Monday, September 30, 2013

Scents and Sensibility

Let's talk about fragrances. Perfume, bathroom sprays, and the now popular Glade scent dispensers. I hate them all. Who wants their room to smell like something specific (besides a fabulous dinner cooking with lots of garlic and onion and bacon?) All it does is remind me of a bathroom where someone has done something they wish to cover up so they spray the fragrance. ICK.

I hate the commercials, too. You walk by the dispenser, and it automatically squirts a stream of roses and vanilla beans into the air, which dance around and all of a sudden the room is clean, redecorated, and everyone is having a good time. Really? If I defile my room with your scent, then it's clean, I get a new sofa, and my kids are happy? Aren't you stretching the bounds of truth in advertising just a bit?

I also hate perfume. Yes, I used to wear it. When I was younger and didn't know how many people are allergic to it and what it can do to someone with asthma (or as we now know, vocal chord dysfunction.) (If you want to hear me whine about my health instead of scents, there are plenty of stories...and a search box. I do also have stories without whining.) Perfume makes me gag, not be able to breathe well, and irritates me because people wear such horrid scents, like “grandmas' house which hasn't been cleaned in a while but when she did, she found an old bottle of perfume, long since gone rancid”.

I end up wearing those scents, as well. Hug the wrong person at church and you will smell like their perfume for the rest of the day, unless of course you completely change clothes and wash your hair. There's bad cologne rampant out there, too. Hug the wrong man and woman on the same day and you'll be heading to the shower as soon as you get home. Yes, our church is full of huggers. If it weren't for the scent thing, I'd rather like it. It's better than shaking hands, which hurts my fused wrist. (Yes, you can read about that too. A lot about it.)

I do know of a place you can go where there is a “no scents allowed policy”. When I was spending so much time at National Jewish Health, we had to adhere to guidelines which allowed no lotion, perfume, deodorant, “or scents of any kind.” It was a rather refreshing place to be, well, if you don't count all the tubes shoved in uncomfortable places and other torturous tests. So while the air was clear and nice, what happened there wasn't, so it's not like I'm recommending you seek it out.

So what do you think about the rampant need to change the smell of everything? Do you wear perfume or cologne?

~Tina, who prefers the smell of a sidewalk after rain, but does admit that Colorado really doesn't need any more rain at this time...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tied Up in Bed

Have you ever been tied up in bed? Wait...I didn't really mean it that way. I mean, I WAS trying to get your attention, but I'm not an adults-only blog. What I'm trying to say is: have you ever been tethered in bed by so much medical equipment that you can't really move so sleeping is elusive?

That happens in hospitals, of course. IV, blood pressure cuff, blood ox monitor, those impossibly sticky things with buttons on them for the heart monitor wires to be connected, maybe you're even on oxygen. That scenario describes me last time I was hospitalized.

IF you can sleep (given enough drugs to counteract the other strong drugs that make you hyper like crazy) then you still have to deal with them coming to check your vitals every half hour. Um, aren't you CONSTANTLY checking my vitals with all that equipment? Oh, you have to make patient contact. In the middle of the night. Thanks. Maybe you manage to go back to sleep for (at most half an hour) but you're still all hooked up and those cords and cuffs (might as well be handcuffs...) (nope, still not an adults-only blog) don't make it easy to find a comfortable position. It's maddening, especially since they tell you to “get lots of rest so you can heal.” Maybe if they cooperated...

I had to be tethered last night. I of course always have the ever so comfortable CPAP and its hose, which I have to tuck in just the right way behind my pillow so that I'm not strangled if I roll over. In addition, they need ANOTHER, as in I've been through this particular torture before, overnight oxygen study.

This means I have to have that clippy thing on my finger, which is attached to a box (supposed to be attached) that records the data. To get the clippy thing to stay on my finger, I have to wrap my hand with that self-sticking athletic tape-stuff. So there I am, connected to a hose connected to a machine on my bedside table, and my hand connected to another machine which is quite heavy so I put it under my pillow so it won't slide off the bed, make a big clunk, pull the clippy thing off my finger, and wake me up.

