Coffee Time with Wise the Simple

Soooo… I’m going to be late with today’s post again.  It’ll be up either late tonight or on Friday.  I have a half-written post waiting in my drafts, but my parents are visiting tomorrow and I’ve been rushing to do all of the spring cleaning that I have pushed off until now. But you’re probably sick of my excuses.  To tide you over until the post goes live, here are some things running through my sleep-deprived, yet-uncaffeinated brain:

  • Nintendo of America just hired a new VP of Sales named Doug Bowser.  I’m not kidding.  But despite the name, Mr. Bowser seems to be a nice enough guy.  That is, until the internet noticed something strange in this picture.  Well played, Bowser.  Well played…
  • While listening to a podcast recently, I heard a reference to Victor Borge (which delighted me to no end.)  Do you remember Victor Borge?  I was introduced to him via a PBS special, and have fond memories of watching and laughing along with my father.  Phonetic Punctuation, Inflationary language, and all of his wonderful piano-based gags…  So great! 🙂
  • Barnes and Noble just published an article going over the origin story of James S.A. Corey, the pen name of authors Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham.  I’m currently working my way through the Expanse book series (and eagerly awaiting the SyFy television adaptation), so this was definitely an interesting read.
  • Waffles are delicious.  Even just eating a freshly-toasted frozen one without toppings for breakfast.  Nom nom nom.
  • I’m severely behind on my television watching, so I only just saw the Person of Interest season finale.  Not gonna lie, this season was kind of hit-or-miss for me.  Especially since last season was a constant roller-coaster of awesome.  But that being said, though there were some lackluster episodes, the good episodes were amazing episodes.  Still one of my all-time favorite tv shows.  Good news is POI has been picked up for season five; bad news is it’s only a 13-episode order and we don’t yet know if this upcoming season will be its last.  Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Greg Plageman have previously said that they have plans for well-beyond season five; but if it comes down to it, I think that narratively speaking they are at a good place to wrap things up.

So those are some of my rambling thoughts over coffee this morning.  Time to get some actual work done!  New post will be here before week’s end.

Happy Thursday, everyone!


I wrote this poem a few years back while I was in college. It sprouted from an initial concept I had for an allegorical short story, but slowly moved from prose to verse. The first version of this poem had another stanza that ended on a more upbeat note where things turned around, but it felt out-of-place and insincere. I realized that not everything has to be tied up in a neat little bow. Because life certainly isn’t. Sometimes we have to ride out some storms to see the rainbows. It’s sometimes hard to accept, but I can be a mess, and am definitely a work-in-progress.

Sorry that this is all a bit of a downer; I’ll try to have something happier/more positive to post on Thursday!


A mirror is all I ever want,
a reflection of my face.
To write my life in ballpoint pen;
No guilt, no need to erase.

My eyes are glued to a face of glass
that bends in changing light.
I should instead look towards the sun
and blinded, receive sight.

I try and cast the mirror away;
It shatters in the dirt.
But I crawl back to claim the shards,
as if they could cure my hurt.

I clench my hand around the glass,
blood oozing from my skin.
Small broken pieces of my soul –
reflections of my sins.

I am enslaved by this old mirror,
this need to just see me.
Though a shard of glass may bring me pain,
I cling to it stubbornly.


welcome to the collisionarium

The long weekend interrupted my writing schedule, so I’ll put out today’s post some time later tonight. Until then, I thought I’d share this new blog from Mariel Mohns out at More Than. As a creative-minded scientist myself, I’m looking forward to seeing more from the Collisionarium!


Hello world.

Born out of the idea that we learn something new every day, the collisionarium is a platform for communicating science, sharing ideas, and encouraging creativity. We believe that life is not made up of neat little boxes, but is a beautiful collision of experiences, interests, and disciplines. We hope you will join us

Where ideas converge.

The intersection of science, art, geekery, and wonder.

Welcome to the collisionarium.

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Some simple cinquains

Happy Thursday, blog friends!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week. Mine has been pretty busy; so in lieu of a more substantial blog post today, I’ve got some photos and poetry for you.


Hiking in Chile

Temuco, Chile

Almost there

So much
To do; I work
Take one step at a time
Climbing and striving towards the end
I can

Door County Sunset

Door County, Wisconsin


Orange, purple
Streaks painted in the sky
Slowly fading. Dimming to black.
Look! Stars!

Lake Street Dive Goes Down Smooth

I first heard of Lake Street Dive when they did a live set on NPR’s World Cafe last year.  I was driving home from work when I caught the beginning of their interview and the first song.  My ears instantly perked up at their harmonies and unique sound.  As soon as I got home, I ran from my car and quickly flipped the radio on to catch the rest of their performance.  I was an instant fan.

Lake Street Dive is a jazz-pop quartet featuring Rachael Price on lead vocals, Bridget Kearney on upright bass, Mike “McDuck” Olson on trumpet and guitar, and Mike Calabrese on drums.  The four met while they were all studying jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music.  Now, as Lake Street Dive, their style ranges from jazz to pop to folk, from ’60s soul to rock-and-roll.

