For most people in the U.S., April 15 isn’t exactly a fun day. Maybe you’re rushing to file your tax return before the deadline (I went to the post office today – for other reasons – and both customers and employees were surprised there wasn’t a lunchtime rush), or you’ve already filed and you’re wondering when your refund will finally arrive. Or, like me, you’ve already spent the refund and don’t have another one to look forward to until next year.
But for me, it was a reasonably fun day. For one thing, I didn’t have a car. My husband’s car was in the shop, and he had mine so he could substitute teach over in Illinois. So I had to work from home. The computer connection is slower that way (the Java application is atrocious, and it finally just quit, fortunately after I was done using it), but I can wear shorts and a T-shirt, brew my own coffee, and eat a lunch that isn’t easily packed into a bag. Plus I took a nice walk at lunchtime to the post office.
This evening I finished reading a very entertaining book. A lot of books I read are to enrich my mind or my soul, but some are just for the fun of it. Last year I wrote Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians and its sequel, Alcatraz versus the Scriveners Bones. Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia was published last fall, but our local library hasn’t purchased a copy, so I finally got one on loan from another library.
I don’t know if it’s better than the first two, because it’s been a year since I read them, but it’s the most fun book I’ve read in at least a year. I don’t think I can describe what makes it so much fun to read, because another author could try to do what Brandon Sanderson does and make it dumb instead of fun. I’ll just say that it’s got great humor, a good adventure, and what I would call the most unique narrative voice if it were OK to call something “most unique.” Since I can’t even call it very unique, I’ll have to settle for unique. And very fun.
This evening Al asked for something for dessert, and I offered to bake something. Normally I save baking for special occasions, and for when I’ve been asked to bring cookies for the elementary school carnival (last Saturday) or the high school musical (next week). Or a bake sale at work to benefit a co-worker who is being treated for cancer – but I’d forgotten all about that being tomorrow until now, and it’s too late to bake something else.
(Of course, there is that chocolate cake I baked this evening. It has two pieces already taken out, but then I don’t have to take the whole thing, since they’ll be selling individual servings. And anyway, we’re not a big cake family and half the cake sometimes sits around getting stale. Isn’t it nice when things work out so well? [Note on 4/16: I got to work this morning and realized the bake sale is next Friday. So now we have plenty of cake to eat at home. Cake tastes best with ice cream, so I bought some.])
Anyway, since I normally bake cakes only for special occasions, and I didn’t really want to bake a cake to celebrate paying taxes, Al suggested that we celebrate Random Occasion Day. (My apologies to Random Name, if you’re reading this – would you like to take a piece of cake in payment for our using your name?) I could suggest that every April 15 be Random Occasion Day, which would be much more fun to celebrate than Tax Day. But the nature of a Random Occasion is that it’s random, so I have no idea when the next one will be. (Though I’d better buy another box of cake mix to be ready for it.)
Then this evening my husband told me about a website he learned about today. AlbinoNinja has lots of games, and according to teachers at the school, it is free of malware (i.e. nasty software, probably written by Evil Programmers who are in cahoots with the Evil Librarians). He recommended the games for Al, and a puzzle called The Impossible Quiz 2 for me.
I tried the quiz, and after starting over I forget how many times, and with Al’s help (it turned out he had taken the Quiz and knew many of its tricks), I got a little further in the game than my husband had. Then I quit. But Duck: Think Outside the Flock turned out to be a very good game/puzzle. It requires some of the same “think-outside-the-box” logic as the Impossible Quiz, but without the weirdness. When I got to level 25 I decided it would be my last level, so I could come post on my blog. And it was my last level, because I finished the game!
So if you could use a good dose of fun in your day (no matter what day it is when you read this), try celebrating a Random Occasion Day. If you don’t like cake, you could always make chocolate chip cookies. Or pepperoni pizza. Or spinach and sardines salad (yes, really – that’s what I had for lunch today and it was very good). Or try the games at AlbinoNinja. Like any site, some are better than others. But Duck is definitely one of the good ones.
And check out the books by Alcatraz Smedry (though the Evil Librarians will have shelved them under Brandon Sanderson’s name, because that’s what’s on the cover – a ploy to make the Librarians think they’re fantasy books and not discover that Alcatraz has revealed the truth about their evil plans).