Home > Life in General, The 25 Book Challenge, The Blotter > Google-Fu and the Minor Victories of a Weekend Housework Warrior

Google-Fu and the Minor Victories of a Weekend Housework Warrior

One would think that by even associating my blog with the phrase “Weekend Housework Warrior” that I make a concerted effort to taming the specter that taunts me whenever I walk into my room. One would think that I don my magic helmet, shake my spear and begin a humble yet righteous crusade that will lead me to the mystical Valhalla only rumored to exist in the glossy pages of periodicals like Better Homes and Gardens and, god forbid, Martha Stewart Living.

Consider yourself among the deceived. Or at least the willfully misled.

I did say “minor victories,” after all.

Let me backtrack a bit, because my Google-Fu is an inherent part of the story.

For those who aren’t aware, I have amazing Google-Fu. If you’re not aware of what Google-Fu is, it is the ability to wield a search engine with deadly, ninja accuracy, striking at the heart of the query with grace and agility and summoning links that are actually helpful to your search. With just a little information, I can figure out a creative phrasing for my question or search string to find yield results on the first page of suggestions.

Not long ago, as far as all things are relative, I ran across the mention of a story whose premise enchanted me. I tripped across the reference in a book on writing (I think), though I couldn’t remember which. It involved the personification of the months and I remembered October having a prominent role, and April, and there was a mention of a tree or tree stump, of storytelling, but for the life of me, I couldn’t recall the name. I thought it was written by Ray Bradbury, but even skimming through the pages of the writing books I’d read, and scouring the index of each didn’t help. So, I did what I know best; I turned to the mystical guardian of all knowledge, both credible and irresponsible and summoned the all-powerful Google to heed my query. I didn’t have a lot to go on, and I’ll admit that it wasn’t the first search string that brought me the answer I’d been hunting for, but it didn’t take long. Maybe an aggregate half-hour or so, spread over a few days in 10 minute chunks. Using the “remembered” details, Google led me to Ray Bradbury’s The October Country, The Halloween Tree and a few others that even at first glance were not what I was looking for. I tweaked the string, removing all by what I knew for certain, and found something that looked promising – an amazon link to Neil Gaiman’s collection of short stories, Fragile Things. I dug a little deeper into amazon, looking to see what I could find out about the book, and then found the samples of the 6 part Kindle version. So I downloaded the samples. And I found it. October in the Chair by Neil Gaiman. I think I probably squeaked with delight. Of course, I downloaded the entire collection and while I greedily devoured every word of the story, I have not yet read the entire collection yet. My focus is still on the list of horror stories from the HWA handbook, aka The 25 Book Challenge and although the widget isn’t keeping up with me, I think I’m making pretty good progress. I am roughly halfway through the list and two of them are in progress, so, we’ll see. Even if I don’t complete the list, it’s been a fantastic learning experience. I’ve also discovered that the more I read, the faster I read. In spite of my crazy work schedule, The Stand only took me a few weeks, and I burned through The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, and Fear in the same month.

I’m rambling. This is me, distracted by talk of books. Surprising, I know.

And now, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

Two years ago, I took my vacation at Oak Island in North Carolina. The week between Christmas and New Year’s was heaven. Quiet. Relaxing. Peaceful. Restorative. When I got back, I thought I’d lost a crystal chakra necklace I adored and I was devastated. It was beautiful and I’d cherished it only to find that it had slipped into the Void of Lost Things. I searched my suitcase, the backpack of books I’d brought, ransacked my room…all to no avail. I gave it up for lost.

A couple of weeks ago, I was attacking my room with the frustrated gusto of someone swimming for the surface in an effort to outrun the shark nipping at their heels and trying to drag them down. I was listening to an audiobook and while I was on my hands and knees trying to reach under a dresser to capture the renegade dust bunnies, my fingers tripped over the cool metal snake of a necklace chain. I pulled it out, and dangling from it on a silver bail was the crystal I’d thought I’d lost years ago. Thrilled, I cleaned off the dust bunny fluff, put it on and have been wearing it frequently ever since. Somehow, the rest of the cleaning I did that day didn’t seem so bad. For a change, it all seemed…worthwhile. I may not have gotten the miracle cleaning job done that I’d wanted that weekend, but I still consider it a fruitful victory and I’ll keep trying to get the rest under control. It may not have been Google-Fu that found the necklace, but I can’t say that it had nothing to do with it. Sometimes, it’s about sticking your hand into the dark to see what you can pull back into the light.

Let’s just hope the shadow monsters aren’t in a biting mood…

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