Friday, February 28, 2014

Trilogy Bag Count: 90

Providing a progress update would mean that I’d have to stop crocheting.
Trilogy Bag Count: 90

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday in History: Leaning

The tower in 2013
photo by W. Lloyd MacKenzie
via wikipedia
On this day in history in 1964, the Italian city of Pisa asked the world to come and keep its leaning tower from falling over.
Experts from all over the globe worked together to preserve the structure that had made the city famous: historians, engineers, and mathematicians toiled to find a solution. They stuck 800 tons of lead counterweights on one side and did tests, theorizing scenarios for years, but in 1989 when another Tuscan tower toppled, they knew something had to be done.
Nearby apartments were vacated. The tower’s bells were removed to relieve it of their weight. The tower was tied down with cables to keep it from falling. For ten years, workers labored to remove 38 cubic meters of soil in order to straighten the Leaning-Too-Far Tower of Pisa. Though the tower was restored to its “original” 1838 angle and declared stable for 300 years in 2001, more soil was removed in 2008. This time, the experts declared that it had stopped moving for the first time in its history.
Capital Gate in 2013
photo by FritzDaCat
via wikipedia
Today, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous leaning tower, but there are others that lean, and at more dangerous an angle. While Pisa’s tower tilts at only 3.99 degrees, the Guinness Book of World Records has the Leaning tower of Suurhausen in Germany down as the most (accidentally) tilted building in the world at an angle of 5.19 degrees. Buildings tilted on purpose don’t count: the Capital Gate building in Abu Dhabi leans 18 degrees to the west, but the architect designed it that way. We’ll see if the Capital Gate building needs a face lift in about eight hundred years.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Writing Prompt: Opening Night

“Are you sure you want to wear that?” I asked as she emerged from her bedroom.
“Of course. Why shouldn’t I?”
“You’re the artist. Shouldn’t the gallery have assigned a stylist to design you an outfit and take you somewhere fancy to get your hair done or something?”
“That only happens in the movies,” she assured me, picking up the chainsaw. “Besides, they’ll be expecting me to wear something unusual that makes me stand out. If I wore a black trash bag for a dress, they’d call me fashionable. It doesn’t matter what I wear.”
I shrugged. “At least you’re bold enough to wear that thing more than once.”
“I won’t be after tonight,” she said, checking to see that there was fuel in the tank. “I’m doing a demonstration at six.” My best friend’s artfully shredded canvases splattered with paint that had been sloshed onto a running chainsaw were being exhibited at a downtown gallery. It was opening night.
I shook my head at her. “I hope everyone who shows up decides to wear the bridesmaid dress they swore they’d never put on again.”
She laughed. “Maybe I should reconsider the trash bag.”

Writing Prompt #87

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I’m sitting here staring at the City/County Building.
It’s not a pleasant destination.
The wind howls down 10th Street and every single person waiting to cross K Street looks like they’d rather be anywhere else.
Parking is atrocious. Fighting to parallel park in a spot on the street or giving in and paying for one in the lot a block north: neither one is fun.
The traffic down 9th Street always slows a bit there, the sight of all of those police cars parked out back reminds every driver that they ought to be following the speed limit, and for a moment, makes all of them wonder what the speed limit is.
Some, though, are slowing down to turn into that driveway, headed for the metal mailbox which is waiting to recieve the orange envelope that they found on their windshield that day they thought they could get away with putting only a dime in the parking meter when they knew that they were going to be gone a quarter’s worth of time.
Inside, there’s an office on the first floor where you can wait in line with a stack of property tax forms and a check to pay for them.
And in a tiny room, tucked in the back corner of an upper floor, there’s an office which you can make your way to in order to show your vehicle’s registration after getting a warning for speeding at that one spot in David City where the speed limit goes from 55 to 25.
It’s a necessary place, the City/County Building. It sits, solidly formidable, ignoring the foot and vehicle traffic rushing around it.

