money than a lot of other folks do, and might work harder there if I had the requisite skills.  But at the same time… how many people out there have “no more projects” as their New Year’s Eve resolution, every year, mean it, and have utterly failed it by February?

There’s something weird about people like that.  Being one of them, I ought to be able to say what it is, but, I can’t.

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