Saturday, March 31, 2012

Feline Friday - Bubbles

Research Scientist Wanted! 

So, the small creatures come out, but when I get rid of one, another one seems to replace it. It doesn't seem to matter if I attack it with my nose or with my paws. Go figure.

Any hints as to the nature of these bizarre creatures would be much appreciated. Funding is limited. Thought the jazz seemed to have little effect on their actions, that may be one research angle.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 11 - Mistaken Identities?

 :: Solday Evening, the 97th of Jhyel's Slumber ::
The cold demons and wind fairies which tried to seduce Theo sang their alluring song, telling him to forget his worries.  Theo, cold and tired, with every part of his body humming and throbbing with pain, found the enchanting aria almost impossible to resist.  The cold snow would cover him in it's deceptive warmth and Majashara would come and put his weary soul to rest. 

"No,” said Theo quietly through gritted teeth.

Rolling up onto one arm, Theo could feel that his limbs were stiff with cold and ache.  Slowly, he began to crawl to the dead, hollowed out tree, where he hoped safety and companionship would save him.  As he moved, feeling began coming back to his limbs.  First only pins and needles, but then actual heat.  With a colossal strength of will, Theo stood.  He staggered towards his haven, tail dragging limply behind him.

"Wine. Lizbeth. King,” he repeated over and over to himself, the mantra that he knew would save him from a frosty tomb.

"I wouldn't mind a bit of help out here,” spoke Theo to the enormous hollowed out tree, finally reaching his goal after what seemed an eternity.

"Friend Theo, you have returned,” came the welcoming, steel voice of Tinker Moab.

"Yes Tinker.  Though I wouldn't mind having a hand inside.  I'm a bit chilly,” said Theo.

Tinker, now noticing Theo's bedraggled form, was almost a silver blur, as he rushed to the scurry's side. 

"I never thought I'd look with this much gratitude at a bed of leaves,” continued Theo, leaning heavily on Tinker's silvery arm, and then finally succumbing to exhaustion.
*          *         *

Passage through the deep snows was impossible, and therefore travel to Argonhurst was postponed until the fury of the storm abated. 

"Saker Cosantine!” screamed Tinker in a voice of distilled hate and rage.  "I've heard that name echoed a thousand times in the pit of my soul.  Why you may have asked why did I spend so much time in that hole?  Why did I waste that time?  But I speak of the present before I speak of the past,” as Tinker ranted.

"Saker Constantine was an Imperial Mongrel.  When the Adjani were a simple people, still luminescent and beautiful, the Mongrels were their close personal advisors, their servants and sometimes their friends.  As the Adjani grew twisted and dark in their ways, the Mongrel followed their masters down that warped path.  The Mongrels became the stories that scared children at bedtime, the exception being that these stories were real.  The Mongrels developed into the assassins and corrupt attendants of the Adjani empire,” as Tinker continued, even the feeble light inside the hollow oak began to dim and falter.

Theo looked around nervously as nearby shadows seem to swell and grow.

"The Adjani would reward the Mongrel for their depraved acts with such things as longevity or resilience to harm."

"Your not suggesting that this Saker is the same Saker that Theo overheard them talking about?” said Cory in disbelief, now awake and recovering, albeit slowly ("thank you very much")

"The powers that the Adjani wielded are beyond comprehension by the standards of the present.  Saker could have easily been awarded a life-span measured in epochs,” explained Tinker.  "For the present, it is enough that you know that I hate him with a passion deep and true, for he deprived me of the one thing that had given existence meaning to me."

With that, Tinker seemed to sink into a coma of thought which none of the scurries could coax him out of.

*          *         *

The morning of Solday lived up to it's namesake, being bright and sunny, with a few tenacious clouds galloping across the blue fields of the sky.  Fortunately, Tinker's morose, thoughtful mood had also diminished considerably.  All three of the scurries had benefited heartily from the three nights and two days of rest. 

Though his mind still weighed heavy with the assassination plot, Theo could almost forget these matters, being close again to his friends and finally, after what seemed an eternity, to be heading for home, Lizbeth and a plenitude of Cory purchased red wine.  The snow was deep and the going hard, but even with these things, the four found the passage enjoyable, considering the last few days of weather-enforced imprisonment.

