Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Feeling a bit faded? Washed out? Worn thin? It happens.

I'm actually feeling great, but the muse decided he needed a vacation and has deserted me without even the promise of a postcard. The lazy bum. He hasn't really produced anything worthwhile in weeks. He claims he's stressed out and unable to work under such conditions. I think he knows he's on thin ice with me and he's trying to pull some sort of a drama queen act or maybe he's making preparation for an ADA claim if I try to fire him. Either way, I'm not impressed.

Next week I'll be out of town. Going to training in Dallas. And getting to meet some cool bloggers while I'm there. I even have a date to meet a stranger in a cemetery. A first for me and I'm feeling way all French Connection-ish about it.

This afternoon I think I had a life-changing experience. I reached out to grip the arms of my desk chair so I could stand up and usher someone out of my office. When I touched the metal on the underside of the arm, something shocked me. It hurt - a lot! I never ran into static electricity with that kind of lasting effect before, which made me realize that it couldn't have just been a random electrical discharge.

It must have been a radioactive spider bite!

Yep. Spider bite for sure.

I've been waiting all evening for my superpowers to show up. So far, nothing. But I feel certain that by dawn I won't need glasses, except as a clever disguise, and I'll be able to fly. In which case, I'll probably take a day off from work.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"We've got both kinds - Country and Western"

We spent the weekend at Caprock Canyon. We got lucky because Jackson and I didn't get around to making the reservations until last Monday.

Jackson called the park and spoke to the Rangers...

J: "Is the drive-in movie open this summer?"

Lady Ranger: "Yessir! It sure is!"

J: "Do you know what they're showing this week?"

Lady Ranger: "Well, I'm not real sure. I drove by there the other day and, well, I know those are good folks that run that place. I think their sign said somethin' about showing some movie called Hell-somethin'. I just couldn't believe those folks would be showin' a movie like that."

J: "Uh...was it maybe Hellboy 2?"

Lady Ranger: "It sure was! That was it! What do you reckon that's about?"

J: "Its based on a comic book. Is that what's showing this week?"
Lady Ranger to co-workers: "Hey! Do y'all know what's showin at the drive in?"

Guy Ranger: "I saw the sign, but some of the letters were missin'."

Lady Ranger: "What did it say?"
Guy Ranger: "Wall and then somethin that started with E. I guess the rest of the letters got blown off the sign. It's been windy."

J: "Oooo-k. Well, thanks for your help. See you this weekend!"

Hellboy 2 was still showing. The Spooky-Jackson Entertainment Review Consortium rated this movie as Extremely Lame. Do not waste your time or money. Read a comic book instead.

The dog liked it, though. She was incredibly well-behaved. She's never been camping before and she had the time of her life. She enjoyed the movie, but swimming in the lake is now her favorite thing on the entire planet! Better than food! Better than sleeping! Better than licking her privates! Yay for swimming!

She pretty much slept through the whole movie. We should have followed her example. It was a better use of two hours.

And yes, the dog is wearing three collars. She's a slave to fashion.

This is the only wildlife we saw this time.

The colors in this canyon are really incredible.

I'm pretty sure Sand Pirates buried their treasure somewhere in the canyon. Yep. Pretty sure.

Don't you want to go camping? Caprock Canyon is definitely off the beaten path (and evidently isolated from all major media outlets) but the peace and quiet are so worth the drive.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Random Stuffs of Monday Madness

Anybody besides me going to be in Dallas during the first week of August? I have to go to training for the drug education class I teach and Jackson will be in town starting work on his Phd. He's getting a doctorate in digital basket weaving or something like that. I think we're staying in Richardson. If you're interested, holler at me and we'll figure out a time to meet for dinner or something.

I'm still kicking around a really pitiful little problem. I can take free classes at the local university since Jackson works there. I have to take night classes. Or online classes. But I have no idea what to study. I am so damn tired of psychology - I have zero desire to get a Master's degree in that particular discipline. They don't offer a Master's in Criminal Justice, and I don't think I would want it if they did. There is some sort of masochistic Master's degree in Public Administration, I think. I also think I'd rather stick hot pokers in my eyes than take those classes. I have no desire to administrate the public. I've kinda been kicking around the idea of an English degree, although I have no desire to teach. What else does one do with an English degree? (I'm thinking I may need to order the Prairie Home Companion's English Majors collection for use as some sort of discernment tool.) I'd really love to take art classes, but they offer very, very few of them at night. So, you can see my dilemma, no? Free liberal arts education and no real desire to take advantage of it. Tragic, isn't it? There may be starving children in Africa, but I can't be bothered with that! I have to decide how to attain a graduate degree with the least amount of effort possible!