Monday, February 24, 2014


For writers, there’s something about a coffeehouse.
I’m not sure if it’s the sound of the cappuccino machine or the smell of the coffee beans or the sight of art by local artists that inspires us.
Maybe it’s all the distractions: voices of the baristas, chatter from the other patrons, the constant traffic of orders being taken, made, and called out loudly across the room.
Or perhaps it’s the quiet of knowing what’s going down on your own paper―a secret that no one else in the busy room can see.
There’s something about a coffeehouse. For writers, it feels like home.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Trilogy Bag Count: 80

Apparently when you put video gaming and crocheting together, the result is tons of progress.
After not working on this project all week, I sat down on Wednesday afternoon with my crocheting in my lap to play Dragon Age 2. I played and crocheted during the loading screens and talky parts. That evening when I sat down to watch a movie with my kids, I discovered I only had 2 bags left!
Now it is my intention to sit down and play video games for several hours.
Trilogy Bag Count: 80

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thursday in History: Stamp of Approval

Yesterday at the Post Office, they didn’t have any 21 cent stamps. THANKS, OBAMA.
On this day in history in history in 1792, George Washington signed a piece of legislation that officially established the United States Postal Service.
Washington’s face is on our 20 cent stamps today. I’ve been seeing a lot of them lately, that and the one cent stamps I have to use because no one in America seems to have any 21 cent stamps.
As I stare at the likeness of our first president, I wonder what he would have thought about having his face pasted everywhere. What would he have said about the 20 cent stamps?

Check out more stamps on pinterest.
“Ugh, why did they use that portrait? My hair was awful that day!”  
- George Washington

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Writing Prompt: The Secret Twin

Eric was stuck at the mall.
He didn’t understand why it had been so important for his mom to drop him and his older sister Taryn off that day, but she sped off so fast that he felt slightly abandoned at the sight of the rear window through the haze of exhaust that the car left behind. And then he was actually abandoned when Taryn spotted some friends and barely paused to tell him she was going to look at earrings before she and the other girls vanished.
So Eric wandered. He headed toward the food court, but he didn’t have any money. After staring at the sign at Pretzels ‘N Cheese for five minutes, he decided to move on. Eventually he found himself at the children’s play area, the only place in the mall he actually liked. He climbed up and sat down on top of a large multicolored frog. If there weren’t so many people around, he would have tried out the elephant slide or hopscotched across the bit of the carpet that looked like a pond with lily pads. But at eleven and a half, he felt too old to do any of that… in public, at least.
From his perch he could see when his sister and her friends left the earring store and started ogling shoes in the shop next to it, shoes that his mom would never have given her money to buy. Taryn’s friends followed her into the store, probably to try the shoes on anyway. He sighed. What did his mom expect him to do here for an hour and a half? At least he’d found a good place to people watch.
For about fifteen minutes, Eric watched shoppers walking by, and made up stories in his head about them. A passing custodian, he supposed, was secretly a werewolf, and the mother with a stroller full of children had arrived at the mall by teleportation instead of a car. He turned his head away from the noisy family in search of another object when he saw his own face in a mirror.
No, it wasn’t a mirror. There was a boy on the other side of the play area, crouched on top of the multicolored hippo, a boy that looked exactly like Eric, except he looked like he needed a haircut.
Eric watched as the boy jumped down and crossed the play area. He looked up at Eric and asked, “Are you a ninja?”
“No,” Eric admitted.
“From an alternate universe?” the boy continued.
“Not that I know of,” Eric replied.
“Are you an alien?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Hm.” The boy seemed stumped. “I thought maybe you were because I was trying to guess which people walking by here were aliens and which ones were actually human.” He squinted up at Eric again. “Well, you’re either a doppelganger or we’re twins separated at birth. Which do you think it is?”
“I’m not a doppelganger,” Eric said, descending from high atop the frog. “So we must be twins.”
“Okay,” said the boy, accepting the idea rather easily. “Want to play Mortal Kombat?” he asked, pointing at a couple of ancient coin operated arcade games in the corner which were sharing a power outlet with some vending machines.
“Sure,” Eric agreed, and they set off.
“I wanted to play earlier but it’s boring unless you have a real opponent, I can win against the computer no problem.”
Eric nodded. Taryn wouldn’t play fighting games with him anymore either, ever since he made the mistake of telling her that she was easier to beat than the computer. He shared this with his new-found twin.
“Oh, you have an older sister?” he said. “All I’ve got is a younger brother, and my dad says he’s too little for Mortal Kombat.”
They reached the machines and Eric watched as his new brother fished around in his pockets for change and plunked the money into the machine.
“So what do you think?” he asked as they picked characters. “Were we adopted, or just mixed up in the hospital?”
Eric didn’t know how to answer this awkward question. “My mom’s never said anything about it…” he began.
All conversation ceased as the battle commenced, and Eric had a hard time achieving his usual victory. Their scores were nearly matching until, with a furious clicking of buttons, Eric’s opponent performed a move he’d never seen before, and “KO!!!” flashed across the screen.
“That was awesome!” Eric exclaimed.
“Thanks,” the boy replied modestly, but something about the way he said it made Eric think that he wouldn’t have been as happy for Eric if the situation had been reversed. “Hey, you know what we should do?”
“What?” Eric asked, watching as the boy searched through his pockets again.
“We should both enter this!” He produced a flyer for a Mortal Kombat tournament at a nearby gaming center. As Eric read it, the boy continued making plans. “Everybody else I know is training for the tournament there,” he indicated the flyer, “but hardly anybody knows about this machine, plus it’s cheaper and they don’t make you buy drinks or snacks here. We could meet here every Thursday afternoon to practice. What do you think?”
Eric grinned. “Will you teach me that move?”
“One more thing.”
“What’s your name?”

