Feb 8 2014

Krampus comes back from college for Christmas

“Ma, I’m home!”

“I’m in the kitchen, Krampus! Come give your mom a hug.”

“Maaaaa!”

“You know the rules, Krampus–no hugs, no dinner.”

Krampus lumbered into the kitchen, dumped his bags on the floor, and limply hugged his mother.

“Hey, ma, I brought a friend home from college. This is Nick. Nick, this is my ma, Hel.”

A young man with a cherubic face, wispy beard and a bright red coat stepped forward.

“How do you do, Mrs. Hel?” he asked sweetly. “I brought you some taffy.”

“Oh, don’t you have nice manners?” she asked, giving a sidelong glance at her son. “Now sit down, you two. I’ve been cooking all day. I hope you like goat, Nicholas.”

“That would be great,” he said with a wink.

Hel soon filled the table with roast goat, potatoes, cabbage,  and lutefisk.

“I suppose you would like some mead, Nicholas?” Hel asked.

“Actually I would love some milk if you have it, Mrs. Hel,” Nick smiled.

Hel looked at him quizzically, then turned to pull a crock of goat milk out of the cooler.

After the drinks were served the two young men tore into dinner like they were starving, much to the matriarch’s approval.

“Surely you’re not done, Nicholas?”

Hel looked sadly at his empty plate, then at him.

“Oh, I couldn’t,” Nick started.

“Young boys need to eat,” Hel stated emphatically.

“If you insist,” Nick said with a twinkle and helped himself to another plate, and then another.

“That was the best dinner ever, Mrs. Hel. Thank you.”

“Oh, you!” she gushed as she swept away the dishes into the kitchen.

Krampus gave him a look that suggested maybe he was laying it on a bit thick, but Nick simply patted his very full belly and smiled his big, rosy-cheeked smile.

Hel re-entered the dining room with a huge pie still warm from the oven.

“Sorry it took me so long, Nicholas. These old dead feet aren’t a quick as they used to be.

Nick thought the idiom was quite humorous, though the mention of feet drew his eyes downward. What do you know–her feet really were dead.

“You’ll be having dessert, of course,” Hel stated, not asking.

Nick started to object out of courtesy, looking at Krampus, but then the slice was quickly dished onto his plate. He smiled sweetly at Hel and then beamed smugly at his friend.

“Maybe just a slice,” he said. “Or two.”

After dessert Hel again hauled away the dishes, except for Nick’s dessert plate, still occupied by quickly diminishing survivors of his pie.

“Ma, we’re gonna go upstairs,”

“Not yet, Krampus, we have something to discuss,” she called from the kitchen.

She said ‘discuss’ in that tone women use with men to let them know who will be doing the talking.

“Have you been naughty?” Nick asked cheerily.

“I can’t think of anything…she would have heard of,” Krampus whispered back.

Krampus began to sweat, wracking his brain for what have gotten back to his mom.

After several eternities Hel returned to the table with a piece of parchment.

” I received this letter from the dean,” Krampus’s mother started.

“Look ma, whatever he says–”

“Shut it, young man. He says that you have been caught scaring children, smacking them in the face with that tongue of yours,”

“Wait, Ma, I can explain–”

“Picking them up by their ears–”

“Ma–”

“Furthermore he says that you were observed even beating children–small children–with sticks.”

Here she paused, and looked him straight in the eye.

“Krampus,”

“Ma–”

“Krampus, I am so proud of you!”

“Wait–whut?”

“Krampus, I didn’t know if you would ever be ready to take over the family business! I am so proud of you,” she gushed, holding his wooly cheeks in her hands.

Krampus wiped the sweat from his forehead and breathed an audible sigh of relief.

“Well, you really have Nick to thank. He’s the one who got me in on the racket.”

“What?” asked Hel ecstatically, then she reached over and hugged Nick and kissed him on the cheek. Nick blushed happily to the tips of his ears. Krampus looked like he might be sick.

“So what is this ‘racket?’ Tell me all about it!”

“Krampus and I are partners in holiday retail,” Nick began.

“Yeah, ma, it’s like we’re two sides of the same coin. Nick rewards kids for being good, and I punish kids for being bad. The sticks–those were Nick’s idea, but the tongue–that’s all me!”