Forget rolling over. I'd have to loosen the pillow's grip on the hose, pick up the box, find a new place for it, re-tuck the CPAP hose, and try to find a comfortable spot for my hand, within reach of the box (about 10 inches). Not worth the trouble. So I make myself semi-comfortable, and will myself to both sleep and not move.

Doesn't work. I wake up around 3 am for a bathroom break and go to pick up the box to bring it with me (easier than having to re-wrap my hand, which I needed help for) but I can't find the box. Clippy thing still attached...but no box. I search. Still no box. I abandon search because I realize that they need at least 6 hours of data, and when I went to bed I was going to barely make it. Now I have no idea how long I've been unplugged, so the 6 hours is out. I'm mad. All that for nothing.

(clippy thing, cord, self-sticking athletic tape-stuff, still no box, I'd need to turn on the light and that would wake up The Engineer who is STILL sleeping, not that I resent that or anything...)

It also means that I get to do all of this again, tonight. If I can find the darn box...

Gots any good medical stories for me? Been tethered? How's your night-time blood oxygen?


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Does Your Palate Have Perfect Pitch?

How would you do in a blind taste testing? The sensory-deprivation (no sight or sound) taste testing during Hell's Kitchen (um, a cooking competition show I enjoy) is one of my favorite challenges. I'm not sure how well I'd do blind-folded, sound canceling head-phones on, being spoon-fed unknown substances, but when OYT and The Engineer wanted “real maple syrup”, I thought I'd see how tuned their palates were.

Perfect pitch refers to the ability to hear a musical note and identify what it is. “Hmm...that feedback is an A-sharp”. Or if you're trying out for choir and they say, “Sing a high-C” can you do it? (I for one cannot. I can tell you if you did it wrong, but I cannot carry a tune if you put it in the basket, strapped the basket to my back, and then gave me a jet-pack...yet I'm cursed with the ability to hear my LACK of ability, and that of others. But I digress...) The Engineer has what I, in my word-nerd mathematical-analogy-ridden brain have come to refer as a perfect-pitch palate.

He can taste a dish at a restaurant and tell you what spices were used, then replicate the dish at home fairly accurately. He doesn't do this nearly enough, and not in a long time, but it's an amazing skill, and again, one I do not have. I can follow a recipe. Very well. But I still need to know what's in it.

I decided that when I put the $11.99 syrup (for 12 ounces) in my cart, instead of the $2.99 version (for 24 ounces) that I would put them to the test to see if it was worth 8x as much. (See! Useful math!) (Which I will explain at the end of the post for you unfortunate souls who got stuck with bad math teachers...)

I put a little bit of each kind on spoons (we had some of the cheap stuff still left at home). They made the mistake of tasting with their eyes first. One kind was very thick and rich looking, the other lighter and runnier. They both declared the cheap, high fructose corn syrup laden artificially flavored syrup much better. Creamier, fruitier flavor, much more pleasant than the slightly woody, thinner stuff.

They were not happy when they realized I had fooled them. OYT, ever the trying-to-please child, said, “Well thanks for the special treat, Mom, but you don't have to buy it again.” And put the cheap stuff on two out of three waffles. The Engineer decided to have eggs instead.

How perfect is your palate? Do you buy real maple syrup? Am I a cruel mom? Do tell...


P.S One way to solve the problem is to make both syrup bottles the same size, so the 12 oz for $12 becomes 24 ounces for $24 dollars (double the size, double the price). Now you can compare $24 for 24 ounces versus $3 for 24 ounces. 3X8=24. It's 8 times as expensive.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Little Bit of Whimsy and a Whole Lotta Fun!

Have you ever fancied yourself an artist, if you only had the chance? Have you ever wanted to take lessons? Do you like to hang out and drink with your friends? If it's even one “yes” then you need to try “Paint and Sip”

This brilliant concept comes from Whimsy Paint and Sip Art Studio.  There are other ways to enjoy their facilities: open studio (come use their supplies, for a fee, paint what you want), kids' classes, and of course, the ever popular Paint and Sip sessions.