"I can taste the red wine now!” said Theo, spirits high.

"Duyna has been driven from my mind by these hardships.  I'll never even *consider* another of these foolish quests” said Cory, with a determined voice and set face.

Theo and Saw rolled their eyes, knowing full well that that was what Cory said after *all* of his quests.

"Certainly, certainly,” said Theo in a humoring tone, vigorously nodding and trying not to laugh while doing so.  "It's amazing how well we've come through all of this, though,” Theo thought to himself, as he looked over his jovial friends.  Saw especially caught Theo's attention as being made of sterner stuff than Theo could have guessed.

Though Tinker did not participate in the good natured banter, an occasional chuckle could be heard from his direction as he picked up on some joke or bit of conversation.

"This deep snow looks like it's starting to wear Theo down!  Why don't we find a place to rest for the evening,” said Saw, throwing Theo a cheerful smile.

*          *         *

After camp was set up, it was apparent that a day spent with vivacious scurries had completely pulled Tinker from his quiet and thoughtful mood.  As the four sat in the makeshift camp, Tinker began to speak.

"Centuries of pondering my past was truly enough.  But still my thoughts linger there, so I shall tell you a story of the gods, a story which shall hopefully guide you into Casastan's peaceful realms,” said Tinker.

"As you know, Solenari and Udiah, the goddess and god of the sun and moon, were lovers from the very beginnings of Zéaon .  Solenari and Udiah were always together and there was no distinguishing between day and night, for day and night were blurred into one.  So always were the heavens illuminated by there celestial brilliance."

"But after a time Zéaon suffered from the abundance of light, for to appreciate the light, one must also taste the darkness.  The oceans, seas and lakes began to warm and all of Zéaon's life began to wither and die.  So it was with heavy heart that Zophian told the two they must part, that there might be times when darkness would reign upon Zéaon."

"Solenari was greatly saddened, but understood the necessity that they should part.  She only asked that they might, at times throughout the ages, still come together in the heavens.  This Zophian could grant, and so whenever an eclipse occurs, it the two making love in the heavens."

"Udiah however was embittered by being forced from his love and his light, and as a result, grew dim, and dwindled in his brightness.  Thus was he the one who would stand watch over night.  Yet still is he kissed every night by the gentle rays of Solenari, to remind him of the times that they would be together and so not forever turn his back to the light."

Theo, as well as Cory and Saw, had of course heard the popular myth before, but never told with such passion or skill.  The three, cramped into Theo's small tent, drifted off to pleasant dreams and thoughts of home.

*          *         *

Theo almost wept with joy when the stone and mortared Northgate came into view.  Though the least used of the three gates that surrounded Argonhurst, it was still as heavily guarded.  As the four unlikely companions walked towards the gate, an armed detachment of guards, larger than normal, began to approach Theo, who was in the lead.

"Theodore Bramblerun?” spoke a guard of average build and dark red hair.  He seemed to be in charge, judging from the confidence in his voice and the loose and easy way that he held his spear.  He was also brave, considering the minimal hesitation he had upon seeing Tinker.

"A welcoming party, apparently you've already heard of my exploits in Tisden Weald and my heroic reputation precedes me!” spoke Theo splendidly.

"You are under arrest for the crime of high treason,” said the commanding guard, producing iron shackles as he approached Theo.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Beard Begone!

Last Thursday, my commuting buddy and I finished this great Radiolab, which was great. Escape! talked about a guy who escaped from prison loads of times, about the Voyager space probe and phone freaking, and managed to tie it all together with a neat little bow.  Great episode. 

'70's Fu Handlechu
The Scruffster
Friday evening involved my shaving. The final votes tallied, and I arrived at something of a Fu Manchu / Handlebar compromise, not having dedicated the months required for a good ol’ stretch of Fu Manchu action. I raised $76.50 for a water bottle rocket launcher, a Wimshurst static electricity generator, or perhaps a gallium spoon mold.

The votes for the others?

