Friday, August 31, 2018


I love wind chimes. The sound of them stirs up weird sense memories from my childhood I think. We bought this really cool wind chime when we were in San Diego a few years ago. It was made of shells. It doesn't make much of a tinkling sound...just a sort of clacking noise, so no sense memories, but it's really neat looking.

Hopefully, you can see it well enough in that picture. The background, no matter which way I turned, was just too busy and bright. Sorry.

Anyway, I've noticed recently that there's all these flying bugs circling around the thing. I couldn't figure out why, but yesterday I looked closer, and I see a sort of grayish mud down inside some of the cone-shaped shells. I realized that these flying bugs...kinds of wasps, I think...are building their nests inside the shells in my wind chime!

What do I do? I'm afraid to touch it, in case I might get swarmed. I don't want to throw it away though, it's too cool. So, should I just spray it down with raid or what?

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Unusual Reward

While several members of my family were out of town taking my oldest son to college, my fourteen-year-old daughter was solely in charge of taking care of the six-year-old with no help from anyone else. Since she'd performed well, she sent me a text asking for me to pick up a reward for her. Here's the text (her messages are grey, mine are green):

Are you as confused as I was? Doesn't make a lot of sense to get white out and put it in the fridge, does it? Well, we kept talking, because I figured somehow my daughter was making a joke.

Okay, so what is this joke she's making? She wants to drink white out? It's yummy? Silly joke right? Unless...

I finally figured it out...but I kept playing around with her a little more. Now I could see what was going on, but she still didn't understand, so I spelled it out.

You see, my daughter was talking about a completely different white out. It's sad that I didn't understand what she was talking about right away, because I was the one who introduced her to white out a few weeks ago. You see, white out is a variant flavor of Mountain Dew.

Before I was diagnosed as a diabetic and had to quit sugar sodas altogether, I was a big fan of the various Mountain Dew variants. White Out was possibly my favorite of all, and my daughter, who also loved Mountain Dew varieties, had never tried it before, so I got her one. She liked it, and now wanted it as her reward. I thought the confusion was pretty funny. The next morning, she texted me from school and said:

I texted this back, just to annoy her a little further:

Sadly, I'll probably have to wean her off the stuff so she doesn't wind up diabetic like me someday. Maybe next time I'll just bring home real white they still make that stuff?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hard Rock?

When I was about eighteen years old and about to move away to college, my dad decided to do one last big vacation with myself and the rest of the family. We went to Florida along with several other states in the southeastern U.S. As part of that trip, we wound up at the Hard Rock Café in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My mom was not down with the atmosphere of the Hard Rock at the time. Sitting in a big room with bands like Everclear, Green Day, The Toadies, and Soundgarden blaring at a very loud level was the last thing she wanted to do. I was right at the age where I couldn't imagine anything better than doing that, and I just couldn't understand that joyless state that my mom found herself in. I laughed a great deal when I saw that she had taken her napkin, wadded it up into two little balls, and used it to plug her ears with so that she could withstand the atmosphere of the place.

Now, twenty-five years later, my own son is about eighteen years old and about to move away to college. I've gone on several mini-vacations with him over the last few months. They've been short weekend jaunts, but I'm doing the same thing that my dad did, trying to make some last few memories with my son while I still can.

On one of these trips this past weekend, my son decided that we should have lunch at the nearby Hard Rock Café. It's funny, because I haven't been there since that day years ago. Here's a picture of me with Roy Orbison's guitar.

Sitting at the table, the atmosphere was similar to what it was twenty-five years ago. Music was blaring at top volume. However, Everclear, Green Day, and Soundgarden were nowhere to be found. Not even The Toadies made an appearance. I wanted to point out to the waitress that brought us our overpriced burgers that they needed to change the name of this place, because there was no hard rock or hell, even soft rock, going on here. Instead, we suffered through dance songs with repetitive thumping beats that used to be reserved for remixes of pop music songs that only played in dance clubs where people were dancing and wanted a beat to dance to. Stuff like the Rihanna song that made me look around for the waitress so that I could say, "Check please!"

