Category: reminiscing

Raccoon in the Kickstarter


Sure, call me a shill, but I’m always super psyched to learn about new things with raccoons for me to spend money on. You know, like calendars.

This week I came across a Kickstarter for a (hopefully) upcoming card game called Raccoon Madness.  It features weird, but cute, raccoon illustrations on each card. I watched the video about how the game is played but I found it baffling. A lot of card games tend to confuse me. I tried playing one once with a friend that was about warring realms. After a few rounds neither of us was sure if we were playing it correctly or if either was winning. We’d read the instructions and everything!

Getting back to Raccoon Madness, it seems to be based on the element of bluffing from poker. I never understood poker, either. I was always more of a Stratego person. I suppose people with autism might be at a disadvantage when it comes to playing this game, then. Or maybe it’d be helpful to train them to read people better?

At the very least everyone can appreciate silly raccoon pictures.

Anyway, if you’re an avid gamer, and especially a fan of crudeness of the likes of Cards Against Humanity (they’ll even have a NSFW deck,) I suggest backing it. I have. Because raccoons.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Raccoon Madness @ Kickstarter


RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: A Tour of Raccoon Mountain

Bob101909_011Back in late 2005 I spent a few weeks in Chattanooga, TN for work.  While driving, I saw a sign for scenic Raccoon Mountain which immediately became must-see attraction for me (fortunately work didn’t require me to go home during the weekends, and I usually didn’t.)  It was an interesting time, although the tour guide seemed kind of annoyed that there was one person who showed up for the cave tour that day.  Also, his answer that “it’s called raccoon mountain because it kind of has the shape of a raccoon” struck me as bullshit since it totally doesn’t. I wasted so much money in the gift shop for that place!

Anyway, the local (to Chattanooga) news site, (which sounds mildly racist, but isn’t) recently ran a photo essay about hiking one of the many trails in and around Raccoon Mountain.  Now, living in Colorado these days, picturesque hiking options are a dime a dozen, but out on the East Coast you take what you can get.  Besides, who wouldn’t want to potentially come across a raccoon on raccoon mountain?  Things couldn’t get raccoonier!


RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: He Sits on the Porcelain Throne

36B589C8America’s Funniest Videos spotlighted a video of a potty trained raccoon during their Christmas edition.  Wow, America’s Funniest Videos is still around?  When I was a kid, it was called America’s Funniest Home Videos and it was hosted by Bob Saget.  You know, while he was capitalizing on being a major star in the hit series, Full House.  I’m so sorry that my generation loosed that horror upon the world.  I know, the people who made the show were from a generation or two before me, but we’re the idiots who watched that drivel.  It’s a good thing television has come so far from those horrifying days of TGIF programming block.  Sometimes, when I’m all alone and there’s nothing to distract me from my darkest thoughts, I can still hear the bone chilling laugh of Steve Urkel echoing deep in the recesses of my brain.

Video Source: Potty-trained Raccoon @ YouTube

My Father Has Died At Least Two Times


I just read Jim Harold’s–the host of Paranormal Podcast and other podcasts I listen to and enjoy (despite disagreeing with a lot of it)–recent book True Ghost Stores: Jim Harold’s Campfire 2.  There was one particularly spooky tale involving a woman in possession of a cursed (?) painting that manifests its distraught subject in her home.  There were also a couple of stories involving people receiving messages from beyond the grave to let them know of loved ones’ passings. This subject was even explored in a recent episode with guest Rosemary Ellen Guiley about “Dream Messages from the Afterlife.”  The guest talks about the supernatural aspect of dreaming about a person as a premonition of their death, at the time of their death or even after their death to impart a message to their families.

You know, I had a dream about my father dying.  It was surreal (kind of redundant for a dream) with me walking in my old home in Connecticut, down the hall from the master bedroom through to the dining room.  It was nighttime and dark, like there was no electricity in the house, but there were these periodic flashes of lightning that cast disorienting blue light through the halls.  As I approached the dining room, I realized there was a man standing there as if in a daze.  When I finally got close to him I realized he was my father, with his mouth wide open as though frozen mid-yawn (or scream,) his skin had a pallid, very aged look and his eyes were glazed over.  I remember, even in my dream, thinking “Oh, god, dad’s dead,” as though realizing this was one of those dreams I’d read about.

I can even tell you when it happened: the night of July 8, 2005.  I know this because the next day was a Saturday and I went to Anthrocon in Philadelphia.  No, I am not a furry. It just so happened that the guest of honor that year was Peter Laird, one of the co-creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I thought it would be cool to get his signature and hear him talk, but as it turned out something prevented him showing up at the convention (I heard it was that he was kind of ashamed of the attendees; I can’t fault him for that.)  I remember having that dream nagging me throughout most of the morning, but I figured my father must have been okay because otherwise my mother would have contacted me.  I later called them to allay my fears.