#4 - French Fork - 1 Vote
#5 - Handlebar and Chin Puff - 18 Votes
#12 - Hulihee - 2 Votes
#14 - Franz Jozef - 26 Votes
#16 - Napoleon III & Imperial - 1 Vote
#18 - Fu Manchu/Handlebar - 66  Votes WINNER!!!!!!!!!!
#20 - Dali - 2 Votes
#22 - Sparrow - 4 Votes
#25 - The Zappa - 22 Votes
#27 - Handlebar and Goatee - 1 Vote
#30 - Pencil Thin Mustache - 1 Vote
#31 - Super Mario - 9 Votes
#32 - Handlebar - 2 Votes
#33 - The Mighty El Insecto - 2 Votes
#34 - The Half Right - 2 Votes
#35 - The Half Wrong - 4 Votes

Chika wasn’t feeling so hot on Saturday, so I did a lot of reading, and nearly finished Wildwood, by Colin Meloy. I *love* the Decemberists (Meloy is the lead singer-songwriter), but the book was a serious letdown, primarily due to foolish decisions on the parts of the main characters, and some instances of lazy plotting. I’m sad to say that immersion in the cool world was very difficult for me.

I also went out and bought a whole bunch of terra cotta pots, which I then put to use on Monday!

Sunday finished, painfully and finally, Wildwood, then mostly finished my critical response paper for the book.

Monday I had an acupuncture appointment. Aaaaaaah. Relaxing.

Yesterday I went out and got a bunch of wee seedling, rescuing them from the weed-whacker zone. Two silver oak, a holly, some kind of evergreen shrubby type thing and a mystery tree.
Wee Seedlings Five

Tonight promises to be a fairly mellow evening.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Live Tunes Tuesday - The Devil Makes Three

If I were to be completely honest, I’ve been putting off this review for about five weeks, savoring the anticipation of writing it because I’m riding the buzz. I learned of The Devil Makes Three about three months ago because they were opening up for Flogging Molly, and I was wondering if the opening bands were any good. So I wandered yonder over to youtube, and here’s the video that blew me away:

Bluegrass punk? Perhaps folk punk? Regardless of classification, I had their song completely stuck in my head, so I picked up the band’s 2002/2007 self-titled album, The Devil Makes Three. Which you need to buy right now. 

The Devil Makes ThreeIt looks like this (at right) and, did I mention that you should buy it?  Buy it here!  Or support them even more and buy it at their website! No, I don't work for this band, they're just that good. They're like a punk bluegrass version the best band you can think of!

I’d have to put The Devil Makes Three among my top ten favorite bands. What are my criteria? Well, excellent lyrics is very high up on the list, as are catchy tunes. And how about album strength?  Well, if I listen to one of their albums and ALL of the tracks are good, we’re off to a good start.  But is the band a one hit album wonder? Not in this case!  All their albums rock.

I challenge you to go to youtube and listen to any of these songs and not think they're fantastic:

          1. The Plank
          2. Graveyard
          3. Beneath the Piano
          4. Ten Feet Tall 
          5. Shades 
          6. Old Number Seven 
          7. Chained to the Couch 
          8. To the Hilt 
          10. ForMy Family
          11. Nobody's Dirty Business 
          12. Dynamite 
          13. FunHas Just Begun 
          14. Oceans Cold

Do you know how long it takes to make each of the above songs above a hyperlink?  That’s love!

Check out their website.

Dude, they’re in my TOP TEN BANDS! Within the span of two months, I bought all of their albums. You can't go wrong with any of them. You also need to check them out live, or at the very least stalk them on youtube until you’re a junkie and they’re your heroin.
Funny Face Picture - Me in Moxie, Uninspired Funny Face :(

Members (courtesy of Wikipedia)

  • Pete Bernhard - Guitarist
At the Handlebar, Greenville, SC

  • Lucia Turino - Upright Bassist
At the Handlebar, Greenville, SC

  • Cooper Mcbean - Guitarist and Tenor Banjo 
At the Handlebar, Greenville, SC

Monday, March 26, 2012

Movie Review Monday - The Hunger Games

I won’t mince words: The Hunger Games is fantastic.