I've been twice now and I'm really learning some cool techniques. Everything is already set up for you when you arrive, you just have to show your ID and pick a seat (reservations required). Next you head for the bar! Prices are completely reasonable, and they have quite the selection of non-alcoholic but special drinks, too.

We start with a group toast, and then the teacher begins taking us through the steps of the painting. Very calmly she explains that you just “go for it” and “we can fix most things”. Leaving you to complete just that one step, and let it dry, she cranks up the music (the old rock favorites of the 70s and 80s along with some contemporary music) and then wanders the room answering questions. There are about 35 students, so it's not hard to get her attention if you want help.

So you're painting, and drinking, and giggling with your friends, and watching an actual painting come to life before your eyes. Dancing in your seat, singing along to the music, you realize you CAN make some of the clouds look for away and some near. You learn how to mix paint, how to use the white to your advantage, when your brush should be wet and when it should be drier.

Of course you're not a perfect artist on the first try. The wheat grass still confounds me, though the instructor admitted some ten year old must have rammed my tiny brush into the bottom of the glass and brought me a new one. Helped a lot, but fixing the wheat grass wasn't really an option since I liked my mountains so much.

We (my Swissie and my friend) picked our class not just for scheduling convenience, but for which painting they were featuring. Swissie, who is now a five-time veteran decided to go for the option of painting something else that she liked -their walls are covered with samples from previous classes. That's really nice in another way, too. Scattered around the room they have several versions of the “same” painting so that you can see the variety and non-conformity. Creativity and personal choice is highly encouraged.

I don't know if they have something like this in your area, but I sure hope you do. I've linked their website , and this is their facebookpage. With your permission, they take pictures of you while you're painting and as you're walking out the door with your finished masterpiece. Then you're on fb on their page! Almost famous and all that...(no, as of 6:30 this morning, our pictures weren't up yet.)

As you can see by our grins, a good time was had by all!

Friday, September 20, 2013

And The Rain Came Down (But The Sun Came Out)

And the rain came down
everything was hell
never saw that it was coming
no one rang the warning bell

And the rain came down
in torrents and in sheets
chocolate muddy water
filled up all the streets

And the rain came down
washed away the homes
the rivers left their banks
and found new ways to roam

And the rain came down
neighborhoods were gone
so many people stranded
livestock left without a barn

And the rain came down
flooded streets were closed
the destruction so massive
no one had supposed

And the rain is gone
streets are drying up
people helping people
things are looking up

And the sun came out
drying all the mud
but lots of clean up left
from this massive flood

I've had the chorus to that Travelling Wilburys' song (Tweeter and the Monkey Man) stuck in my head for over a week. The chorus goes:

And the walls came down 
all the way to hell
Never saw them when they're standing
Never saw them when they fell

The poem kinda comes from there.


Book promotion week I'm helping Hart Johnson of Confessions of a Watery Tart (a not-to-be-missed hiLARious blog) promote her latest series. Click on her blog link for all the details.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Flood Update

Since I published two posts on Monday, and blogger didn't like the way I did it and erased the first one, I thought I'd let you know I wrote about the Colorado floods. You can go back and read it here if' you like. You've probably seen some of the pictures and videos and learned about it, but the post is my thoughts and experiences first hand.

Today I thought I'd catch you up. I know it's late in the day for me to post, and that's because of the flood. That probably doesn't make sense, considering my house is on high ground and my friends and family safe (though not all of them dry). It's just that compared to what so many people are dealing with, I'm unscathed, physically. Mentally, I'm actually quite the mess. You know I struggle with depression. This tragedy has magnified it.

I can't seem to find purpose in anything. What does it matter if I have a clean kitchen? I know people whose kitchen floated away down the river. They can't even FIND their house, or what's left of it. They were safe (for a while) staying with friends, and then all of them got airlifted out. They say it will be months until the road will be ready, and then the rebuilding can begin.