Late last year, while living with my parents again, I had a similar dream.  I don’t remember the details all that well besides seeing my father collapse at one point.  I remember waking up in the middle of the night and tip-toeing across the house to check in on them–but not needing to go very far because the roar of my father’s snoring while he slept was enough to prove he was fine.

I dimly recall another such incident occurring sometime between those two.  The result was the same: my father wasn’t dead.  In fact I was talking to both him and my mother today about the upcoming holidays (on a regular cellphone, not some Edison ghost machine thing.) May we get to share many more to come.

So mark my words, even if I have a dream about my father’s (or mother’s) passing and awake to the horrid news, I will not give in to confirmation bias and credit the occurrence to evidence of some kind of paranormal connection when its success rate is slumming it at a failing 25% (or lower, if I have any more dreams-that-fail-to-predict.)

And I have nothing but respect for the Jim Harold for living the dream and making his collection of podcasts his full-time job.  Once I get a full time job, I intend to subscribe to his Paranormal Plus club.  I may not believe a lot of what he says … but at least it’s entertaining.

Dietary Changes

ImageAfter suffering some rather egregious setbacks with my life-changing move to Denver (or at least the greater Denver area) I found myself living in an apartment that was … livable.  I’m sharing a bathroom with several other guys–which hasn’t turned out as inconvenient as I feared it might–but I’ve learned to live with a lot of filth that’s out of my control.  The worst part is the kitchen, which is infested with lots of little ants in and around the sink.  On top of that, the stove and oven are located on one side of the kitchen with the washer and dryer on the other side … and maybe a couple of feet clearance between those two sides.  Between the bugs, grime, and cramped accommodations I’ve been apprehensive about leaving any fresh food in the kitchen or even spending time in there preparing meals.  So what am I doing? Starving? Eating out a lot?  No … just changing how I do things.

The last time I lived on my own–almost four years ago at this point–I never cooked with a microwave. When I did acquire one from a coworker who was moving out of the country, it was solely for the purpose of making popcorn.  I tried those old school stovetop Jiffy Pop things a couple of times and detested the experience. It also came in handy for leftovers.  Still, I never made microwave meals.

Now that’s almost all I’m doing.  You know those Amy’s frozen meals that are basically the vegetarian (damn near vegan) answer to Hungry Man? Yeah, that’s pretty much all I’m eating for dinners these days.  At about $4 a pop they’re not exactly cheap, but in terms of balancing cost, nutrition, and ease they’re about the best option available. To add to the veggieness, I’m drinking (low sodium) V8 with those dinners.   For lunches I was having nutritional bars; after some reading I’d decided on a supply of Think Thin bars.  And to start my day?  Since I was iffy on even leaving cereal in the cupboards, I’m instead having Carnation breakfasts, made with almond milk.

So, how is this working out?  Probably not well.  I’ve crunched the numbers and my caloric intake has to be hovering around 1,000–which is not good (I’ve read that even if you’re not terribly active, consuming less than 1,200 is a bad idea.)  I’m trying to think of ways to boost that without adding too much to my sodium or sugar intake (but damn, if you take out those parameters it’s an easy way to boost calories, isn’t it?) Although I’ve yet to feel any real negative side effects of this new way of eating, it may be due to my frequent failures to adhere to it.  I am, after all, trying to meet new people and that means going out a lot and having meals which I’m sure don’t fit into whatever nutritious plan I had in mind.  Even that’s been altered, though, as I’ve been experiencing a new awareness of my eyes being bigger than my stomach, and meals that I previously could have downed without flinching now leave me feeling sick.

One of the more peculiar side effects was that the bar for lunch just wasn’t cutting it, and I found myself craving something by mid-afternoon.  I ended up doing something I’d never been inclined to do before: I made a salad!

I just went to the supermarket and picked up some vegetables that made sense to me: romaine lettuce (I’ve eaten iceberg all my life!), radishes, red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, a red pepper, some leftover provolone cheese I was amazed was still good, and drizzled a little olive oil on there for good measure (not much, I learned from my cooking days that a little olive oil goes a long way.)  It worked surprisingly well!  I mean, a made a small tub of this salad and shoved it in the fridge to eat from for the remainder of the week, so it wasn’t exactly fresh towards the end (but neither was it spoiled, you vegetable snobs.)  I probably had too much in that salad, though.

Once that one was done, I decided to try something along the lines of the Greek salads I’d seen around and got some baby spinach, low fat feta cheese, canned artichoke hearts, and carrots.  Sadly, I didn’t have a peeler or a grater so I just had to chop up the carrots.

That salad is nearing its end, and today I went shopping again.  This time I picked up kale, avocado, and tempeh.

I think I have a problem.  But I’m not sure which it is: that I’m actually enjoying a variety of salads (I mean, I own an “Everything Tastes Better with Bacon!” shirt) or that I’m running out of ideas for salads?