The Affair

I ran down the hallway, doing my best to get out of the building as quickly as possible. Charlie had told me that if I ever showed my face here again, he’d kick my ass. As self-critical as I often was, I did not think that my ass needed kicking, and so had resolved to stay away. Despite what I had thought were my best efforts, one look at her face and I went running back into her arms. Only this time I came running back and slammed into Charlie, which constituted much more than showing my face.

I could hear Charlie’s cursing echoing down the hallway behind me. I could also hear what sounded disturbingly like the clatter of a metal baseball bat bouncing off the walls. When I reached the end of the hallway, I paused and risked a glance back. Charlie burst around the corner, waving a metal baseball bat around like he trying to make a tornado with it.

I took off running again, taking the stairs right in front of me and vaulting over the railing onto the next set of stairs as I reached the bottom. I kept this up for 10 more flights of stairs, getting a little further ahead each time. On the ground floor, I had almost two whole flights of stairs on him. As quickly as I could in order to preserve my advantage, I darted down one of the three hallways that branched out from the foyer I was in and ran until I turned the corner. Pressing my back against the wall, I looked around for someplace to hide. Twenty feet down, there was a janitorial closest.

Moving as quickly and as quietly as I could, I slipped down the hallway and tested the knob. Locked, Damn! I gave the door a sharp tug in frustration and, to my surprise, it swung open a few feet. I ducked inside the door and pulled it closed behind me, making sure to listen for the click! that told me it was completely closed.

Crouching behind a pile of rags, I took my cell phone out of my pocket and silenced it. The last thing I needed was for my it to go off and give away my position. I can’t believe I’m hiding in the janitor’s closet from Charlie. God, it’s not like I slept with his wife or anything…

Just then, I could hear the heavy tread of Charlie’s booted feet. I held my breath, not trusting the door to hide the noise of my ragged breathing. “Where’d you go, you bastard professor?” I heard. “When I find you I’m going to rip you open and smear you all over the sidewalks!” The footsteps got ever closer. He was moving slowly now, as if he could sense that I was nearby and he didn’t want to spook me into running again.

I started and nearly fell over when the doorknob jiggled. I waited, breath held, hoping that the door stayed closed and my hiding place remained undetected. I’m getting too old for this… was all that ran through my head. The jiggling stopped. The heavy steps moved away and I sighed with relief. This is the last time I sleep with one of my students…

Saturday Morning Musing

Well, it’s not really he morning anymore, but I was up almost all night, tossing and turning super slowly so I wouldn’t vomit. Which I eventually did anyway. Now I’m just kind of floating hrough the day with a massive headache, unable to sleep because of the pain and the really friggin’ weird dreams I have every time I try.

Sorry this isn’t more interesting, but I’ve gotta post every day no matter what and I’m too out of it to come up with anything interesting. I feel pathetic, so I’m just going to cut it off here before the self-pity party starts. Hope you all have a great day.

Switching Skyrim Up

I mentioned last month that I was super excited that I was finally able to play Skyrim on the Switch and now I’ve finally done it. Skyrim was my first post-Christmas gift to myself and after letting it download over night, I finally started playing it a couple of days ago. While it was a little jarring to play at first, I eventually got used to playing it without the smoother control available on a computer. Tilt-controls for aiming my bow–I’m a sneaky sniper because I like to challenge myself to “unicorn” all my enemies by shooting them in the forehead–are super helpful, so I don’t really feel the “two sticks and several buttons” issue until I get stuck in melee combat. At which point I’m usually dead anyway, so it isn’t that much of a problem.

The thing I probably miss the most are my PC mods. Most of the mods I used where graphical changes or texture packs to make the world feel more real. I used to love wandering around Skyrim simply to take it all in. Killing things and going on quests were just added benefits to help pay for my tour of the world. The stars, the sunsets, the way the grass waved in the wind… All things I miss in this new game. I also miss the added carrying capacity and capes, but those aren’t as big a deal.