The acting is top notch on every front and the dystopian vision is well-handled, especially considering the fact that there’s little exposition, the background and backfill for the world, as the storyline is well woven into the threads of the movie. All of the actors were perfectly chosen for their roles. The true standout is Jennifer Lawrence, which is hardly a surprise considering the knockout job she did in Winter’s Bone, but the acting is fabulous all the way around.
The book and its dark vision translates well to the big screen, probably in part due to the author, Suzanne Collins’, input.

Really and truly the only things that prevents this from being a 5.0 star movie are the few scenes where there’s a bit of drag. I don’t see a way around these scenes, as they’re important in preventing the movie from moving towards a typical, little-time-to-breathe blockbuster, so perhaps I’m just being stingy.

So go see The Hunger Games, it’s accolades are well-earned.

4.5 / 5.0

Cast list (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feline Friday - And Eat It, Too!

Let's just put some ridiculous rumors to rest. 

Cats  ≠ Carnivores.

Okay, it's true, it's true. We're, like, 98% carnivorous.

But then there's...CAKE!

Mom Made Banana / Chestnut Cake! It smells *really* good!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 10 - A Potentially Fatal Encounter Between Ehzu and Theo

:: Jhinday Evening, the 93rd of Jhyel's Slumber :: 

"You're a fool Zurg, how could you possibly lose three miserable scurries from a *guarded* pit!” continued the tirade.

"Your first question I can answer, Corbin.  The first scurry knew nothing, he was but a foolish scurry upon some fanciful quest.  The second came to rescue the first.  We were not able to interrogate the last before the escape.  I highly doubt that they could have known anything” came the second high-pitched, gravely voice, a voice which was surprising well spoken, but could still not escape the annoying nasal quality that accompanied all grovel's speech.

  "You'd best be sure, you know how our employer is, he's very meticulous.  *I* especially have a score to settle with that scurry!  Unfortunately, we couldn't track them because of the blizzard and they could be anywhere by now with the aid of the steel golem.  Why was the golem in that hole!” ranted the first voice, Corbin.

"He'd been there countless years, I myself had inspected him and believed he was nothing but scrap metal.  He was ignored by my predecessors and he was ignored by me,” explained the grovel voice of Zurg, in a whiny effort to escape blame.

"Wonderful!  Blame the dead, they'll hardly defend themselves!  You're a genius Zurg, you've stumbled upon the perfect scapegoats!” bellowed Corbin.  "Never mind!  You say they didn't know anything?!"

"Of course they didn't Corbin, they were only scurries, I told you,” explained Zurg in a profoundly obsequious tone.

"Fine, has Saker Cosantine accepted the task?” continued Corbin, changing the topic of his harangue.

"He took the gold and said that we should consider the doddering old fool as good as dead,” said Zurg, thankful to have the conversation move on to matters for which he wasn't at fault.

"By the first days of Solenari's Awakening, good King Orson will be supping with Daemoaz."

Theo stumbled back under the weight of that declaration.  Theo could almost see the words burned into the air with prophetic power.  Unconsciously backing towards the whole in the back of the room, Theo could feel the pottery crunch under his foot.  Cringing, he stopped dead in his tracks.

"Did you hear something?” came the questioning tone of Corbin.

Theo bolted for the hole and felt the blizzard hit him as if he'd been dipped in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean.  Over the pitched howl of the wind, he could barely hear the voice tumble through the small hole which had been his salvation only moments before. 

"I should have fed the rats, they're smashing things up in my workshop..."

*          *         *

Theo's fingers were almost completely numb again, not having had a chance to completely recover in the grovel hut.  As he climbed, Theo dug his fingers into the hard mantle of snow and ice which encrusted the giant oak.  The cold was forcing tears to his eyes, tears which were freezing to his fur and making his eyelids periodically stick together.  The wind dancing in Theo's ears was apparently wielding daggers, because with every periodic gust, Theo's head ached with pain.

"Keep going.  Keep going.  Keep going,” Theo repeated to himself over and over, knowing that if he stopped, Solenari's rays would play upon his frozen, lifeless body in the morning.