The lovely grandma and grandpa who lived across the street from me for 10 years moved three years ago – to the neighborhood hardest hit by this flood. It shouldn't have flooded, except the river was so wide that it found another path down the mountain and into their neighborhood even though the river wouldn't have reached them had it stayed on its path. It over-ran its banks by a half mile, but their neighborhood would have been dry. Rivers and rain and mud seem to have a mind and will of their own when they get this much power and momentum behind them.

I guess I'm just numb. Trying to comprehend the magnitude of the clean-up overwhelms me. I see evidence everywhere – getting around town is an ever changing maze...

So please excuse me if I'm not myself for a while.



You may also be wondering how I can just blithely go on with the book promotions and reminders and the like when all of this is happening. I do that because IT'S SOMETHING I CAN DO to help someone. No, these two friends weren't affected by the floods, but with my physical issues, I can't go shovel mud out of someone's basement, or tear-down dry-wall. But I can help my friends who are realizing dreams and whom I promised to help.

So here's another reminder of where you can find the next installment of the horror story Briane is writing as he promotes his new book.

Temporary Anne:

A contemporary horror classic, "Temporary Anne" presents the terrifying tale of a woman who avoids eternal damnation by sending others to take her place, scrambling to avoid the minions of Mephistopheles while searching for a way to allow her ravaged body to serve her indomitable will. The frightening images -- demons made of ice, babies' souls consumed -- will stick with you for as long as Temporary Anne exists -- which is FOREVER.

Get it on Amazon for $0.99!  

And follow the blog tour to get a live short story, This Is How I..., written based on your suggestions:

1. PART ONE was on Life Is Good on Friday 9/13
2. PART TWO was on Strange Pegs: 9/16
PART THREE IS TODAY:  Laws Of Gravity 9/18


AND A SPECIAL ADDED TREAT: Today, I'm making my book Eclipse available for FREE on Amazon!

Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars, but it was murder to get there: A chilling, mind-bending story of an astronaut so desperate to reach the stars -- and so eager to escape a past that may not exist, "Eclipse" will haunt you the way Claudius' life haunts him.

4.6 of 5 stars on Amazon!

"This book is brilliant. I'm still trying to figure it all out much in the same way that I sit on my couch trying to figure out a David Lynch movie like Mulholland Drive. There is just so much to wrap my head around that it becomes a little mind-boggling."-- Speculative fiction author Michael Offutt.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Taking the World By Storm: CassaStorm is FINALLY Here!

I'm really excited to be part of the crew that is helping Alex J. Cavanaugh launch the last book in his best-selling trilogy! Today is THE big day!  Alex gave us a unique opportunity when we signed up for this gig: ask him anything.  I know a LOT of us have been wondering, jealously...

 How do you find time to do all you do AND work AND have a wife?

Well fortunately I had the wife before all of this began! Part of it is that I just make time. I have a lot of friends online and I enjoy visiting their blogs. My real secret (besides the rumored clones) is my job rocks. I have a couple computers, my laptop, and my iPad – I can do my work, watch a movie, and blog all at the same time. I’ve even brought my acoustic guitar to work a couple times and practiced while doing all of the above. No, you will not be seeing that on YouTube anytime soon…

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“Cavanaugh creates such an unforgettable world, and these characters will stay with you long after their story is over.”
- Cassie Mae, author of Friday Night Alibi and How to Date a Nerd

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera
Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:
Book trailer


Comment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!

 Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website – Alex J. Cavanaugh

Congrats buddy on your latest book!  I wish you all the best!

P.S If you haven't met Mini-Alex yet, here's a peek. Designed by Elise.

You can get your own copy of the t-shirt in the background here at my (and Alex's) buddy Jeremy's t-shirt shop.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Colorado Flood...and a Reminder About How Stephen King Dies

I got a text at 4:40 am. My phone was off, but vibrating, and somehow it woke me up. Good thing. It was the school district letting us know that “due to deteriorating conditions throughout the district and the continued rain and flooding, school will be closed today, Thursday, September 12th.” Hmm, that's weird, we've never had a rain day. I went and turned off alarms, informed (ecstatic!) children of the news, and went back to bed.