“I hope you had a good time, honey,” Eric’s mom said as he climbed into the car and Taryn waved goodbye to your friends. “You looked so sad when I drove away, but Mommy really needed some ‘me time.’”
“It’s okay, I had fun,” Eric told her. “Hey mom?”
“Yes, dear?”
“Am I adopted?”
She gasped. “No, of course not! Whatever gave you that idea? I hope it’s not because I left you at the mall today, because I won’t ever do it again if you don’t like it.”
“No, it’s all right,” he said. “In fact, do you think I could come back next Thursday?”

Writing Prompt #800

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Arrival of Spring

Spring is that girl you have a crush on in Math class.
She doesn’t even know you exist. It’s a very cold feeling.
But suddenly she turns around in her chair and asks you to explain the equation the teacher just went over, and it’s a beautiful day. She frowns after your lesson recap and turns away, and freezing winds chill your bones.
A week later, she’s asking for help again. The sun is shining. You point out why her answers were wrong on the quiz, and she says she understands better when you show her how to get through the problem than when the teacher does. And she smiles at you. The snow melts, and warm breezes blow.
Two weeks later, standing in slush, you pluck up the courage to ask her to the dance. She says, “sure, um… what was your name again?” The world freezes overnight.
You wait patiently, shivering outside the gym as everyone else goes inside, a box containing a wrist corsage clutched in your hands. Will she ever come? Or will she stay away, leaving you frozen and miserable? It feels like an eternity before that minivan pulls up and her dad gets out to open the sliding door.
She emerges in a rush of warm air, shaking a curl out of her eyes, wearing a gorgeous light green dress and flowers in her hair. She holds out her hand while you slip the corsage onto it, and waves to her father as she takes your arm and lets you lead her inside.
There are lots of people dancing already, and a slow song begins as you reach the edge of the dance floor. She says, "Come on!" and grabs your hand, grinning as she pulls you into the crowd. Nervously, awkwardly, you put your hand around her waist as she loops an arm around your neck. You suddenly realize that you don’t know how to dance, but that’s okay.
She puts her head on your shoulder, and you are warmed from head to toe.
Spring has finally arrived.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Post-Valentine PSA

Public service announcement: 
Valentine’s Day candy is now 50% off in most grocery stores. A fine way to spend an afternoon the week after Valentine’s Day is to sit and read while consuming half a bag of conversation hearts.
That is all.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Trilogy Bag Count: 70

Every time I stop and look at this thing I wonder how much longer it will be before I’m done. The first one I made used up almost a hundred bags, so… it’s not so tall yet that I’ve started measuring it, though.
Maybe next week.
Trilogy Bag Count: 70

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday in History: Actually Guilty