Theo leapt from branch to bough, oak to maple, each leap becoming more and more dangerous as the blizzard gathered force.  Also keeping Theo moving was the fact that, as far as he knew, he was the only one who could stop the death of King Orson.  Ice was collecting on his fur, and the few fruitless attempts to knock off the extra weight only seemed to make matters worse.

Theo, after what seemed an eternity of being weak and deadened by cold, saw the hollow log that was currently serving as he and the other scurries' shelter. 

Making the final leap, Theo felt his numb fingers grasp at the coat of ice which covered the thick limb of the immense elm ... and slip.  The hard ground, now covered in ice and snow, rushed to greet Theo in its rocky embrace.  

Theo stretched for any means of deliverance, anything that might at least slow the speed of his descent.  He could feel the cool wind rushing past him, whispering that these were his final moments.

A final stretch proved to be all that Theo needed, as he grasped a limb heavy with frost.  Every cord, muscle and sinew was stretched to near breaking as Theo smashed into the trunk of the birch.


Falling the rest of the way, Theo landed hard in large drift of snow which was piled against the trunk of the large tree.

"Casastan, I apparently owe you a debt of gratitude.” 

Theo lay in the bank of snow and felt the dagger's of cold cut through his fur.  The hag of winter was in a foul mood this evening.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Nihon to Éire go Brách!

Thursday is Thursday. Funny thing about Thursday is I never remember what I did on Thursdays.

On Friday I wrote like a crazy person, or at least tried to write like a crazy person. Stupid internet is so distracting.

Nihon to Éire go Brách!  St. Patty’s Saturday, but more importantly, my wonderful Chika’s birthday. I woke up before Chika and zipped to get her some flowers at Trader’s Joes, because I’d seen some calla lilies there earlier in the week and those are her favorite. But sadly, TJ’s  were out of calla lillies. I made do with red roses and some beautiful magenta wax flowers. 

Chika's Birthday Flowers
I had her flowers, my present (a new dress, half present for me because I get to see her wearing it!) and the homemade card waiting for her when she got up. Well, actually, I had them almost ready when I got up, sent her back to bed, and then brought them to her in bed three minutes later.

I Lost  - Bday Stroke Penalty
Then Chika got ready for the day and we relaxed a bit We walked downtown to enjoy the weather, heading to meet our friend Ken at 12:30 for our reservations at the Green Room in downtown Greenville. Mmmmm. Shrimp Po’ Boy. Our friend Ken had to go to work, we went to play mini-golf. I would have won, but because of the self-imposed birthday handicap, I lost by one. 

Chika's Mad Mini-Golfing skillz!
Then we were off to Barley’s for a beer, where I also lost at darts because I gave Chika some of my bullseyes as birthday presents.

The sushi counter at Miyabi for dinner!  YUM!

Loads of people turned out for Chika's birthday, wearing her favorite color, green. Chika was really touched.

Dart Ace!
Sunday I literally wrote like a lunatic, as I was so far behind. Though we did take a break and go to Lake Conestee Park . Rescued some oak seedlings to grow: one in a terrarium, one in a pot, one in a tomato can.

Chika & Travis on the Tourist Bus
Loads of People Turned Out for Chika's B-day!
Monday I did a bit of writing and reading and repotted the oak seedlings!
Rescued Wee Oak Seedlings

Tuesday we visited Chill City.  There are loads and loads of wisteria around our house and they smell heavenly!

Tonight we ate at Kannika’s Thai Restaurant and I had a wondrously delicious vegetable masaman curry.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Live Tunes Tuesday - Phillip Roebuck - One Man Band

Phillip Roebuck - One Man Band
When I went to buy the ticket for The Devil Makes Three at the Handlebar, the woman who was working the door asked if I’d ever seen Phillip Roebuck. My reply, “I’ve never even heard of him.” Her reply, “You’re in for a treat.”

So of course I went and looked him up on youtube (videos below).  Wowzers!

And boy was the woman who worked the door ever right. I was excited to see this guy.

If you’re a fan of one man bands, or of slide guitar, or of banjo, you have found your man. Roebuck is a fast-tambourining, drum-thumping, tightly contained ball of energy on stage.