My niece is spending the evening here while her parents take in the new Batman movie. (Highly recommended by the Spooky/Jackson Entertainment Appraisal Consortium, by the way.) Jonboy and Mindy (not THAT Mindy) seldom let her stay here when she was shorter. They feared our influence, no doubt. Unfortunately the tides have turned. The Pink Child got Barbies on my carpet. Now I'm gonna have to vacuum. And probably disinfect.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

How crazy of a week has it been when I forget that it's Friday?

Totally, completely forgot.

Darn it.

So, here's a quickie cemetery photo that hopefully I haven't posted before.

I've had this photo for months and I think this is a really classy headstone. Every week as I go through my photo files, this one is always begging to be used. There is a really perfectly witty little comment out there that fits perfectly with it. It's just that I've never been able to figure out what it is!

Do you have any ideas?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Answer to Another Question

Presbyterian Gal asked about my favorite B movie horror flick.

I don't know that I really have a favorite. They're all the same, you know.

I'm a fan of all the old classics - Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney. And of course Vincent Price. I love everything Vincent Price ever did. (Even that Discover Card commercial where his wife talks about how they spent their 'reward' rebates on "a little something for Vincent". Anyone else remember what they bought?) (I love his voice too. If you have a chance, check him out as The Saint in old time radio programs. Pure silk, I'm tellin' ya.)

The best of the crappy horror flicks were made in the fifties and early sixties. That was when the genre was really into morality plays and such. I guess they were hoping to save those over-heated souls in the backseat of the cars at the drive-in.

The horror movies rules really take hold in these years, too. You know the rules - the first couple to have sex seal their fate and die spectacularly early in the film. There's always one dark-skinned dude and he always outlives the sleazy light-skinned chick. The virginal blonde may work as a logger or a rescue diver or something, but she will twist her ankle towards the end of the film and will not be able to recover in time. The stoners survive longer than the sluts, but not a lot longer.

Usually I just rent these cinematic gems when I'm in the mood to watch them. However, I do own a few; one of which is Carnival of Souls (got it for .49 cents on clearance at the video store - imagine that!). It's a great story told in black and white and makes absolutely no sense. It starts with a classic scene...

Three young ladies in the front seat of a car. They are laughing and talking animatedly - probably about, gasp!, boys. The car careens down the road, being driven too fast - obviously by a loose woman. The other girls are putting on - grimace - lipstick. And all three of them demonstrate their preference for damnation by listening to 'rock-n-roll' music on the radio.

The heavy black sedan crosses on to a bridge. It swerves unexpectedly and plnges nose-first into the judgmental river below.

Cut to a scene of solemn-faced officials watching as the mechanical carcass is pulled ashore and divers dredge the river bottom for bodies. It has been hours since the accident. The general feeling amoung the men appears to be that it was a terrible, if not wholly undeserved, tragedy.

Suddenly the crowd becomes even more hushed as the heroine - a platinum blonde with straight seems in her nylons - emerges pretty much unscathed from the depths of the river.

Following her freakishly miraculous escape, she decides to leave home and move to another town to take a job as church organist. I kid you not. Church organist.

The city is not unlike the one she left, yet she is haunted by nightmares and images of the suspiciously abandonded carnival on the edge of town and the zombies that inhabit it. The ghost carnival somehow summons her spirit, drawing her into a twilight world that dangles on a thread between life and death.

Well, not really.

I don't really know what the carnival does. The movie stops making sense at this point. It is gleefully misedited and just sort of ends for no apparent reason. Sort of like this post.

Well, not really.

There is a fairly new remake of Carnival of Souls out there. It's a remake in name only. No mention of a church organist anywhere in it. The remake tries too hard to make sense and relies on such nonsensical devices as plot and narrative. It fails miserably. Don't waste your time on it. Stick to the 1962 version.

I wrote this in between innings at the softball game. (Katie hit a home run.) As I sat there making marks in my little black notebook, I kept hearing some guy back behind me calling to someone. He was repeating a name over and over. Poor man. I wondered why he was being ignored. He kept calling - "Miz Fairly-Common-Name! Miz Name-That-Rings-A-Bell!"