The smile faded from Hel’s face. She looked at him quizzically.

“So…the point of this is….”

“So children will be good, of course,” said Nick, smiling happily.

“So…you’re not just terrorizing children with sticks…just because? You want them to be….”

“Good,” Krampus started. “Yeah, isn’t it wild?”

Hel’s demeanor became overcast, the storm quickly gathering.

NO, Krampus! What do you think? I’m the freaking queen of the dishonored undead, and you’re trying to get children to be good?!

Krampus could hear the italics in her voice, and that was never good. His eyes darted around wildly, clueless to how things could have turned so bad so quickly.

“Do you realize how embarrassing this is? I was supposed to lead my armies against Odin at Ragnarok last year and then things went to pieces! I thought the stupid Mayans had miscalculated, or that Helheim wasn’t really recession-proof! But it turns out it was you!

“I thought you were happy that I was smacking the little buggers around!”

“It’s your motive, Krampus! How am I to lead an army of the dishonored dead if you keep trying to reform them before they grow up? Your grampa Loki–”

“Aw, ma, not grampa Loki again,” Krampus began, rolling his eyes.

“Your grampa Loki tricked a blind guy into killing everyone’s best friend with a flipping twig! And do you know why he did it?”

“Ma–”

“For no other reason than He. Thought. It. Was. Funny!”

Nick started eyeing the door, looking to make a break for it.

Krampus’s  fingers clenched nervously, his lips bunched themselves trying to stay shut, but the words came boiling out anyway.

“Well, I don’t want to end up chained to a rock ’til the end of time!”

Hel got up silently and stalked off into the other room.

For half a minute neither of the freshmen spoke.

“Loki is your grandfather?” Nick asked incredulously.

“Yeah, kind of. Man, I don’t know how that could have gone worse,” sighed Krampus

There was a sudden jangling and before he knew it Hel had come up behind him and clapped his wrists in manacles.

“Come on, Krampus, we’re going to visit your grandparents!”

Nick looked at Krampus, pointed at the exit, and shot through the door like a rocket.

Krampus didn’t need any further encouragement.

“Ma! No! She’s not even my real gramma anyway! I’m out of here!”

“THEN GET OUT!”

“I’M NOT COMING BACK!”

Krampus ran out the door to his friend’s sleigh, there was a crack of leather, the jingle of bells, and they headed off into the sky.

Hel screamed into the night sky.

“WELL GOOD LUCK GETTING OUT OF THOSE CHAINS! GUESS WHOSE INTESTINES THOSE WERE?!”

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Dec 29 2013

Overheard: 9 yr old girl 4 days before Christmas

“Is it too late to be good?”

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Apr 12 2013

Chreaster

n., one who attends church only on Christmas and Easter, or adj., ‘Chreaster dad,’ via Wes Molebash‘s Insert [IMG].

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Dec 23 2012

Four Years, Baby

It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging for four years now. Too bad I have marked the occasion by only two posts in the entire month. Things have been kind of hectic here, and I started a new project the day after my last post. It’s going to be huge, and I plan to post updates frequently, as kind of a development diary, hopefully to help those that do similar projects.

Merry Christmas to all of you who read my blog, or maybe I should say ‘to both of you.’

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Nov 21 2012

Mammonpalooza

This word was apparently coined by doubled-letter fan Russell Moore. There’s not a lot of context, but it’s one of those words whose meaning is pretty apparent.

Named from the Aramaic word for ‘riches,’ I would sum it up as ‘a celebration of how much can acquired around the date traditionally set aside for the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ.’

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Aug 1 2012

Christmas 2011 Thank Yous

Ran into my friend Logan last summer. He apologized for not having replied to my email–from two years ago. He said he started a reply, but every time he went to send it he ended up revising it and  it is still in his Drafts folder.

It sounded funny at the time, but I now have a blog post that I started December 26 and have never posted, thanking everyone for the gifts that I asked for and/or received for Christmas. The problem was that I started the post in the hospital, then got out, and then got massively sick from what I assume to be a virus I picked up in the hospital.

So here it is. View this as an uncompleted time capsule from Dec 26, 2011:

This year I am endeavoring to do what I should have done every year: spend as much time thanking people for gifts as I did asking for them.