The band came to prominence when their cover version of The Jackson 5‘s “I Want You Back” went viral.  And deservedly so!  Have a listen:

From there, the band booked several televised gigs on late night talk shows, as well as being asked to participate in the T Bone Burnett-curated concert, “Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis.”

When I get into certain bands, I will put them into rotation on a constant loop for weeks, or even months.  Lake Street Dive has received continuous play from the first time I heard them last year.  They are truly fantastic musicians!

Go check out their newest album Bad Self Portraits, a compilation of cover songs called Fun Machine, or their self-titled release.  Better yet, give all three a listen.  I promise you won’t regret it!



It’s official: I’m the worst.

I know I promised to have three posts up per week — on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  But for the past two weeks I’ve completely missed the Friday post.

I feel terrible about this.  Not only because I personally feel like a failure, but because I feel guilty about anyone checking back to see if I’ve written anything new.


I am hereby reneging my promise of three weekly posts.  Instead, I will post twice a week.  You can now expect posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  When I get better at posting on time, I will look into adding more to the posting schedule.  But as it stands right now, keeping up the promise of a third post and not fulfilling said promise is not fair to my hypothetical readers nor to myself.

I am so, so sorry!  I really hope to get better at this as time goes by.  Thanks to those who have stuck with me; your patience is unbelievable and very much appreciated!

Until then,

See you on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

-Wise the Simple

Oval, Squiggle, Diamond: A SET Review

If you’ve read anything I’ve written about tabletop games, you’ll know that I tend to favor games with an engaging theme. But that is not to say that I am opposed to playing a good abstract game. Oh no!  On the contrary — there are some that I enjoy a great deal.  One of these such games is SET.


SET is a game of identifying and collecting, well, sets of cards depicting various symbols. There are four features of the symbol(s) on each card:

  1. Shape – Oval, Squiggle, Diamond
  2. Number – One, Two, Three
  3. Shading – Solid, Stripes, Outlined
  4. Color – Red, Green, Purple

The game is played thusly: a grid of twelve cards is laid out in front of two or more players, and the players then rush to be the first to identify a set of three cards.  A set consists of three cards whose features are all exactly the same or all different.  Herein lies the mental gymnastics at the heart of the game.

Let me try to explain the rules in another way — Three cards make a set if the following conditions are met:

  • They all have the same shape, OR they have three different shapes
  • They all have the same number, OR they have three different numbers
  • They all have the same shading, OR they have three different shadings
  • They all have the same color, OR they have three different colors

Confused yet?  While the rules may seem extremely complicated at first blush, they are quite simple once your brain wraps around it.  Let’s have some visual examples:

SET examples

In this photo, the above set is quite easy to identify.  The three cards all share the same shape (diamond), number (three), and shading (outline).  Additionally, they all have different colors (green, red, purple).

The second set is a bit trickier.  The three cards share the same color (green), but all have different shapes (squiggle, oval, diamond), number (one, two, three), and shading (solid, outline, striped).

While our brains are programmed to more easily see matching things, it’s harder to notice when all the features are different.  Combine that with the real-time, racing element of the game, and SET is simultaneously a brain-racking and nerve-racking experience.

Once a player identifies a set, he or she calls out “SET!” and points it out to the other players.  If confirmed to be a legal set, the player collects the three cards.  The empty spaces are replenished by new cards to bring the grid back to twelve, and the game continues.  If all of the players agree that there are no identifiable sets within a grid of twelve cards, three more cards are added to the table.  The game ends once the deck runs out; whoever has collected the most sets wins.

SET is truly an amazing and unique game.  It makes your brain work in a way that it’s not used to; there’s definitely a reason why it received a Mensa Select award.  If you have competitive friends or family, it can get really engaging.  I’ve had a lot of success playing SET as an opener or filler game during game nights, and have whipped it out while waiting around in airports or in long lines at comic conventions.  If you like puzzles or mind games in any way, I definitely recommend you check out SET.

SET was designed by Marsha J. Falco and is published by SET Enterprises, Inc.

On Dice, Dogs, and Mother’s Day

Well, I already messed up the planned MWF posting schedule!  Once the A-to-Z Challenge had finished, I reveled in all the free time I had, which, in typical Wise the Simple fashion, lead to me squandering said free time instead of working on new posts.  So let’s say that that first week of May was just a hiccup — a trial run, if you will.  I hereby promise to post three times a week from now on, even if a post is just to say that I have nothing to say.

I hope you all had a marvelous Mother’s Day! I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend with my mom, dad, younger brother, and older sister — the whole gang! Unfortunately, my brother-in-law was out of town, but it was still fun to just have the immediate family together.

We had a pretty relaxing weekend with no major plans. My parents had just gotten back from a trip to Mexico, where my mom attended a work conference. I picked them up at the airport on Saturday afternoon, and my siblings arrived shortly thereafter. Once everyone had gotten settled in at my parent’s house, we went out to dinner and caught each other up on everything going on in each of our lives.

