Friday, May 25, 2012

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead ... Which Could Be Any Moment Now

I may have mentioned before that I’m not the soundest of sleepers, for what I assume are a myriad of reasons; reasons which I have no real interest in exploring, preferring instead to toss and turn and plow forward through the mornings fueled by pot after pot of the cheapest coffee that the Piggly Wiggly sells.  The cause of last night’s sleeplessness, however, was quite clear, and I fear that I may never slumber again.

Being the lone resident (human resident, I should say) of Casa de Acorn, I, on occasion, and to no one’s surprise, I’m quite sure, fall just a tad behind on what the more priggish among us might call “a schedule of household chores that meets the minimum EPA standards for avoiding designation as a Superfund site.”

Yeah, I can be something of a slob.

The thing that led to last night’s incident, though, isn’t a complete breach of lifestyle protocol logic, I would argue:  Why should I take the simple process of “clothes get dry ==> clothes get worn” and inject an intermediate “clothes get taken from the dryer, folded, and put into a dresser” step?  It’s an obviously wasteful endeavor, and while some would label me as “lazy,” I prefer to think of myself as an “energy conserver.”  Why do you hate the planet, dresser users?

Every once in a while, though, I conform to societal "norms," and gather up the clothes that are half in the dryer, half in the basket, half on the floor, and take them back and dump them on my bed, where they stay for another few days, as there is plenty of room in my big bed for me to lie awake in a cold sweat pondering what torment tomorrow holds sleep on the other side.  And so it was last night.

Here’s a conversation I had with someone about what happened next (I was speaking from atop a chair in the kitchen):

Dead Acorn:  “So I’m gonna fold clothes, and I dump the clothes out on the bed, and I’m reaching for a t-shirt, and this GIANT-ASS SPIDER COMES RUNNING OUT STRAIGHT AT ME!  He must have crawled up on a piece of clothing that was touching the floor!  He was HUUUUGE!”

Person To Whom I Was Relating The Story:  “Whatever.”

DA:  “He was brown!  And RECKLESS!”

PTWIWRTS:  “Oh, for shit's sake.  The word is ‘reCLUSE,’ and 1) it most likely wasn’t a brown recluse, as they’re not all that common, B) they’re called “recluses” because they are not aggressive, and Γ) even if it were a brown recluse, and it bit you, it’s extremely unlikely anything remotely serious would even happen.  God, you can be a sissy.”

DA:  “Nuh uh!  They’re called brown reckless spiders because they have no regard for their own lives, instead attacking without hesitation or forethought anything they can get their monster fangs into.  The little bastards are the only creature a honey badger won’t mess with.”

PTWIWRTS:  “Just fold your stupid clothes and go to sleep.”

Well, as they say, fuck that.  I finally mustered the courage to gather the clothes back into the basket (using a broom handle), push the basket to the laundry room, and get them back into the washing machine.  I used the same process with the sheets, and indeed all of the clothes in my bedroom, clean or not, as the brown reckless ejects its eggs aerially as it walks, onto any surrounding fabric within 20 feet, so that an infestation can occur in a matter of hours.  I had to drown them all.

Well, I wasn’t taking any chances, knowing that there could have been a survivor or two, so I’m sure you understand why I’m a little tired today.  It’s hard to sleep standing on a kitchen chair, after all.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Scrabbled Eggs

[UPDATED BELOW w/Hasbro response]

I am generally, I believe, a fairly laid-back and relaxed person, preferring to not get worked up over trivial issues.  I would, for example, never get my dander up over something like politics or prejudice in our society, as such topics seem so inconsequential in today’s utopic environment of kindness and concern for others disirregardless of our differences.

That said, there are certain things of such great import, bearing such relevance to the state of our world, that I find I can no longer remain silent on them in light of their egregiousness.  The issue of which I currently write is this:

Above:  That is bullshit, Hasbro ... utter bullshit.

The image above is from the official rules of the board game Scrabble, and shows examples of "legal" plays. For those unfamiliar with the game, players take turns creating words with letter tiles.    In the first, a player has played the word “FARM” on the existing word “HORN.”  Words can be formed one of two ways:  by either using a letter in an existing word to make the new one perpendicularly (as in the example), or by extending an existing word (e.g., by adding an 'S' to make a plural form).  Aside:  I played over the weekend with someone whose credo seems to maintain that “there is no object noun that cannot be turned into a person noun by the addition of ‘R’ or ‘ER’:
Person With Whom I Was Playing:  (plays ‘R’ at the end of the existing word ‘AXE’)

Dead Acorn:  “AXER?  WTF?

PWWIWP:  “Yeah.  It’s someone who axes things.  You know, a guy who uses an axe.  Duh.”

DA:  (stunned silence for a few seconds)  “Wow.”