First, as noted on my Christmas list, I really wanted the first two books in Alan Gordon’s Fool’s Guild series of mysteries. Got em! Glad of it too–I spent all of Boxing Day (O Canada!) and part of the next day in the hospital with another bout of A-fib, and I was glad for a good book. So, I thank you, Tom. I’m sure the roommate I didn’t push out the window would thank you as well.

Its not like I just go around pushing hospital roommates out of windows, but I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, either. The guy talk–loudly. He had a hearing aid, but didn’t wear it, and spent the entire visit talking–to his visitors, on the phone, and then when he went to sleep, to himself. But sometimes he didn’t talk, like when he was watching TV. Without his hearing aid.

Anyway, thank you for keeping me entertained and from being a felon.

Speaking of the hospital, I got to wear my sharp new retro Star Wars sleep pants instead of looking like a mental patient, so thank you, The Baby. While we’re on the subject of Star Wars, my brother Nube gave me a sweet Boba Fett shirt. You would think as popular as he is, BF shirts would be easier to find. It was nice to wear it after I doffed my mental patient gown.

Speaking of Nube, he also got me something I have wanted for a while: a 3 pot Crock Pot. The reason was so that I could experiment with my various stews without ruining an entire batch (especially when making Irish Lamb Stew).

Is there anything better than a bag of coffee for Christmas? Yes, yes there is–two bags of coffee. A bag of The Dunks from The Robert, and a bag of Drowsy Poet White Christmas coffee from Jessica. So appropriate, because if you have ever seen a cup of Jess’s coffee, you would know how amazingly white it is.

The Baby also got me Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, which I read quickly, while I was having cabin fever, and it was great.

While I was reading all of these books and wearing all of these clothes, I was eating like a king, as a great number of people made us homemade desserts. The Herberts made us some buckeyes, which are peanut butter and chocolate confections, the Clarks made us cookies–specifically and including gingerbread (the best!), the Spencers made us hard candy, and the aforementioned Robert made us turtles and Russian tea cakes.

Now would be a good time to mention that between July and November I lost twenty pounds. When I went to the ER I found that I had made up for most of the loss.

Tom also also got me some seeds so I can grow some Merciless Peppers of Quetzalacatenango! I can’t eat ’em any more, but I can still dream…(cue sad music).

From Jake the Snake, Heather and I got matching Mickey and Minnie Mouse Mugs, all the easier for when Heather wants to slip me a mickey (ba dum ching!).

My brother Dahoo got me the Dreams of Flight CD I had so long coveted, and it was every bit as awesome as I remembered (even more so, because I don’t have to rewind it).

The Other Bruce got me a router table–now I can set my internet router on it. I don’t know why he thought an electronic appliance the size of a sandwich needed its own large table, but hey, it’s all good. Unless he meant for me to use it with my Porter Cable plunge router…in which case, that is pretty flipping’ awesome. Plus, it was wrapped very nicely, like a life-sized Tin Man.

Coda: For everyone I forgot, I am truly sorry. Like I said, I drafted this while in and recovering from the hospital, and, like you learned in Fellowship of the Ring“…some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.”

 

 

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Feb 15 2012

Valentine’s Leftovers

In my post yesterday I kept trying to find a way to abbreviate ‘Valentine’s Day’ (besides just leaving off the ‘St.’ like everyone else). After all, we abbreviate ‘Christmas’ as ‘Xmas.’ But how would we abbreviate Valentine’s Day?

Expressing it as ‘VD’ just doesn’t sound right for a holiday that celebrates love.

Still, it wouldn’t  make the holiday nearly as trampy as Halloween.

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Feb 14 2012

The St. Valentine’s Day Bitters

You can identify all of the people who wish to be in love but currently are not by their ‘I hate Valentine’s Day’ posts on Facebook, the poor blighters. If they were happily single or just ambivalent, they wouldn’t have anything to say. How many posts have you seen from me on the topic of National Peanut Butter Day (January 24)?

Yeah, I know some of you, both in love and out, see it as a scam cooked up by greeting card manufacturers, but I feel no more compelled to do something I don’t want by Valentine’s Day than I feel constrained from doing something I do want by that whole, ‘forsaking all others’ part of our marriage vows. Heather and I see it as simply an excuse to go buy something nice for each other, which we might normally do anyway. When you celebrate as many days as we do together (first date, first kiss, Hanukkah, Friday, 17 1/2th anniversary, National Peanut Butter Day), Valentine’s is just another opportunity to express being happily married.