Henry VIII of England was desperate for an heir.
His first wife Catherine of Aragon gave him a daughter, but no son, so he seized on the technicality that she had once been engaged to his brother to divorce her.
His second wife Anne Boleyn also gave him a daughter, but Henry was tired of waiting for a son and already had a new wife lined up, so he accused her of adultery and had her executed.
His third wife Jane Seymour did give him a son. She died in childbirth, and the rumor that Henry begged the doctors to preserve Jane’s life if they had to choose between her and the boy seems a bit far fetched when you remember that he’d already tossed two other women aside on account of the young prince.
His fourth “wife” Anne of Cleves wasn’t as hot as her painting had advertised, so he had their marriage annulled and she lived out the rest of her life in England as Henry’s “beloved sister.”
His fifth wife Catherine Howard was guilty where Anne Boleyn had been innocent. Catherine was young, pretty, and indiscreet, and maybe thought that because the king already had a son, she’d be safe from any wrath. Unfortunately, when her transgressions came to light, there was no way that the king was going to be lenient.
On this day in history, Catherine Howard was executed for adultery, a punishment which she admitted in a speech preceding her death was “worthy and just.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writing Prompt: All Expenses Paid

Winning an all expenses paid vacation sounds wonderful. You don't have to worry about plane tickets, meals, hotels, or anything. You can just go and enjoy yourself.
But when you get there after flying squished in a seat in coach and drag your bags up to a dingy hotel, you realize that just because everything is paid for doesn't mean it's going to be nice.
Stephanie stood there, looking at the least impressive hotel she'd ever seen (because they'd passed the more impressive ones on the corn chip-scented van ride from the airport), and did not look forward to her stay. If the travel and accommodations were any indication, all she'd be getting to eat would be some of those stale corn chips off the floor of the van.
The attendant at the front desk seemed excited to see her. She wondered if she was the only one staying there. After making her way to her room, she dumped her bags on the floor and flopped down on the bed. The bed wasn’t terribly comfortable, but it was better than she’d expected.
When she opened her eyes again, it was dark. She glanced around the room for a clock, but there wasn’t one. She padded into the bathroom, turned on the lights, and tested the sink. The water worked, at least.
Staring into the mirror, she relived the conversation when her sister had encouraged her to enter the contest.
“Why don’t you enter?” she’d asked.
“It’s not like I could go,” her sister replied, “I’ve got too much to do at work. You’ll be at the end of a project, and you could use a vacation. And if it’s paid for, even better!”
She’d never needed much convincing. She shrugged and mailed in the contest paperwork. Her sister was more excited than she was when she won. And now she was here for two weeks, in this tiny hotel.
Her stomach growled and she wondered where she was supposed to go to have dinner. Did the hotel have a restaurant? At a place like this, it didn’t seem likely. Even if there was, she didn’t know if she wanted to eat there.
She sighed and slopped water on her face. So this was how they got you. Tempt you in with the “all expenses paid” part but make sure everything was below enjoyable standards so that people who won couldn’t help spending their own money. Feeling duped, she stared at herself in the mirror. “Everyone who entered that contest probably won, Stephanie,” she told herself.
She ordered room service, hung up her clothes in the closet, and turned on the TV. After all, that’s what she would have done if she’d been at home. Only the couch would have been more comfortable than trying to figure out how to arrange the pillows on the bed so that she could recline the way she wanted to.
The room service wasn’t horrible, and watching a strange soap opera distracted her disappointment. This was the first step to enjoying herself, she decided. First, forget that everything is terrible, then remember that you’re on vacation, and finally, enjoy yourself.
The soap opera became Gilligan’s Island, which became I Love Lucy, which became The Honeymooners. She fell asleep sometime in between the Skipper berating Gilligan and Lucy whining at Ricky.
Sometime around four in the morning (though she wasn’t sure because she didn’t have a clock), Stephanie woke to a low bass rhythm booming somewhere. In a haze of sleep, she fumbled for the remote control and turned off the television.
Sun peeked through the curtains the next morning, and she pushed them aside, gazing down at the ocean glistening in the light of the rising sun. Grabbing her suit, a towel, and sandals, she rushed down to the beach, stopping at the front desk to ask for a bedside clock along the way.
It was a beautiful day, and the air did not smell like corn chips. She spent the morning swimming, sunbathing, and people watching, and returned to the hotel to have lunch and rest after a morning in the sun.