While I originally wanted the game so I’d have a pick-up-and-play console version of Skyrim, I have to say getting it on the Switch was definitely the right decision because portability is easily the best part of the game experience so far. If I’m going to my girlfriend’s place, I can bring my Switch along and start playing Skyrim while she’s playing Pokemon (literally did that a couple of days ago). If I want to go hang out in a coffee shop but don’t feel like writing or get bored with my book, I can play Skyrim (planning to do that sometime this weekend). If I’ve got a 15 minute break at work and want to maintain my “total nerd” status with my coworkers, I’ll bust out my Switch and Skyrim it up.

To be fair, I can play Breath of the Wild during all of those moments as well, but I feel like Skyrim has actually used the controller layout the best out of all the other games I’ve played on the Switch. The main reason I prefer my Pro Controller and TV for Breath of the Wild is that I’m often sprinting and jumping and changing camera direction all at the same time. This is an awkward button/stick combo on the Pro Controller and an impossible one on the Joy-Con (whether attached to the Switch or detached) for someone with hands my size. I tried doing it on the Joy-Con once and it was painful enough that I’ve never done it again and have zero intention of ever doing it again. Maybe if they ever make slightly larger Joy-Con for the large-handed individuals of the world, I’d consider it. Until then, I’m going to stick to Skyrim for mobile gaming.

While the download for the game was way smaller than I anticipated (17 GB only???), the entire game seems to be there. I’m sure there’s stuff missing that I could find if I went looking for it, and I know game sizes tend to get a little bloated when it comes to PC downloads, but it still seems like a huge shrink in size for such a huge game. Which makes the 13.4 GB size of Breath of the Wild even more incredible. I should do some research into what makes games as big as they often are. I mean, Doom on the PC is about 55 GB and its only 13.4 on Switch. That’s insane. I’m either missing 40 GB of game or there was 40 GB of fluff on the PC version. Even taking out the supposedly 9 GB of multiplayer (from what I’ve gathered online), that’s still 30 GB difference. Cleaning up the code can’t account for that much difference and setting restrictions for consoles seems like it wouldn’t be enough to account for whatever was left.

That’ll be next week’s post. I’ll do some research and report back. In the mean time, enjoy playing Skyrim and I’ll try to get some screenshots of me “Unicorning” my enemies once I’m a high-enough level to snipe stuff.


Rainy grey days and soft muted nights,
Fog in the trees obscuring the lights
Of passing cars and the lone street lamp
As the world revels in the wet and the damp.

The quick pit-patter of dripping rain
Against the roof and window pane,
The bend and sway of leaf and tree,
The storm-blown scratch of spring debris,
The susurrus of water on grass
As the clouds roil, break, and pass.

A hint of loam and earthy strength,
A touch of fresh that runs the length,
Something new to mark the year
As the scent rides wind far and near.

The cold pin-prick of rain on skin
To mark the storm will now begin,
The deep chill gust that cuts to bone
And leaves stout souls to walk alone,
All hint of warmth retreats from hearts
As the skies open and the rain starts.

Unlit grey rooms and seats to rest
By windows with forehead pressed,
A crack to pull in rain-soaked air
And a blanket warm waiting near,
Silence reigns loud to give the storm
Ample room to sooth and perform
For those who watch and wish to be
Nothing more than melancholy.


Flash Fiction and Post-holiday Blues

Since I’m stuck deep in the Post-holiday blues and am almost too tired from them to care, have a bit of flash fiction. If I’m still this down tomorrow, I promise I’ll post some poetry instead.

I wrote this piece a few years ago, while spending a summer working on a show being put on at my college. It was Les Miserables, and this piece was the result of a challenge from one of my coworkers, who took a rather antagonistic (but still appreciated) role in encouraging me to write. He wanted me to write something about someone with a cell phone in the French Revolution, so I obliged. I had a thing for flash fiction warm-ups that summer, so I did this while preparing to write that night and he loved it. I hope you enjoy it and that you’re avoiding any kind of holiday-related blues.

With a crack and flash, guns fired. Someone screamed. Someone died. A cannon roared in the distance. Part of the barricade exploded and fell in as the cannons facing them blazed and belched their iron-fisted demands of surrender or death. Revolutionaries screamed in defiance with their last breath, refusing to retreat or take down their red flag.

Deedle-oo-doo deedle-oo-doo deedle-oo-doo-dee.


Absolute silence. Nothing moved.

“Mark, if your cell phone goes off one more time during rehearsal I am going to throw you both in the river!” The director waved his arms as he yelled and started pacing through the theater.