It’s funny, and somehow very telling, that the Roman Catholic church has 25 patron saints of unhappy marriages, but only one saint of happy marriages (I’ll let you figure it out).

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Jan 3 2012

Slacking, reading

Yeah, I know: my streak is finally broken. I went for almost five months with updates every 2-3 days, and then just totally fell off the wagon. I’ve had a few things going on (and by a few, Perry, of course I mean a googolplex).

Anyway, I have at least spent some of my time being somewhat productive: I have read three books already since Christmas.

First, I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, a gift from The Baby, and it was just as good as the others in the series

For Christmas I also received the first two books in Alan Gordon’s Fools’ Guild mystery series that I had asked for, thanks to Grampa Tom. I really wanted these books, and it was kind of cool the way I received them: each book was from a different edition, and both were from different editions than the third book that I already owned. See the obvious significance? A jester’s motley is made up of a wide variety of bits of cloth, and my collection of books starring jesters is…

Fine, whatever. Philistines. Anyway, despite the fact I really wanted these, I didn’t plan on reading them as quickly as I did (I finished the first one two days after Christmas, and finished the second the day after New Year’s). But when you get hospitalized because of your stupid A-fib, suddenly you have lots of time to read. I was still in the joint when I finished the first, Thirteenth Night, and started Jester Leaps In shortly after I got out.

For my evening devotions before going to bed I am reading The Man God Uses, by Henry and Tom Blackaby. I’m just a few pages in, but it is good so far.

For months now I have been trying to read The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay–a book about a young woman from Tasmania who gets a job working in a used bookstore in New York City. It started off amazing, but has become a real chore to try to get through. Kind of odd, really, since I started reading it while I was reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes, a history of the founding of Australia (and Tasmania), which also started brilliant, couldn’t put it down, but by the time he got to the chapter on Norfolk Island, I was really just slogging through out of duty.

Anyhoo, I’m not making any apologies or excuses or promises: the fact is, if I don’t have anything to say, I won’t waste my time–or yours–creating a fluff piece that isn’t interesting for me to write or interesting for you to read.

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Dec 5 2011

Christmas Lists

As I worked on this year’s Christmas list, I had to ask myself why I do this; I can’t remember why I started writing a list like this. I think I got in trouble for not providing a list at all, and wrote the 2008 list to be a smart aleck. After that it was entertaining to write, and some people claimed it was entertaining to read.

As I wrote my list this year, I found out that there are some things I don’t really want. I don’t mean to say that I don’t want them at all, as I obviously kind of want them enough to put them on my Amazon wish list. But there were several items I started to add to the list but then realized that I couldn’t make an interesting or meaningful sentence to justify–even to myself–why I wanted them. So they didn’t make the cut.

I mean, what do you say about a book of Alphonse Mucha’s artwork? “I really want to commit suicide, but can’t quite manage to get motivated, what with the wonderful wife and children and nieces and students. If only I had a big book of art by an artist who is better than I will ever be to taunt me with inadequacy to push me over the edge.” Who’s going to buy me a Mucha book after that?

Now, if the book shows up I will know who wants me dead.

There are some things I know people think are a joke. They think my Christmas lists have jumped the shark.

“He doesn’t really love bitter soda that much. He’s just putting things on the list because he knows I’ll never find it.”

They have obviously never tasted Brood. But maybe I did put it on there knowing you will never find it. Same with Dreams of Flight–where the heck will you find it–and at a reasonable price?

I stopped putting black jeans on my list because I was told no-one was going to buy me black jeans–by the person who had once bought me black jeans. Fine.

Anyway, what I realized was that writing things out forces me to really think, instead of just throwing something out. And really, if I ask you for a Christmas list, it’s because I really want to buy you something, preferably something you just can’t live without. One, it will bring you some happiness, or fill a specific need (professional grade network cable crimpers don’t bring happiness per se, besides the quiet happiness of having the right tool for the job does remove the sadness that doing a job with the wrong tools often brings).

But secondly, when you use said gift you will likely think of me–and how awesome I am.

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