When I later watched the news, I saw what all the fuss was all about. The mountain town, Lyons, which is 10 miles west of here and at a higher elevation, had been all but destroyed. The main highway through town and continuing up to Estes Park, had been washed away in several places, and the small, picturesque tourist town's main street (and all of it's cute shops) was under five feet of water. Estes Park was cut off from the world (as was Lyons) and they were airlifting people out. We know many people who live in those towns. It was overwhelming.

Boulder, which is about 10 miles southwest of here, had also experienced flash flooding and several areas of the University of Colorado had been evacuated, and won't be inhabitable the rest of the semester. Several apartment complexes suffered a similar fate. All the major roads in and out were closing as the water rose. The Engineer works in Boulder.

He called me, saying he'd been turned around at the river on two of the main N-S streets through town, (and we knew Main Street was already closed) so maybe he'd just go back to work and wait it out since we live on the other side of the river. I told him he HAD to keep trying to get home. I'd been watching the news. He had not. His cell phone battery was dying. Traffic was horrible. Conditions were changing rapidly. I tried not to freak out. You know me, that didn't work so well.

I'm going to pause the tragedy for some levity. Some of you know that we get teased about our zombie apocalypse preparations. The Engineer has solar panels and a LOT of big, deep cycle batteries, and inverters, and a mostly finished electric car he built himself out of an old Toyota. We can run off grid for a while. We garden, he hunts, we buy in bulk, ridiculous amounts of bulk. We probably have enough food for several families. (And of course toilet paper...)

However, none of the scenarios we had prepared for (and no, we're not those crazy “Doomsday Preppers” we're just an inventor engineer and his along-for-the-ride wife) had included The Engineer NOT BEING HOME. My sister-in-law teased me later (after offering me her kayaks) that she had to run the generator at their house once, but at least she had a manual. Did The Engineer write manuals for his inventions? Um, that would be NO.

Three and a half hours later The Engineer arrives home safely. He had to take quite the circuitous route and sit in a lot of traffic, but he made it.  I relaxed a bit.

The rain continued. They closed schools another day. We all began to realize the magnitude of what was happening as we watched videos and the news and read the on-line version of the paper. Road closures were updated at a ridiculous rate.

Our town was cut in half by the river, and everyone had to stay on his or her side, and HOME. No non-essential travel. I-25 was now closed. Neighborhoods evacuated, one of them 1.5 miles from here, but that at the bottom of a 1.5 mile high hill. We were safe. My friend's parents' house was flooded.

There's so much more to tell. The kindness of strangers, the overwhelming donations to the evac centers, the neighbors helping neighbors so that both houses could be saved, the miracle rescues, the unbelievable tragedy of a whole town washed away. I'm almost numb. We are safe, high, and dry, but so many friends and acquaintances are not and have lost so much. Schools are closed until the earliest return day of Thursday. The rain continues, off and on, and the clean-up will take months.

They're calling it a 500 year flood. As many people have been airlifted out as during Katrina. Almost 800 are unaccounted four. Many have died (no firm numbers as of right now). Please pray for Colorado.


Meanwhile, just a reminder, cuz I keep my promises:

THANKS to everyone who read and participated in Day One of the Temporary Anne blog tour!  The story This Is How I... continues on Andrew Leon's blog, "Strange Pegs."  Click here to go read that post and help decide what happens when the Beast looks at me..  

If you didn't already get it, "Temporary Anne" is free again today, so click this link to download this excellent horror story. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Temporary Anne: Stop 1 on Briane Pagel's Book Tour

Today I'm turning over the reigns to Briane Pagel to help him promote his latest book. Take it away, Briane!

Welcome to DAY ONE of the release tour for my newest book, Temporary Anne.

Temporary Anne is a horror story about a woman so desperate to avoid Hell -- the fate for the evil she's done during her life -- that she makes things infinitely worse after her death.

To celebrate the release, I'm doing a blog tour.  Today is the first day. Here's the schedule for the rest of it:

It's going to last nearly a month, and here's why: Each stop of the tour will feature not just a snippet from Temporary Anne, but the creation of a brand new horror story, written on the go, by me -- with suggestions from you!  The story will grow based on comments from the blogs and the hosts of the blogs, and at the end, you'll have received a FREE horror story, just for reading! THANK GOD FOR AMERICA. And other countries if you belong to those. Except for that country where the Calormenes lived.  Screw them.