The hotel, it turned out, did have a little restaurant. It wasn’t the fanciest thing in the world, but it did have outdoor tables, each with its own big friendly umbrella for shade. Stephanie picked one of these, gave her order to the waiter, and enjoyed the tropical breeze. She was enjoying her lunch when a teenager with one tiny, bright pink braid standing out against her long, black, artistically mussed hair sat down at a table nearby, her younger brother following close behind.
“Ugh, I’m so bored,” the teenager announced, putting her feet up on the table and producing a smartphone out of nowhere. She flipped her hair out of her eyes and began to play with it, sighing, “nothing ever happens here during the day.”
“Then why do you ask to come here every year?” her brother asked, trying to look over her shoulder at the game she was playing.
“Shut up,” she said, shoving his head away.
“I’m telling Mom!” he protested.
“Try it!” she replied with a threatening gesture. He ran away, wailing displeasure. Then, noticing she was being watched, the teenager addressed her eavesdropper directly. “You’re in Room 104?”
“What?” Stephanie almost dropped her fork in surprise. “Yes, I… how did you know?”
“Then you’ll know what I mean about it being boring during the day here,” the teenager continued, ignoring the question. The baffled look on Stephanie’s face must have been answer enough for her. “Or maybe not. Yet. You’ll see.” She got up and wandered away.
Despite the well known fact that teenagers are weird, Stephanie still didn’t know what to make of her lunch encounter. She returned to her room to find that housekeeping had been in to make the bed and leave a digital alarm clock sitting on the dresser, unplugged. She sighed, plugged it in behind the bedside table, and set it to match her watch, East Coast time. If it wasn’t actually the right time, it didn’t really matter; it’s not like she had any place to be.
She hung her wet swimsuit up in the shower, scrubbed her hair dry after rinsing it out, and flopped down on the bed as she had the day before.
Stephanie hadn’t dreamed the day before. She’d been too tired from traveling and being frustrated about disappointed hopes. Her REM cycle treated her to fireworks displays, an evening stroll down a street fair, and a modified scene from Sleepless in Seattle. It must have been her subconscious wondering what that teenager had been talking about.
It was dark when she woke. Inspired by the dramatic scenes in her head, Stephanie determined that she would go out for dinner, whether she had to pay for it herself or not. She grabbed the fancy dress that her sister insisted she take along and slithered into it, going back to the closet for her fancy shoes.
When she opened the door of her closet, she heard a familiar noise and remembered that she’d woken early that morning to the low rumbling beat of a techno song, which was now floating up from somewhere below. She reached for her shoes as her head bobbed along to the beat, and she wondered where the music could be coming from.
It was when she finished fastening the strap on her left shoe that she saw it.
Why was there a secret door in the back of her closet? Why had it just opened? Stephanie leaned forward, slipping her right shoe on and gazing through the closet to see what could be on the other side of the mysterious door. The music got louder. She wondered why, and quickly secured her shoe so that she could find out what could possibly be down the steps that had appeared inside her closet.
Writing Prompt #743
The bass rhythm grew louder and more oppressive as she descended. The stairs were lit by recess lighting built into the wall below the hand rail, but they were so dim it was hard to see. By the time Stephanie reached the first landing, she could hear voices. Talking and laughing people who were having a good time, by the sound of it.
One final landing revealed the source of the noise: an underground nightclub. Stephanie descended the last few steps and stood on a balcony above the dance floor. The room was packed, and she spotted a tiny, bright pink braid bobbing among the dancers.
She navigated the balcony and found more stairs down to the bar on the other side of the room. As she reached it, two bar stools nearby were vacated by some patrons, and she took one, while the other was taken by her new friend.
“You found it!” the teenager declared, sipping on a drink the bartender offered her which was same color as her eye shadow. “Isn’t it great?”
Stephanie looked around. “It’s… definitely more exciting than sitting on the beach,” she admitted.
“I’m Moira,” the teenager informed her. “We stayed in Room 104 the first time we came here. My mom won some contest. But this place is why I make my parents come back here every year. Come on, I’ll introduce you to the DJ!” Abandoning her drink, she grabbed Stephanie’s wrist and hauled her across the dance floor.
“Aren’t you going to pay for that?” Stephanie shouted through the din.
But Moira shouted, “It’s all expenses paid!”

“How was your trip?” her sister asked her. “Did you have a good time? Did you meet anyone?”
“It was fun,” Stephanie replied. “I’m thinking of going back next year.”