Here we were, all these years later, and the circle was complete. I was my mom, wanting to stuff the wadded up napkins in my ears to save myself the discomfort of suffering through the popular music of the kids these days. The best thing about it all is that I at least did my job as a parent, because my son didn't like the stuff like that Rihanna song that they played anymore than I did. So, at least I did my job there.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

No So Good

I was at Torchy's Tacos this past weekend, and they have this slogan that their tacos are "damn good". They sell shirts with little cherubic demons flying around the slogan at the register.

They have the slogan all over the place, including picked out in big light bulbs on the wall. While I was eating, I thought that this would be a perfect thing that I could update my profile picture with. It would be like that time when Rish had a picture like this:

And I had a picture like this:

It could be a new one in the series. So, I turned on the selfie cam on my phone, which I rarely use because I'm not a millennial, and tried to frame up a shot. It would be obvious to most that I rarely use the camera like this, because I stood there for way, way too long trying to get the words right above my head. At last I figured I had it and took this shot:

I guess it might be ironic...though I can't be sure, because Alannis ruined that concept in my brain...but I guess I'm definitely not damn good.

But damn that goo!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


I took my son who is about to move off to college with me this weekend to the Johnson Space Center in an attempt to hurry up and make some memories that will make him remember me fondly instead of how he will probably remember me.

While we were there, we were looking at the space shuttle exhibit.

And I noticed this picture of the astronauts lost in the Challenger explosion from sixth grade.

If you notice the text next to the picture, when it talks about Christa McAuliffe it says that she would have been the first teacher in space. For some reason that line stirred up the curmudgeon in me, and I couldn't help but say, "really? We're really going to go that far with the qualifiers?"

With space travel, there's bound to be a lot of firsts. Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space, but then there was Alan Shepard the first American in space. Then we further qualify it with Valentina Tereshkova's trip to space as the first woman in space. Furthermore there was Sally Ride who was the first American woman in space. And on and on it goes. We get Christa McAuliffe who, certainly I'm not going to deny her bravery or pioneering spirit, but saying that she's the first teacher in space is kind of ridiculous, right?

How far does it go? If Lance Bass ever gets to space, will he be the "first former member of 'N Sync in space"? Or if I one day get there, will I be "the first overweight California native Scorpio living in Texas with four kids in space"? You gotta give it a rest eventually.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Oldschool Tech

I was looking through some boxes today, and I came across some old stuff. My kids couldn't remember ever having come in contact with these things before. They'd never actually touched them with their hands, though they have seen them on the wall behind glass...

I told them they were very old analog smart phones. The good thing is that their battery lasts a very long time, and they're really slim in their design. The problem is that their memory is pretty low. They can only handle one jpeg per smart phone, so you have to buy a lot of them. Luckily, they were much more affordable than the new smart phones they have these days.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Kids Eat WHAT Free?

Saw this ad on the table at the barbecue joint we ate at today. Kids eat free!

But when I looked at the fine print, I saw that it said that the promotion excludes alcohol and kids menu items. Wait, what? Did I read that correctly? Did they feel it was necessary to tell us that we can't get free alcohol for the kids? And how do you exclude kids menu items from the promotion for kids eating free? And...alcohol? Really?

On second look, I think what they're trying to say is that you have to spend ten dollars to get a free kids meal, but you can't buy alcohol or kids meals to get to the ten dollar amount. You have to buy an adult meal that costs ten least that's what I think they mean, but maybe I was right in the first place, and they're trying to keep people from hoping to get free booze by saying its for their, no, no, not for me! The little guy's gonna drink it. I'll put it in his bottle.

Hanging With Clay

It's always neat to meet someone in the flesh that I'd only known by way of the podcast before. Clay Dugger was one of our early adopting fans. He's done voices for us, been a first reader for our slushpile, edited stories for us, and even written stories for us...and probably more besides that.

He lives in Texas, but not in Houston, and even though I've been here a year, today was the first chance we got to meet in real life because he was here in town for a scrapbooking convention with his wife.

He introduced me to The Waffle House, which seems to be a pretty popular restaurant around these parts, though Clay bemoans the fact that there aren't more of them near his house. I think they're more plentiful in east Texas than they are in West Texas. It's good food, but I don't think I can eat it too often if I want to keep making headway on leaving my fatness behind.

Thanks for a good time, Clay. Y'all come again, ya hear?