So let's get into this.  Here is today's snippet from Temporary Anne. It takes place as Anne has gone for a midnight swim, nude, in front of a lonely fisherman -- only to run into some trouble and start drowning:

What I saw more clearly than the sea was a flowing, pulsing, corpuscle of heat and fire.  Hell is not fire and coals andbrimstone.  It is hot, to be sure, or at least my entryway was because I would get no closer than that at that time.  Hot enough that it felt like my eyeballs were blistering.  Hot enough that my skin felt tight and dry and pulled off and shredding already, even though I knew I was still in the ocean because there it was around me.  But this was not flames and hot rocks and burning trees.  It was like flesh made into fire.  If you have ever seen someone cut open in an operation, and seen the quivering, gelatinous, slobbering mass of cells and slime that make up the layers between our skin, you have seen what my Hell was built of: a flowing, slimy, quivering, pulsating mass of burning material. 

Hell is the inside of a blister that stretches across infinity.  

AND NOW, for the main event:  The Beginning of The Story:

This Is How I…

“This,” I begin, “is how I…”

But I pause.

The expectant faces before me, the throngs of people waiting to hear the story of how I came to write the first-ever horror novel to win all the Nobel Prizes (even Chemistry!), do not see why I pause.

Or I assume they do not.

But I cannot look away.

Having looked up from my notes, having paused to adjust the glasses I wear in order to look more… studious, I cannot now tear my eyes away from the specter I have seen off to the side, but I dare not look directly at it, either.

I want to say, this is always how it is.

I want to turn to the assembled multitude – I see Stephen King there among them, and the Vice President of the United States – and say to them I think this is nothing to worry about, I think this is what I should have expected, but…

I cannot.

Something is… different, this time.

Something is… wrong.

It is not unusual for a writer to imagine, I suppose, that his creations are in fact real, to breathe life into them, to make them real… in his mind.  And for a long time, when I first began writing, that is all I thought these, these, these apparitions, were: real only in my mind.

That is, I would begin to think up a story, I would begin to jot down some ideas here and there, first in a notebook I used to carry with me for that purpose, then on my smartphone, ultimately on a notepad on my tablet, the horrors of yesterday merging with the technology of tomorrow, and maybe that is what did it?

Maybe that is when these things stopped being imaginings that I would toy with as I drove or walked or ate cheeseburgers at the McDonald’s down the road? Maybe when I lent them more and more power – for the energy, once potential, in a pen-stroke in a notebook is surely less than the required batteries of electricity that keep my computers running day and night? – maybe that extra power storing the thoughts I stirred was what brought them to life?


Enough to say they came to life.  Where once I had lay in bed, at night, thinking that the next morning I would get up early, write chapter 2, and ponder what would happen in chapter 2, now, more and more, I did not need to speculate at all, as the things happened before my eyes, with an increasing lifelike cast, and, as you would guess, a corresponding increase in the pall these visions cast over my life.

Who wants to see murderers and ghosts and man-eating insects and the even more esoteric visions my mind could throw at me?

You’d think it would be like being at, maybe, a horror movie festival, and that would be great, if you like horror, right?

You’d think, but two things to keep in mind:

First, who wants to see that all the time, not just for two hours on a screen in a dark theater while you eat popcorn and wait for the credits to roll, but every second of every day, a constant montage of horror and spectacle all around me?

Second, who, subjected to that, wants to have to wonder if this isn’t a hallucination at all, but rather, watch murder and fire and mayhem and monsters around him and think I believe this is real…?

“This…” I tried again, shaking my head to try to get the image out of my mind, “is how I…”

But it was no good, as…


OKAY, your turn: help Tina out.  What happened next? You, and Tina, get to pick:

An event that takes place as I began talking again, and
A character -- name, identity, species all up to you -- who enters the story at this point.
Watch for the continuation of the story on Andrew Leon's Strange Pegs Monday!