Everybody but Mark pulled their cell phones from their pockets and ignored the irate director. Not a single person held a gun, but every pair of hands held a cell phone. Who can ignore the call to revolution, much a less a call from a friend?

Tabletop Highlight: Concept

I hope that you’re having a wonderful holiday season and that those of you who celebrate it are having a wonderful Christmas. My family does most of our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so I’m already home and bundled up in front of my computer, preparing myself for work tomorrow. I’m also starting my search for deals and bargains on a few post-Christmas presents to myself, and one thing has jumped to the top of the list for me as a result of this past weekend.

Part of my family’s Christmas ritual includes time for board games and this year, we played a wonderful game my sister brought called “Concept.” Concept is, as Wil Wheaton describes, “like pictionary for writers.” You can get a nice summary of the rules in the video I linked there, so I’m going to focus on a few of the higher concepts of the game. Unlike similar games, where it is a player’s job to communicate something to the other players, such as pictionary or charades, Concept limits your communication to only placing little plastic items on a board covered in icons. You aren’t allowed to communicate using pictures, gestures, or any of the other ways available in pictionary or charades, which means there is often less for the players to go on when they’re guessing. At the same time, the variety of items and icons means you can sometimes say more. Both of these things can be severely limiting.

If you put down too many items on too many icons, it becomes hard to tell what concept you’re trying to communicate and the people guessing can guess a wide variety of things that may not be related to what your concept is. If you have too little, its possible the players will get stuck and be unable to made the intuitive leap you’re trying to nudge them toward. Hard concepts, such as people or movies, are generally easier to communicate. Soft concepts, such as phrases, are much harder. That being said, that’s not always the case. My brother and I spent ten to fifteen minutes trying to guess what our sister had picked and she got so frustrated with our inability to guess that she accidentally let her concept slip when she was berating us.

To be fair, neither of us had seen that movie in a long time. To continue being fair, it shouldn’t have been that hard and I feel almost ashamed of how dense I was in retrospect. The intelligence of your players is the only real limitation on the game, so you should probably be careful when considering playing it with young children and adults who have been drinking. I’d like to say the alcohol clouded my wits, but I hadn’t drunk enough by then to use it as an excuse. Also, alcohol is really only limiting when you’re the person who is trying to convey the concept. Guessing just gets easier and more fun the more you drink.

You can play it with as many people as you like, so long as they can all fit around the board, and all the concepts are family friendly, so no need to worry about upsetting Grandma or Grandpa. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a new party game to try.



Majestic Weather

Here’s another “shoot, I really need to get that buffer made” poem to hold you over when I’m too busy to write something new every day for my daily post. Hopefully you’re all have a wonderful holiday season and, for those of you who celebrate it, I hope your Christmas Eve is going well.

As the moon sits, fat and high,
I watch a battle of giants in the sky.
Flashes of light that make no sound
Miles and miles above the ground:
A tumultuous scene of Majestic Weather!
No fluffy clouds, light as a feather
Are these, but dark monstrosities
That dominate the sky, ignoring the breeze.

A scene of beauty like no other
Is the storm that decides to hover
On the horizon like a mountain silhouette,
But infinitely more of a looming threat.

Beauty and violence twisted together
Is this Queen of inclement weather!


I still haven’t gotten my buffer built up. I’m spending the entire day traveling and helping my friend move into her new apartment, so I’m unable to do much writing today. I’ll hopefully get back to the regular schedule tomorrow, but we’ll see. It’s hard to predict what the holidays will bring. Since I want to give you all something, have another poem I wrote a while back

Words stuck behind a pane of glass
Rebound and pierce like tiny pins,
Given free reign to quickly pass
Through my soul like trivial sins.


Broken words and broken moments
Shower me with leftover letters
And more little “later’s” than I can stand.

Cluttered mind and shuttered heart
Weigh me down as I reach out
And take me far from what I had planned.

Shattered phrases and endless thoughts
Tie me up in ceaseless swirls
That ignore my every plea or demand.

Forever lost beneath the rubble
Of my organized and ordered mind,
Piles of rock and ruin all beige and bland
Of which not even a plinth remains,
Is the once-mighty empire of me.

And all I can say is that it was grand.