This experience makes me wonder, would folks be interested in meeting Big Anklevich at some kind of convention or something? Are there fans in Texas that would show up? I'm guessing that there might be one more other than Clay, maybe two, but probably not more than that. But if there are some out there, comment and let me know. Maybe we could get together somehow. I think I missed my chance to go to ArmadilloCon, which somebody suggested to me, but there's gotta be others, right?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Refrigerator Magnets

I don't know why I post stuff like this, but it made me chuckle.

Apparently, my kids didn't like looking at the broken metal Whirlpool logo on our fridge, so they fixed it with our magnet letters.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Toys 3

I gotta stop going places that include toys for sale, because they keep getting me. Today I was out with my son at Walmart, and he wanted to look at the toys. He got himself some little Pokemon thing that didn't interest me in the slightest, but while I was there, I noticed that they had a Grimlock Transformer for sale. I probably shouldn't have got it, but I did anyway.

I brought it home, and put it on my shelf. I don't really have enough room for all my toys on my shelf anymore, because I've bought too many. So, I had to remove a Jetfire Transformer that I'd recently bought to put Grimlock in its place.

I always keep my Transformers in robot mode, because I like them better that way. Otherwise, they could just be any old car or plane toy, right? However, with Grimlock I thought I might actually leave him transformed into the dinosaur mode, because that generally looks pretty cool.

But after I tried it, I was unimpressed. It didn't look all that cool after all. I transformed it back. Then, as I was about to go put Jetfire into my big tub full of my excess toys, I realized that I could adjust the books on the shelf around a little to make enough room that they could both be there. They were both Autobots, right?

I checked with Rish, my resident Transformers expert, as to whether this looked good. I remembered Jetfire being a really big Transformer back in the day, like bigger than Optimus Prime big. But then again, wasn't Grimlock supposed to be big? He was always the biggest of the Dinobots, despite the fact that they had a frigging Brontosaurus! In the end, I decided that I didn't care if their relative sizes might be a little off.

Then I remembered that I had one more Transformer in my toy tub just gathering dust, waiting for an opportunity to fit perfectly into a display like this one. I pulled out my tiny little Bumblebee, and placed it on there, and I think it looks perfect.

What happened to my blog? It's turned into a parade of photos of the toys on my bookshelves. I'm going to have to come up with something new to put on here. Maybe I should start posting writing memes again...maybe I should start writing again...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Acceptable Toys

For years, I'd dreamed of having a study with floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with my book collection, but also prominently displaying my toy collection as well. My dad had a similar study when I was growing up, only there were, of course, no toys on the shelves. Instead it had respectable things like photo frames and a pair of bronzed baby shoes that all his children once wore, that kind of thing.

Since I always come last in our family, I went a very long time without having anything resembling this study. I had some false starts, where I managed to get one single bookshelf with a few toys and some books on it. But it never lasted long before the room was needed as a bedroom for one of the kids or the bookshelf was needed for storage of excess cans of tomato paste in the basement or something like that.

Eventually, however, there came a day back in 2013 when we moved into a house big enough that the kids all had rooms, and there was still a room leftover that I could turn into my long imagined study. I was surprised that my wife allowed it, because she has never been fond of the concept. But I guess she does in fact love me. How bout that?

I called it Dunesteef HQ (because I imagined that we would actually record all our podcasts there. This was instead the era that we began recording everything while sitting in a parked car in the Kohl's parking lot, so that never happened and made it a complete misnomer), and set up my floor to ceiling bookshelves. Yeehaw!

I've managed to keep that study ever since. When we moved to a new house in Texas, my study got even bigger, and I was able to add more toys to it.

My wife allows it, but she admits also that she hates it. It goes against everything that she considers to be proper design. She has a hard time keeping her paws off of it too. One time when I was at work, and she had the day off she went in to "clean up" my study, and in the process rearranged the furniture, added a rug, and put a bunch of barn wood picture frames on the wall.

I get on her case every time she tries to pull that kind of stuff, and now she has decided that her best strategy for dealing with the monstrosity of design that is my study is to just stay out of there, to never go in and have to look at it.

Which makes it all the more ironic when my wife started to get into the new trend of fairy gardens.

So, ironic that even Alannis could understand it...or maybe not ironic at all...I don't know...

