Malice Aforethought

“Oh Aunt Millie, I really do appreciate your hospitality, and I genuinely wish I could stay longer with you and Uncle Harry,” Beth said, “but my wanderlust is kicking in and just can’t vanquish that need. Nor do I want to.”

“Well, dear, it’s in your nature,” Aunt Millie said. “I really wish Harry and I could persuade you stay with us, but I trust your judgment. If you think it’s time for you to move on, then, by all means, do so. Although I will say that I’m green with envy. Harry and I always wanted to be able to travel, but now that he’s wheelchair bound, it’s just not possible.”

“You know that if I could, Aunt Millie, I would try to cast some sort of spell to ameliorate Uncle Harry’s disability,” Beth said, “but that’s just not something I have the power to do.”

“I know, sweetheart,” Aunt Millie said, hugging her niece. “You’ve always been a good witch, unlike several of your cousins. That vindictive witch, Beatrice, is the one who laid Harry up. She is very powerful and, unlike you, she uses her powers for malevolent purposes. It’s always the evil ones who have the greatest powers and who use them for malicious ends.”

“I promise to hone my skills while I’m away,” Beth said, “and I will come back someday soon once I have found a means to reverse Beatrice’s curse, so that you and Uncle Harry will be able to travel if that’s what you want to do.”

“I know, dear, that you will do everything you can to help,” Aunt Millie said.FABE4D8B-F769-4B8A-8EEC-39763040E994“But it’s almost midnight and the moon is full, so you’d best get on your broom and fly off.”

“Thank you, Aunt Millie,” Beth said, grabbing the broom’s handle. “Just remember to keep on cackling while I’m away.”

Written for these daily prompts: Word of the Day Challenge (longer), Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (wanderlust), Ragtag Daily Prompt (vanquish), The Daily Spur (judgment), Jibber Jabber (green), and Your Daily Word Prompt (ameliorate).

The Monday Peeve — Heatwave

TMPWith her Monday Peeve, Paula Light gives us an opportunity every Monday to vent about something — anything, big or small — that is bothering us. So, today I’m going to vent about the weather.

When we lived in San Francisco, I rarely complained about the weather because, well, the weather was close to perfect. It almost never got above 80º in the summer or below freezing in the winter. On those rare days when temperatures did get hot (and in San Francisco, anything above 75 is considered “hot”) the humidity was still relatively low, so it wasn’t that uncomfortable. Our San Francisco home didn’t have air conditioning. Just a few ceiling fans to keep the air circulating. And when it got “cold” in the winter, it never got cold enough to snow or to even frost over.

But now I live on the East Bay, about 35 miles east of San Francisco. And we are experiencing our fourth straight day of 100+ degree temperatures. On Friday it reached 108. Saturday, 106. Yesterday, 105. And today’s forecast calls for 102.

Are you fucking kidding me? It’s so hot outside that I can’t walk our dog on the street because the pavement is so hot it burns the bottoms of her paws. And I just got a notice on my newsfeed that “rolling blackouts, possibly for millions of people in the Bay Area, are likely in store for Monday and Tuesday as a power shortage exists during this extreme heatwave.”

If there is power outage and my home’s air conditioning shuts down, I, well, I don’t know what I’ll do.

Hmm. Monkey see, monkey do?60B26E21-ABE1-4BA0-8654-C57BC8AB7968

Share Your World — Harry Potter and the SYW Prompt

Share Your WorldAs she did in last week’s edition, Melanie is sharing her Share Your World prompt with Roger Shipp. Roger’s contribution to Share Your World this week is centered around another Harry Potter movie. This week’s movie is “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

As I mentioned last week, I only read one Harry Potter book and only saw one Harry Potter movie. Thus, as a “non-Harry Potter fan,” I was going to skip Roger’s Harry Potter-related questions. However, I think his questions are broad enough that I will take a shot at answering them because they don’t require knowing anything about Harry Potter to answer them.

If you were able to have conversations with any one animal, what animal would you like to speak with and what would be the topic of your first conversation?

There are two animals I’d want to speak with. My dog and my cat. My dog is old (14 3/4) and I’d ask her how she’s feeling. I’d want to know if she’s in pain. If she’s happy. If she’s doing okay.

The conversation I’d have with my cat (who is 12) is simply “WTF, cat?” I will never understand why my cat can be acting like my best friend, tenderly rubbing up against me and contentedly purring one minute, and then, an instant later, can be biting me and swiping at me with his razor sharp claws (drawing blood, I might add) as if I’m his worst enemy. “WTF, cat?”