I usually do my part to support local artists that I like by buying their albums when I see them live. Roebuck is no exception.  But listen, if they don’t catch my fancy, then I won’t buy their album. In the case of Roebuck, I rushed back to buy the album and, wanting to get the album signed, kept looking back from the stage before TDM3 came out to see if Roebuck was there.

My favorite tracks on FeverPitch are Monkey Fist, Little Bo Peep and Pocket Knife. If you’re into slide guitar or banjo, check out Roebuck he does ‘em both together!

Here are the two youtube videos that wowed me:

Monkey Fist:

Little Bo Peep

Check out if Phillip Roebuck is going to be in your area on tour

Members (courtesy of Wikepdia)

  • Phillip Roebuck  J

Monday, March 19, 2012

Movie Review Monday - The Legend of 1900

The Legend of 1900 - Watch. It. ASAP!
It’s unlikely that you’ve seen The Legend of 1900, but it’s a small tragedy if you haven’t. The story is related in flashback by Max Tooney, played pitch perfect by Pruitt Taylor Vince, and all revolves around a single record of a song owned by a pawn shop broker. The song is heartbreakingly beautiful and no other copies of it exist. The legend begins in earnest when we meet 1900, masterfully played by Tim Roth. I’m not the biggest fan of adverbs, and I certainly am not using ‘masterfully’ lightly, but because of the role he played in this movie, Mr. Roth became my favorite actor for a number of years (right up until the abysmal remake of Planet of the Apes…ugh!)

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that this movie isn’t for everyone. Some might think it on the slow side, whereas I find it a leisurely ride through a wondrous tale and for me it’s on my top twenty movie list, which is really saying something because I’ve seen a looooooooooot of movies. Perhaps the movie doesn’t get its due in part because of its Italian director, Giuseppe Tornatore?  But it’s all in English, no subtitles, so that can’t be used as an excuse. Regardless, I feel the movie is criminally unappreciated.

The movie is just lyrically so beautiful and sad and wonderful, filled with touching moments of happiness, and moments that truly make your heart ache. For me it wove a spell, created a magical world that I didn’t want to leave.

Unfortunately, it might be tricky to track down a copy of the movie. Netflix doesn’t even recognize it as a movie, though you can see two of Tornatore’s other movies, Malena and Cinema Paradiso, which also happen to be fantastic. If you luck into a copy, from your library or a friend or stopping in to see me, watch the movie and you won’t regret your time.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Feline Friday - It's a Man's World

Dad's a little upset with me because I didn't post my Friday blog on time. I was stuck in hold-limbo with Greenville DOT and Greenville City Hall, trying to apply for an ID Card, birth records, proof of identification, etc. which, as a cat is no mouse picnic.
Note Glazed Look from Hours and Hours in Hold Limbo

Human this, human that. It's tougher to do *everything* if you're a cat. You humans think you own the world. But word on the street from this kitty? You humans have to step down off your high horse because you just ain't all that.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Theo Thursday Pt. 9 - A Blizzard and a Daring Rescue

 :: Early Jhinday Morning, the 93rd of Jhyel's Slumber ::
"Uh-oh.  Company!  Looks like you're right Tinker, let's go."

Outdistancing the grovels wasn't very difficult, with their short legs and peculiar gait, the pursuers were unable to gain even short bursts of speed.  With the unconscious forms of both Saw and Cory nestled in the powerful steel cords that were Tinker's arms, the unlikely pair passed swiftly through the hostile forest.  As the unlikely allies attempted to elude the violent cries and stunted forms behind them, a gentle snow, light but persistent, began to fall from the dark night sky.

"That'll teach them to try and chase a scurry!”  Theo chuckled breathlessly, as the last of the clamorous noises of the grovels dropped behind them.

"The snow will cover our tracks, we'll be able to stop soon,” replied Tinker, apparently not even winded from the strenuous exertion of escaping and carrying two unconscious scurries.

"I miss Old Grey, I miss Kindle, too,” muttered Theo morosely to himself.  "Maybe they'll let me trade Saw and Cory for them,” he added, brightening a bit.

"You know that you couldn't trade yourself because you're not worth enough.  They wouldn't give you a pawshake for your hide,” retorted Cory weakly.