After several shouts,I finally realized why the name was so familiar. He was talking to me! He was calling for "Miz Married-Name"! Hell, I've been married for nearly nine years and I think this is the first time anyone ever actually called me that. (Neither Jackson nor I changed our names when we got married.) Poor little guy now thinks I'm either stupid or a complete snob.

There is yet another game tonight. Maybe Ichabod and I will have time to work on another question.

Answering a Question

Bunny Bunster asked about my favorite author. There is no way to narrow it down to just one. I've mentioned before that I'm addicted to English country house murder mysteries, so pretty much any of the classic crime writers of the early twentieth century could qualify as favorites.

Bill Bryson has to be somewhere near the top of my list of favorites, too. His work makes me laugh louder and longer than just about anything else I've ever read. We come from different generations, but much of his experience as a child growing up in middle America mirrors my own experience. Or at least the feel of my experience. I love his attitude towards life. Anything he writes is gold, from travel memoirs to stories of his life to his side-splitting book on English grammar and his short biography of William Shakespeare.

As much as it pains me to admit it, Jane Austen is another of my favorite writers. It's sad but true. I am not a romance reader but I can't help but love her books. I like how such massive and pivotal things happen with just a few simple words between her characters. She has an occasionally cynical view of humanity as well as a good natured sense of humor that make her stories fun to read.

I tend to crave quietness and subtlety in my free time. My work environment is normally loud and crass. I'm accustomed to working in a boisterous setting and that is perfectly fine with me. I wouldn't change it. But when I'm away from that and looking for something to read, I gravitate towards Austen's restrained and whispery world.

My favorite of her books is probably Persuasion, but her best humorous scenes are in Pride and Prejudice. The sadly comedic picture she paints of the whole Bennett family is dead on perfect. I think I have met Mrs. Bennett several times in my life. And she is almost always - regardless of her particular incarnation - married to a Mr. Bennett.

Truthfully, whatever I'm currently reading is my favorite. I just recently finished the original Zorro story, compiled from the pulps of the 1930's. Loved it. (I have a bit of a thing for costumed vigilantes, or hadn't you noticed?) Now I'm starting a new retelling of the legend - Zorro by Isabel Allende. Her touch seems to be just perfect for this story. I've not read any of her other works, but I'm thrilled with this one so far.

My current unfavorite author is Caroline Graham, the creator of the Inspector Barnaby mysteries. (Do you love Midsomer Murders on BBC?) I just finished two of her books in quick succession. I was in a crummy mood when I read the second one and was incensed to find that in the end Barnaby was unable to arrest the murderer. He knew whodunit, he just couldn't prove it. It was very realistic of course, but who needs that? There is far too much reality in the world already.

Graham is actually an excellent writer. Her continuing characters are almost secondary to the intricate communities she weaves for each of her books. I'll read more of her work later, I'm sure.

So, is that way more than you ever wanted to know about what I like to read?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

It's raining here. It never rains in July, but the sky has spit and sputtered at us all week. I fear tonight is the last, however. I have a flaming thunderbolt of a headache, which usually means the weather - or at least the barometric pressure - is changing.
My muse refuses to make an appearance while the head is pounding. Can't really blame him. I wouldn't be here myself if I didn't have to be. Hopefully next week things will be back on track with the writing.
I could use some inspiration, so I think I'll borrow a page from Mindy's book and ask if you have any questions you'd like answered. Anything? Ichabod the Muse sees all and knows all. (Well, not really, but if he doesn't know, he'll make stuff up.)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

How was your weekend?

This sign is why I love Cool Cool City. There is stuff like this all over this town. We followed the road, just to see... There was only an abandoned helium plant at the end. It was very Men In Black with it's uniformly painted buildings all dilapidating in the same uniformly peeling way. There were slightly mysterious bits of machinery all about and slightly innocuous real estate signs posted on the security fence. And the US Department of Interior and the Dim Arts signs posted inside the fence were suspiciously new. Their bright blue paint clashed with the weird peach and orange color scheme of the buildings.

We were on our way to a movie and didn't have time to stop and explore. But maybe next time. (And, uh, if you're willing to help post my bail once I'm arrested for trespassing on Homeland Property, please let me know.)