If your graduation picture could speak to people passing it by, what would it tell them?

Are You Talking to Me

If you could transform into another being, who you would you choose to be? What would you hope to learn?

I would transform into my dog and my cat, so I could learn the answers to the questions I asked in my first answer.

What has been the most dangerous (or comical) ‘flooding’ where you reside?

Neither my wife nor I thought it was either particularly dangerous or comical at the time, but I was away on business a number of years back when we were living in New Jersey, and my wife called me up at my hotel room and she was frantic because there had been a big rainstorm and our basement’s sump pump failed. Our basement got flooded with about six inches of water and it doused the pilot light on our water heater. Trying to explain to my wife how, once the water receded enough, to reignite the water heater’s pilot light was, to me, many miles away, rather difficult. She finally did, following my over-the-phone instructions, reignite the pilot light, but she failed to see the humor in the situation. Fortunately, we can both laugh about it now.

And now for Melanie’s non-Harry Potter inspired questions.

How do you think you’ll die? If you do think about it?

Even as a septuagenarian, knowing that most of my life is behind me, I don’t give dying much thought. But I suppose, when it comes time for me to die, I hope it will be at night while I’m in my bed asleep. I will just, one day, fail to wake up.

What’s the best on-line screen name you’ve seen? “Best” might mean the oddest.

I’m actually kind of partial to Fandango.

What’s invisible that you wish people could see?

My answer may offend some, but it’s God. As an atheist, I don’t believe that this “invisible” entity exists. I think that we humans, in our effort to find answers to unanswerable questions, created this God. If people could see that God is not just invisible but non-existent, I think the world would be a better place, since no one would have to die, be persecuted, or go to war because they don’t believe in the same god the same way that someone else does. And if, by some miracle, this invisible God would make itself visible, well that would prove that atheists like me are wrong and I’d jump on God’s bandwagon. All it would take is for the all-powerful Oz God to make itself visible.

If over time you replace parts on a car, at what point does it stop being the same car you bought? How many parts do you need to replace to make it a new car?

I think my car would always be the same car that I bought, no matter how many parts were replaced. Consider this. If people have knee replacements, or hip replacements, or heart valve replacements, or other prosthetic devices implanted on or in their bodies, aren’t they still the same people they always were?

Blogging Insights — Big Tipper

Blogging insightsFor this week installment of Blogging Insights, Dr. Tanya noted that she has discovered some useful tip or technique from other bloggers and said to herself, “If only I had known this when starting out!”

So, to that end, Dr. Tanya wants us to share…

3 Tips For New Bloggers

This is a bit of a challenge, since each blogger had his or her own reasons for starting a blog and has their own goals and objectives, so I’m not sure I can come up with three universal tips. That said….

1. Write about what interests you, because if you’re not interested in what you write, others probably won’t be either.

2. Proofread carefully before publishing. We all make mistakes or have typos in our posts because behind every blog is a human being and none of us is perfect. But make an effort to try and catch errors, whether in spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, or syntax. No matter what you’re writing about, if there are a lot of those kinds of errors, people are not going to be bothered reading your posts. And by people, I mean me.

3. Be patient. If you’re a new blogger, it may take some time for people to discover your blog. So if you don’t get a whole lot of views, likes, comments, or followers in the early days of your blog, don’t get disheartened. One of the best ways for your blog to start getting noticed is to interact with other bloggers. Read their posts and comment on them. Not perfunctory comments like “nice post” or “good job,” but substantive comments that show that you really did read the post. What did you like about it? Why did you enjoy it? If you comment on someone else’s post, they are more likely to visit your blog.

Fandango’s Dog Days of August #17

Fandango’s Dog Days of AugustDo you need a muse to get your creative juices flowing during these hot, sultry days of August? Try a dose of Fandango’s Dog Days of August prompt.

At 6:00 am Pacific time each day this month, I will be posting a new theme. Today’s theme is “music.” You can talk about the kind of music you like to listen to or music you like to play. What genre of music do you prefer? Do you play an instrument? If so, which instrument?  Share a story, a poem, a photo, a drawing, some music, or whatever you wish to share about music.

If you wish to participate, please write your post, use the tag #FDDA, and create a pingback to this post or manually add your link in the comments.

And, of course, take some time to read the other responses to this prompt. See how other bloggers are coping with the dog days of August.