Today It Was Plumbing

Today it was plumbing.

Our water has been off since the big freeze, and when Christopher, my son-in-law, replaced the cracked filter housing under the home yesterday, I discovered this plastic nut behind the tub had split, spraying water back there. So we went without water another day until I could get to the hardware store & try to find something to replace that elbow.

The guys at both hardware stores weren’t much help in this case. After pointing out the plumbing section, they had no clue as to what to do. But when I spotted this copper to PVC connector, *click*, the PVC to PVC connector on a line under the floor came to mind, and here we go, fixed.

I post these little repairs, things normally outside my bailiwick, not so much to say, “Look what I can do!” But instead because each reminds me of the time and love people have poured into teaching me things.

As a kid, I was often told, “You’re smart, but you have no common sense.”

But tightening that copper elbow, I heard the voice of my departed stepfather saying, “You’ll probably want to twist it one more time around. Hmm, another. Okay, it can probably go another, just to make sure it’s sealed. I know you worry that you’ll end up with it too tight to get it turned back to the bottom, but if so, you can always take it off and try again.” This is the guy who taught me simple things like not to block my own light. And something about auto and small appliance repair.

Then there’s my son-in-law, who introduced me to the quick connectors in the first place. While hacksawing the old elbow off, and then trimming it even with a knife, I could imagine him saying, “Hey, there’s something inside that pipe that you should probably fish out.” (It was an interior piece of the old connector.) But mainly, “You’ve got this, Dad.”

And my daughter, Christine, who’s the real plumber, and who’s can-do attitude rubs off. I’m not too proud to be instructed by my own children.

So there you go. the elbow’s fixed. There’s a simple satisfaction in restoring water for my family. That Jennifer is proud of “her man” feels good, too.

But mainly I’m just thankful for those teachers. For everyone who ever taught me anything. You’ve turned a kid with no common sense into a fairly commonsensical one. You’ve set me up to succeed. And investing that time and patience into me is the very definition of love.

Thank you. I’ll try to pass it on.

“Make 100” 2023 – Limited Edition Bookmarks

As you’ll see in the sidebar, I’ve launched a Kickstarter project to make a limited-edition set of Bookmark HP RPG bookmarks, hole-punched for a ribbon or chain. At the moment, it’s been live for about 10 hours and is 71% funded, with 53 of the 100 sets pledged.

As with most things nowadays, I launched it on a whim. Which I have to admit is a refreshing situation after all the years of killer deadlines. Focal seizure management now means going with the flow, chasing squirrels, being able to drop things to help with work around the farm.

Our House on Rupert Court, and Other Horrors,
on DriveThruRPG
“Make 100” is an annual Kickstarter promotion in January, and I barely got this project in under the wire, not having planned one at all. But in the afterglow of having recently completed a D13 RPG adventure anthology, I found myself mulling promotional “Make 100” emails that have come in over the month. These short little KS projects are low-stress and fun, another opportunity to interact with the tabletop hobby community from out here in the boonies. It’s how the premium edition of the original D13 RPG came about, for example.

Speaking of that D13 adventure anthology, it’s a collection of three unforgiving 10-page adventures: “Our House on Rupert Court,” in a 1950’s suburban community; “Ice Road Terror,” involving the early history of the Canadian Ice Road phenomenon; and “Ghan in the Night,” a luxury train trip through the Australian Outback.

Next up, a sword and sorcery sourcebookmark for the BNHP line, in time for Gary Con. Followed by a space opera setting, and then a mini-deck of 21 adventure cards for all the BNHP settings.

That’s a summation of the first few months’ plan for 2023. I’m having fun. Here’s hoping you are too!

Peppermint Has a Bite!

Peppermint movie poster

We all know the old trope: “When bad guys killed his family, he set out for revenge!”

Except in this case the “he” is “she”; Jennifer Garner plays the lead; and the plot is more multifaceted than you might expect.

Don’t get me wrong. This is absolutely a formulaic, violent, bloody shoot-em-up. But I enjoyed every minute.

Garner’s presence, in this plot, puts Stallone to shame. Only Jason Statham or Matt Damon could have played the role as engagingly. Maybe Liam Neeson. (Note that the director did Taken.) Possibly Eastwood or Bronson in their prime—assuming their script was this well written.

Time for me to go looking for more Garner films in this vein.

A Hope of Çatalhöyük

Photo of the excavation of Çatalhöyük, humankind's first city.
“Çatalhöyük after the first excavations.” Photo by Omar hoftun CC BY-SA 3.0

For the past many weeks, I’ve been mulling how simply living our daily lives promotes peace as a counter to war. Especially in this interconnected Information Age.

Though Consumerism can be deadly if we let it run away with us, at its basic level the simple act of buying food, enjoying a movie, traveling to visit friends or as tourists, going to work, and so on are acts of civilization, making the destruction of warfare less and less tolerable.

I’m no Pollyanna. I’m fully aware of how much Consumerism actually drives conflict over natural resources, and the killing that results.

But I also see how, for example, Putin’s war on Ukraine has punished Russia, galvanizing the West, prompting the EU to wean itself from fossil fuels, and how much we as citizens identify with the Ukrainian people.

War is increasingly distasteful to civilization.

That very fact that we are at last beginning to acknowledge PTSD in our veterans, compared to a century or two ago, even a generation ago, is another evidence. Such things begin to affect how we as a public make decisions, not the least of which is how we vote.

Again, I’m no Pollyanna. The progress of civilization is dreadfully, agonizingly slow. We humans didn’t even begin it until Çatalhöyük nearly 9,000 years ago. And it has taken these millennia to reach even a glimpse of “global village,” let alone the hope of beating our swords into plowshares.

But we do progress. And I’m thinking simple day-to-day life is perhaps the most impactful act of peace.

At least that is my hope.