What is a fairy garden you ask? Well, it's as the blog post title says. It's acceptable toys. Toys that are okay for females to be into. In craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's and at nurseries where you buy your plants as well, there are tiny cute little figurines of fairies and dwarfs and houses and benches and fences and stuff to go with them. If you search on Pinterest (or Google for those of us who refuse to ever bother to open a Pinterest account) you'll find countless examples of fairy gardens. Here's a couple:

I'd like to revel in the rubbing in the fact that my wife loves little toys for girls, and uses the same awful sense of design as her design challenged husband and everything, but in the end, I think these things are awesome. I've always thought things like this were cool. For example, when I was a teenager (A TEENAGER!) I went to Disneyland with my family, and I was probably the only person in the entire park that thought the ride...if you can call it a ride...called the Storybook Canal boats was awesome.

Why did I think it was awesome? Because you floated around through all these miniature representations of places from books and Disney movies.

Everyone else was so bored that they were asleep by the time we reached the end of the ride. There was even one person who took his own life because that was preferable to enduring more endless boredom of looking at miniature representations of places from books.

Then there was me thinking, "Wow, this is awesome. I'd love to make something like that. I wonder if they sculpted it out of clay or what?"

Oh, sorry, I believe everyone reading this blog just fell asleep because they were so bored. Let me get to the point, I guess. It turns out that if my wife had ever been able to get from the farthest reaches of Canada down to Disneyland she might have liked the ride too.

Earlier this past fall, she made her first attempt at a fairy garden. She made a waterfall and a pond in a little portion of our backyard, and included a fairy house right nearby.

It turned out cute, I thought, but it had some problems, not with the fairy garden itself, but with the waterfall and pond. They just weren't in there right. The water was leaking out of the waterfall and emptying the pond. It was a disaster for those poor fairies living in its vicinity. Eventually, FEMA came in and moved the fairies out to a fairy trailer on the front porch, and we tore the whole pond and waterfall out and started re-working it.

But my wife wasn't daunted. Yes the waterfall and pond thing wasn't working out, but she had other fairy garden ideas. While trying to fix up the original, she also put together this fairy garden:

This garden had its problems too. Every time it rained, the thing would take a pounding because my wife had located it in a corner of the house where a waterfall would fall from the roof with each storm. It had to be relocated (and then refurbished, because the rain waterfalls had thrashed it good), but now it's good.

In an attempt to be like my wife...or probably more like I just felt left out because I wanted to participate too...I insisted on adding a plant of my own to the display. I got these two little bamboo plants from Ikea the other day, and planted them in the backyard of the fairy house.

My wife doesn't like them. She says they're too big, and make the fairy garden Eventually, she'll probably remove them, I bet, and I won't even be able to blame her. After all, I won't let her add things to my study, and eventually I'm going to remove all of her additions too. You gotta protect your space, you know.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Episode 199: Return To Waypoint 5 by Josh Roseman

I've always only posted Anklecasts on this blog, but I was thinking today that I probably ought to post about all the episodes of anything Dunesteef related on here in the off chance that one of the three people who come here didn't know there was a new episode available or something. Besides, this is our tenth anniversary episode. So...

Kage Gray hasn’t been back to Waypoint 5 in 12 cycles as the T’Tin reckon things. He never meant to come back again at all, but he’s got a problem that needs to be solved. What’s worse, Waypoint 5 has only gotten worse since he left. Now there’s an Iniquity operating onboard, and he’s going to have to go inside…

Afterward, Big and Rish talk about the long and winding road that this story traveled toward its final appearance on the show, and just how patient Mr. Roseman has been in awaiting that day.

Special super duper thanks to Justin Charles for producing the story and also to Bria Burton, Tena Kolokowski, Chris White, Gino Moretto, Cameron Howard, Bill Bowman, Leo Godin, John Higham for lending their voices to this episode.

Alright, if you want to check out this episode, go listen to it on the main Dunesteef podcast feed, or you can follow this link to the page on

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

It's Got What Plants Crave

Got this ad on the side of my browser today, and all I could think was that Dr. Pepper must have electrolytes, because it's got what plants crave.

I wonder if their ad team realizes the association they are bringing up? Maybe they don't care, but I can't hear the word crave associated with a drink anymore without thinking that only someone stupid would drink it now that I finally saw Idiocracy.