March 8, 1998

A Fire to Read by

Didn't do much today. Mostly took the morning to do my exercises, and then putzed around for most of the rest of the day. Ate now and again, played with stuff, and then built a fire in the wood stove and read a lot.

The fire was fun to build again. The morning was brilliantly sunny, but as the afternoon rolled around, the clouds rolled in and the rain started splattering on the walls and windows and glass, and it got cold fairly quickly as the darkness rolled in. So I decided to light a fire. Mike sat down to watch me, and it was amusing to have an audience for what is usually such a mundane task.

Of course the first time I tried to light it, I didn't put nearly enough tinder into it, and it died into smoking darkness fairly quickly. I knew what the problem was, though, so I just went at it and put enough super thin cedar slivers to get sticks going. Then put more sticks on and waited a bit between each addition with the fire door mostly closed, but open enough to provide a good draft into the fire box. From the outside I could see it mostly as just sitting by the fire box and watching it while the fire bloomed and rippled behind the glass.

After that initial work, the fire started to come alive for me. It usually does. After tending something and feeding it and making sure that it has enough air to breath and watching it move and consume and then bloom into something that provides heat, it comes alive for me. Plasma in a box. Mike made a comment about all I needed, now, was a fire elemental, and I said that I think I had one in there, and that the trick, as always, is to contain it, but that the fireplace insert had had plenty of practice, and with that much fire-proof glass, fire brick, and steel, it was likely safe for the time being. He laughed.

It was a lot of fun to just occasionally feed the fire great big chunks of pre-seasoned wood. There were some enormous knots in some of the pieces, that couldn't be split at all, so I just fed them in whole and the fire burned all the hotter for the dense wood. That was very keen. The flames curled and bloomed in all their translucent, glowing beauty and I watched. The more air I gave it, the more it clawed at the glass and wanted out, but when I damped it down a bit and gave it plenty of wood, it calmed and curled upon itself, a content hearth fire rather than it's wild cousin.

So I sat and read in the warmth, occasionally checking on the fire's condition and feeding it when it needed it, pulling more heat off when it had that to give, and giving it more or less air as was warranted.

I was reading Design Patterns and enjoying it all the more for knowing the internal structures that we already had for the front line executable we use for our products, and going through and enumerating the patterns we'd already used, and the patterns we were thinking of using for the new setup was very, very educational. Re-reading all the patterns gave me good ideas for tackling the new problems we were running across and there were some really nice, solid, practical tips on class construction for some of the things we wanted to do.

So I fed my brain and the fire at the same time. Yum.

John bought me brownies while he was out in the morning, so I got my sweet fix as well. Hoorah! Good thing I'm doing the biking stuff, as that's likely the only thing keeping my metabolism up. One really nice thing is that since I've been doing the exercises for my legs, my hands haven't hurt all that much. Though the really long gaming session did make them a bit sore, as much because I just forgot to stretch for the seven hour period that we were playing as anything. But things don't *hurt* the way they used to for my wrists. So that's very good indeed.

© 1998 by Liralen Li.

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