Now take a look at the second example in the image.  Do you see what they’ve done?  DO YOU SEE?  They’ve first pluralized the word ‘FARM’ by adding the ‘S’ … then continued on to make ‘PASTE’! A second word!  That’s two turns!  That’s outright cheating!*  Those BASTARDS!

Well, I’m done living with this sort of abomination, this assault on civilized society.  Are we not a nation of rules and laws?  Are we not a people who embrace common decency, or do we accept those who would build upon the honest work of another (the FARMer, in this case) and flout the spirit of the “one turn, one word” philosophy with all the greed and disdain for their fellow humans of a JP Morgan executive?  This will not stand!

To that end, I’ve sent the following letter to Hasbro, the parent company of Parker Brothers, the marketer of  the game in the United States:

Dear Hasbro:  I find that I can no longer keep silent about the undeniable illegality of the tactic known as “hooking” in the game of Scrabble.  It is a manuever, inarguably, that allows a player to take two turns – by first (for example) creating the plural form of a word (turn one), and then creating a second word based on the tile that they themselves have just laid (turn two).  I’m quite certain that this was an oversight by Alfred Butts during the inventive process, and further, I believe it likely that it was the reason that Parker Brothers originally turned down the game.

You’ve ignored this far too long, Hasbro.  It has been the elephant in the room of board gaming since 1948, and you, as a Major Power in the industry, have the power to fix things.

Please correct this as soon as possible.  I would also appreciate it if you could issue an official statement establishing that any victory over me due to the use of “hooking” is to be considered null and void.

Do the right thing, for the love of all that is good and fair, and you’ll be well on your way to being a real bro instead of just a has-bro.

In Gaming Sincerity,
The Dead Acorn

To be honest, I don’t hold high hopes for justice to be served.  But I tried to make a difference, and I guess sometimes that has to be enough.

[UPDATE:] Well, paint me orange and call me a pumpkin! I heard from Hasbro:

 Response Via Email (Rob)
05/15/2012 03:58 PM

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your taking the time to share your feedback with us regarding the Scrabble rules.

Please be assured we have forwarded your comments to our management team so that they are also aware of your views and request.

We want to assure you that we are dedicated to maintaining quality products and service. We hope you and your family will continue to enjoy our products for many years to come.

Again, thank you for contacting us, and for your comments.

And so you see, sometimes a little activism and protestation really can make a difference.  I expect a news conference announcing the changes tout de suite! Many thanks to Rob and the rest of the Hasbro Board of Directors for giving this the level of attention it deserves.

* This is known as “hooking” in the Scrabble world.  Yes ... yes, of course it is.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No One Knows My Pain

I’m a wreck.  Emotionally, obviously, but that’s not really anything new.  Physically, however … well, that’s not really new, either, but I have had a few incidents as of late that have me hurting a bit more than usual.

Firstly, at last week’s softball game, I was hustling out a weak-ass grounder smokin’ hot liner to 3rd, knowing that my efforts were of great importance, as our team had pulled to within 15 runs, and we were down to our last couple of outs.  Keep the rally alive, baby!  So I reached the bag, stumbling somewhat, as our game didn’t begin until 9:00 pm, and I some idiot thought it would be a good idea to bring a bunch of beer beforehand, and I tripped and went careening through the air, turning at least three airborne summersets before landing squarely on my shoulder.  I now have quite the contusion, and am generally unable to move my arm about without squealing in pain like a little girl.  So I don’t want to hear from any mothers about how horrible childbirth is, because this hurt pretty dang bad.

Secondly, the Cinco de Mayo Booze Cruize was held on, oddly enough, May 5th.  The CdMBC is a short bicycle outing during which riders travel to a number of bars in the downtown area, enjoying the day and raising money for a good cause.  (Bike O’ The Day:  a couch set upon two frames, welded together side-by-side, carrying the owner and his dog.  Brilliant.)  The person with whom I was riding got a flat tire, and we were forced to walk … WALK! … for quite a distance.  Those are muscles that, quite honestly, do not get a lot of use, and they are reminding me in an excruciating fashion of the meaning of the word “atrophy.”

Thirdly, I have (had?) a splinter of unknown origin in my thumb.  I’m not sure if it’s still there, as I took a needle and gouged out all of the flesh around it, so that now there’s a Grand Canyonesque gash there, and I’m not sure if it hurts because of the splinter or because of the damage done by my autosurgical urges.  Stupid splinter.

Lastly, I went to a friend’s house for jambalaya on the lawn the other day, which was extremely lovely, save for the fact that she has a tree with a large branch that’s exactly ½” lower than the top of my head, into which I ran multiple times, drawing blood from my skull at least twice.  I’m fairly certain that she rented that house for that exact reason, though I have no way of proving it.  But I know.  Oh, I know.

Softball, walking, splinters, jambalaya feeds … life truly is fraught with danger.  Maybe all those people who tell me that I need to wear a helmet everywhere have a point.