After returning to my parents’ house, my father (a pastor) excused himself to work on finalizing everything for the following day’s church service while the rest of us sat down to play some boardgames. We started things off with some Escape: Curse of the Temple, a current favorite of the Simple family. I’ve played Escape quite a few times now, but our third game on Saturday was the absolute worst game I’ve played.  We lost in the most incredible fashion.  By the time the clock ran out, we still had a generous stack of unexplored temple tiles and had yet to find the exit.  We had only recovered a few gems, and had each lost three dice from our individual dice pools, leaving us with a mere two dice each.

After a few games of Escape, my mother (still feeling a bit jet-lagged) decided to head off to sleep. Left to our own devices, we siblings chose a slightly heavier game – Seasons. This was my sister’s first time playing, but my brother and I (being the cruel, competitive siblings we are) threw her into the deep end and made her participate in the card drafting phase called The Prelude even though she was unfamiliar with the game. I was actually very proud of my strategy during this particular play session. Although I love playing boardgames, I’m actually not that great at them.  But this game, I was able to draft both Necrotic Kriss and Sealed Urn (as well as Runic Cube) giving me a lot of extra points by the end of the third year.  Tallying up the scores, I was pretty confident that I would take the victory.  But as it turned out, my brother and I ended up finishing in a TIE!  Unfortunately, the tiebreaker was the number of summoned power cards and, given the Necrotic Kriss/Sealed Urn combo I had going, I had sacrificed all of my familiar cards, leaving me with far fewer cards than he.

On Sunday morning, we all attended church.  My brother, sister, and I helped to lead worship.  It was a lovely service, particularly because we took time to honor our mothers and mother-figures and pray over them. There are a lot of wonderful people who attend my father’s church, and I am so glad that I have gotten to know many of them throughout the years. There are many amazing women, in particular, who are incredibly strong in their faith, and are spectacular role models for me and the other young women.

After service, my family took my grandma and aunt out for a Mother’s Day lunch at a Japanese restaurant for some sushi, tempura, and hibachi.  It had been awhile since I had some good sushi, and it was all super delicious!

We rushed home after lunch since my dad said that he had a special guest visiting for Mother’s Day that afternoon.  While waiting around for the visitor’s arrival, the sibs and I started a new session of Seasons.  (After the previous night’s game, my sister said, “We need to play again now that I actually know how to play!”)  However, our game was cut short as the special guest arrived — A PUPPY!!

Our visitors were some folks who attend my father’s church. Their oldest son, who was moving to a new apartment, just found out that he couldn’t keep his newly-adopted four-month-old chocolate lab in his new place. Thus, the Simple household gained a new family member! My parents already own a ten-year-old dog, a German Shepherd/Chinese Shar-Pei mix. The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing the two dogs, and getting them used to each other’s company. By the end of the day, the two had become the best of friends. It was all very exciting and super adorable; puppies are the greatest!!

All in all, it was a very fun and relaxing weekend. I love my family so much, and it was wonderful to be able to hang out with all of them. As my siblings and I have gotten older, moved out, and began living our own separate lives, it has become more difficult to arrange times for us all to visit one another. Sure, we get together with the extended family during the larger holidays, but there’s something special about just the immediate family spending time together. I have always been incredibly close to my parents, my brother, and my sister, and feel so blessed that they continue to be a major part of my life.

Some Rambling Thoughts on Avengers: Age of Ultron and the MCU

WARNING: This post contains vague spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron and other properties of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including mentions of broad plot points from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. up through last night’s episode (S2E20, “Scars”). Proceed at your own risk!!

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Reflections on the April 2015 A-to-Z Challenge

We did it!  We survived the April 2015 A-to-Z Challenge!  I admit that I personally lost a bit of steam in the last third of the month.  Things looked rocky for awhile, and my posts either became shorter or were pushed off to be published at a later date.  At one point, it looked as if my prediction that I would “crash and burn” was going to come true.  But, amazingly, I was able to hang in there and finish on time.  (There’s even a shiny Survivor Badge in my sidebar now!)

So, will I do this again next year?  Absolutely!  Though I admittedly stumbled through this month, I learned a lot through my first attempt at the A-to-Z Challenge.  Next year, I will certainly try to write more posts ahead of time.  Things came up at work and in my personal life that threw a wrench into my plans of writing posts daily.  By having a backlog of pre-written posts, I will have more wiggle room for when such obstacles arise.

Though I was exhausted by the end of it, I had an utterly fantastic experience doing the A-to-Z Challenge!  I discovered so many new blogs to read, and had some great interactions with other bloggers.  I only started blogging late last year, and this past month was a great way for me to learn about what the blogging community has to offer.  Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by my blog, read my posts, and left comments!  I can only imagine all the cool new blogs and interesting people I will discover in the future!

Before the A-to-Z Challenge, my posting schedule was rather spotty.  Now that I’ve gotten back into a bit of a writing groove, I hope to post more frequently.  Starting today, I will try to post three times a week.  I hope to have blog posts up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the occasional extra post appearing whenever I have time.  Some posts will be longer, especially any reviews or creative non-fiction essays I may write up, while other days I may just post some poetry or a stream-of-consciousness reaction to something I saw or read.  Whatever it may be, I hope you enjoy it!

Again, thank you so much to everyone who visited during the A-to-Z Challenge, and of course, to all of the members of the wonderful hosting team!!

Much love,

Wise the Simple