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Invisible Assistant

I wander to the copy machine.
"Okay, now this is... ...what?" I say aloud, puzzling over paperwork. "Oh, I see what you did there." Problem solved, I poke buttons on the machine and then get back to work.
My aunt approaches the copy machine, muttering, "Well, why would you do that?" to the paper in front of her. She sees me watching and says defensively, "Yes, I do talk to myself!" and laughs.
"You're not crazy," I reply, "you're just pretending that you've got an invisible assistant."

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fancy Footwear

I like to look at pretty shoes. I especially like to look at pretty shoes when they're inexpensive. Not that I'm going to buy them, but it makes them more attractive when I know that if I did purchase them I wouldn't be spending everything I have.
It's nice to look, but it's even nicer to have an occasion to wear pretty shoes. There's just one problem with that, though. Pretty shoes are never comfortable.
I have work shoes. Frumpy, flat, plain things that will keep my feet from whining at me while I stand for several hours. They don't make me feel pretty, but I can stand to wear them for a long time.
There's something about high heels that boost my confidence level at the same time that they are elevating my heels. If I know that I look good, then I feel good, too.
In a perfect universe, pretty shoes are comfortable shoes. In this universe, I'll just keep staring longingly at the pictures on the fancy shoe website, wondering if I could stand to wear any of the pretty ones for more than an hour.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Trilogy Bag Count: 60

Bag the Bag Part 3: the Sequel to the Sequel is getting taller. I’m still working on the handles as I go along, but I’m afraid that once I finish the body I’ll start procrastinating on it… more than usual. I still haven’t quite decided how I’m going to finish attaching the handles, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. At least the handles will be easier to finish than the previous ones.
Trilogy Bag Count: 60

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday in History: Peace Hedge

Not very many Dutch nobles built a hunting cabin in the thirteenth century with the lofty hope that it would someday become a center for international peace and justice. Count Floris IV didn’t think about that when he settled down near a pond in the South Holland province sometime around 1230.
But today, the United Nations, the International Court of Justice (which is located in the Peace Palace), the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Europol, and over 150 other international organizations are located in the Netherlands’ largest city on the North Sea: The Hague.
The Peace Palace, March 2006
(via wikipedia)
On this day in history in 1900, following the world’s first Peace Conference in 1899, the international arbitration court was established at The Hague by a decree ratified by the Senate of the Netherlands.
Why do we call it The Hague? Because of Count Floris IV’s shrubbery. Today, the Count’s hedge (Den Haag) is the seat of the Dutch government, the third largest city in the country, and a place that stands for justice and peace for the entire world.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Writing Prompt: Take it With You

A nomadic lifestyle allows one to continually discover new things. Never before seen places, beautiful new architecture, and views unknown to the eyes of most are found and enjoyed by those who choose not to be tied down to one location.
You can’t take a particularly lovely rock formation with you when you leave. There’s no net to bring the piece of sky you’ve been enjoying along when it’s time to depart. It’s hard to leave the things you’ve loved, even if you know you’ll be heading off to see more amazing things in the future.
But some things are too wonderful to leave behind.
Writing Prompt #228

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I’ve got some… feelings. About a certain key on my keyboard. We don’t really think about the keys on our keyboards much, we just expect them to work and be there when we need them. And we need them a lot more often than we realize. One particular key is quite necessary to me, but Google disagrees. Their new laptop will replace it with a search button.
My only reaction to their decision to do away with the caps lock key is “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
I need caps lock. How else will I type things like “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”? I don’t care that it’s just a dinosaur left over from typewriter days. I use it ALL THE TIME. How am I supposed to shout at people on the internet without it? SOME DAYS, PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET NEED TO BE SHOUTED AT.
There are plenty of ways for me to search online. Open a new tab and type something. Open a new tab and speak to my computer. ...Okay, maybe not plenty of ways, but my options for searching work, and I use them every day, multiple times per day!
I even have a caps lock on the keyboard on my phone. IT IS NECESSARY TO ME.
So my question for you, Google, is “WHY, WHY???” Take anything but that! Take the tilde~ who uses a tilde?! Or take that line thing that nobody knows the purpose of | and move your backslash \ someplace else. Or put a shift key on only one side and move the caps lock down to that space on the other side to make room for your search key.