"Why, Cory, you're alive!  That's wonderful because I've lost *count* of how much red wine you owe me!  Though if you bought the Coven Sea and turned it into Thousian wine, that might *begin* to cover the tab!"

"Always the rapier wit Theo...” whispered Cory hoarsely in a sarcastic tone, apparently fading off into unconsciousness again.

"We should begin looking for protection from the elements for you and your friends, though I'm carrying them as gently as I can, they would be far better off resting in some form of shelter.  I believe that we have lost our grovel followers,” Tinker said to Theo, gesturing with his head to Cory and Saw.

"You don't suppose that there's an inn around here somewhere?” said Theo, looking about hopefully.

*          *         *

"I could *almost* get used to this,” thought Theo to himself, nestled in the cool confines of a hollow tree.  "What am I thinking, you foolish scurry,” he berated, catching himself in the ridiculous thought.  "No pretty lasses, no red wine, no good music ... could anything be worse." 

And with the satisfaction that Tinker was keeping a watchful eye on himself and his friends, Theo drifted off into dreams of Lizbeth and sleep, with little more than a casual glance over at Saw and Cory, nestled comfortably in their oak leaf bedrolls.
*          *         *

"I thought you might be hungry, so I took the opportunity to gather some acisha nuts, irga root and some spring water,” said Tinker to a bleary-eyed Theo.

Small bits of snow where slowly melting on Tinker's silvery surface, and looking past him, Theo could see that it nothing short of a blizzard was striking Tisden Weald.  To Theo, looking with half lidded eyes through a soft morning haze, Tinker seemed a beautiful harbinger sent by Jyhel.

"A king could not ask for more, Tinker” replied Theo, gratefully savoring an acisha nut.  An acisha nut, which Theo didn't doubt, was the best one he had ever eaten.  After washing it down with some icy water, Theo began absentmindedly munching on an irga root, savoring its earthy, bitter taste.

As he gnawed, Theo pondered his options.  Though terribly anxious to return home to red wine and female companionship, Old Grey and Kindle were like trusted friends and Theo was loathe to leave them behind. 

Apparently the acisha nuts were aiding in the scurries' thought processes, because a plan began to slowly form in his mind.

"Wait a grain! This blizzard, which I would normally consider a bothersome nuisance, would be wonderful to cover one scurries entrance and exit out of a grovel village.  Theo, you've truly outdone yourself this time, you're a marvel” smiled Theo, basking in the glow of his own brilliance.
*          *         *

Looking down from his treetop hiding place onto the peaceful grovel village, which was now covered in a pale cloak of snow, the town looked peaceful and *almost* beautiful.  Thankfully, Saw had woken up, and though groggy, gave some clues, from his brief glimpses of the vicinity, as to where they might have taken Old Grey and Kindle.

"Let's see, Saw mentioned the remains of a rusted, cauldron,” thought Theo, as he slowly scanned the village, trying to discern what white heap would be the most likely candidate for a cauldron.  "I don't even see any of those filthy, ugly little faces, grovels must be afraid of the cold."

But travel through the branches, even to Theo's intuitive scurry grip, had been arduous at best.  The snow was piling up fast and the boughs of most trees were slick with ice.  Theo's hands were all but completely numb, and he breathed frosty tendrils of breath into his closed palms in a seemingly futile effort to warm them.

"Ahhh, hell-o, *that* must be a cauldron,” said Theo, espying the shattered remains of a cast iron cauldron, it's belly smashed and gaping, swallowing more snow with every passing wick.

Making good his namesake, Theo scurried softly down the trunk of the large oak which he'd been perched in, and quietly crouched in a snowdrift piled against the hovel of his interest.  Surveying the situation, Theo quickly found a loose log in the ramshackle hut.  Sticking an eye and a whisker into the said opening, he pulled himself into one of the two rooms of which the shack was composed.  Wrinkling his nose, Theo was assaulted by the smell of rancid meat and unwashed bodies.

"I don't recall ever smelling anything *worse*!” grimaced Theo to himself.

Resisting the urge to call for Kindle and trying not to gag on the stench, Theo mutely began to search the filthy room.               

On a cluttered workbench strewn with small bits of rat, dead frogs, black vials and other un-nameables, Theo found the object of his search.  Peeling off a dried worm and what looked to be a toad belly, Theo pushed Kindle into the belt at his side.  A few moments later, Old Grey was pulled down from a peg driven into a half-rotten log that composed part of a wall.

"I'll *never* lose you again, old friends!” whispered Theo, almost hugging Old Grey while he caressed Kindle's hilt.

Then Theo, hearing the sound of two people entering the room, froze.

"Can you at least tell me if the scurries *knew* anything!” came the deep, gruff voice, which was decidedly not that of a grovel.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wonderin' Wanderin' Wednesday - Writing, Writing, Writing

Thursday?  Thursday?  Hmmm.  What did happen last Thursday?

Friday, Saturday & Sunday I wrote. Then I wrote some more. And then, guess what, I wrote a little more, and then a lot more. First, comments. That’s it. 75 students, a short paragraph or so for each student. One weekend. I got some writing done too, but not as much as I would have liked. I did happen to finish the books that I have to write critical response papers for. Yikes. Seriously behind the eight ball for MFA Packet #3. I did squeeze in the first episode of Fringe, and finished ‘I Am One of You Forever’, by FredChappell, which was really good.

Monday I started my ‘Mr. Burnham’s Bodacious Beard Ballots’ in order to raise money for either a Wimshurst Electostatic Generator or a Water Bottle Rocket Launcher or both, which is pretty freakin’ unlikely, but would be awesome if it came to pass.  I used this picture that I got offline to allow the students, teachers and parents to make choices. For $0.50 a vote, I will shave my beard into the crazy shape that wins the most votes. Not pictured is ‘The Half Right’ and the ‘The Half Wrong’, which is shaving one half or the other of my beard. I’ll wear the beard from 2-5 days, depending on the “Social Acceptability Quotient”. I am trying to buy a house after all, and going to the bank with my face half shaved would probably go over like a lead balloon.

facial hair types chart 

Right now the 'Handlebar & Chin Puff' and 'The Zappa' are vying for first place.

Tuesday was writer’s group, and Lindsay, Debbie and Sonja, all current or graduated members of Converse’s MFA program are wondrous writer’s all, with most excellent constructive criticism.

Wednesday I had SWAD for dinner. Chika and I got dos veggie burgers. Adam D. gave us a call and may come down to visit us over Spring vacation, which would be very cool. Finally finished 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius'. I am SO far behind. And now, back to working on ‘A Map to the Heart of London', which got its start here.

PS: Only three days left to St. Patty's Day, March 17th, and my wonderful, beautiful wife's birthday!

And this is a bit too entertaining not too post, my interest in beard shaving at an all time high: 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Live Tunes Tuesday - Black Joe Lewis

Black Joe Lewis
I saw Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears open up for Flogging Molly. I’d purchased their album, Scandalous, before catching the show, which I feel is like sort of doing your homework. I was excited to see them, mostly on the strength of this one song and video, Mustang Ranch, which is simply fantastic:

They’re definitely showmen the lot. Black Joe Lewis and all the Honeybears played some wild stuff and got the Orange Peel hopping. And the music they played was great, but there’s a big but, which is possibly just a but for me…

They spent almost no time forming a rapport with the audience. They said a few things. A couple things. But there were no little stories, no jokes, and just not a lot of talking. Now I think that, perhaps, if I’d been following them for ages and ages, that I might have enjoyed having nothing but the music to speak for the group. But for me, I didn’t know them all that well and I wanted to.

So I didn’t feel a connection with them and, even though I really grooved on their music, I wasn’t wowed.

But it was still really freakin’ cool when BJL played the guitar with his teeth.
BJL Playing the Guitar w/ His Teeth!

And the horn section was just awesome.
The Honeybear Horn Section

As was their presentation.
Wall o' Strings
Members (courtesy of Wikepdia)
  • Joe Lewis
  • Matt Strmiska
  • Zach Ernst
  • Bill Stevenson
  • Jason Frey
  • Derek Phelps
  • Joe Woullard
Honeybear Bassist

Honeybear Backup Guitar