AND FOR TODAY ONLY, GET TEMPORARY ANNE FREE!  That's right, FREE! Tell your friends! A this price, it's like you're stealing the book! Take that, Jeff Bezos!

Click on that link to purchase Temporary Anne.
Find Briane here:
"That's a lot of infinity!":

"I sometimes call him Pumpkin Pie.":

"In my defense, I didn't know what whores were" :

This has been a production of the Vince Lombardi fanfic group:

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Dark Side of the Rainbow

If you're a rock and roll fan (of a certain age by now...) or a Pink Floyd fan, then you've probably heard this urban legend. If you start their album “Dark Side of the Moon” when the MGM lion roars for the third time, then the action on the screen (mute the sound of the movie itself) of The Wizard of Oz will eerily align with the album's music.

I've always wanted to try this. Big time Pink Floyd fan here. But it seemed like a lot of syncing to make it happen, and my copy of the album is on vinyl, or MP3 on iTunes, so I'd either have to find a turntable needle, or hook up speakers to my computer. Then rent the movie, then get it all set up to push play at the right time. I was lamenting all of this to The Transporter, who has taken History of Rock and Roll, and two music tech classes, who just rolled his eyes at me (ever the teenager) and said, “They've done it for you. It's on YouTube, the whole thing. Mr. C played it for us in class. It's totally trippy, Mom.”

Last night somehow we ended up on the topic again, and decided that we'd do a viewing after homework and dishes were done.

It IS totally trippy. Pink Floyd's lyrics talk about balancing, while Dorothy is balancing on the corral fence. The music builds to a crescendo as the tornado moves in. Dorothy passes out and the music slows and gets all dreamy as she has her visions while the house spins.

Most dramatic is probably that EXACTLY when the movie switches from black and white to color is when you'd have to switch to the other side of the cassette or record, and “Money” starts playing as she beholds the bedazzled world of Oz.

I could go on and on and on (you've heard me do it before in many a post) but I think you should watch it. Some of the synchronicity is so subtle, but if you're a musician or music fan you'll notice the notes matching character's expressions and actions. Absolutely amazing.

Of course, the album is 43 minutes long, so it ends as Dorothy meets the tin man. How it ends and what the music is doing is another totally awesome “coincidence” that I'll leave for you to discover.

We also watched a video of Nick Mason, the drummer from the band, talking about whether this was on purpose or not. The poster of the video doesn't allow embedding  but here's the link to that conversation.

He denies it by saying wow, someone must have had a lot of time on their hands to work that out. My favorite line was, “I bet if you put on The Wall during Ben Hur that would work, too!”

Regardless, it was a completely enjoyable family viewing experience, and as someone said, “Totally trippy!”

I've put the video up for your reference, but I'm not expecting you to spend the 43 minutes right now.

P.S So who's watching Ben Hur with me? I'll bring The Wall...

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Rule of 16's

It was a good thing that my mom had her sister visiting when I was born. Apparently I was a very difficult, colicky baby, and having my 16 year old aunt there really helped my mom. I'm talking about Amazing Aunt Risky there, in a country (Sweden for you new folks, and thanks for following!) where she didn't speak the language. What she could do was give me her patented knuckle treatment – no, she didn't harm me, I sucked on her knuckles since my mother was determined to stick to a “once every four hours” feeding schedule. It seems I cried the last two hours. Fast forward.

That colicky, cranky, screaming baby is now sixteen. Amazing Aunt Risky's first child, GorgeousGirl is born. I get to watch her, soothe her, hold her, tickle her arm and spoil her every Friday until we moved to Colorado. Fast forward.

I lost touch with GG since moving to CO when I was 18 and she 2, but then when SHE'S 16 (beginning to catch on to the title here?) my son, The Transporter, is born. She flies out for his baby dedication with our mutual grandma Vivian. We've hardly seen each other in the past 14 years, but we hit it off immediately (again) and she bonds, holds, cuddles with and soothes the newborn little Transporter. Do you see where this is going? You might recall that The Transporter is 16...

GG just had her first child, an ADORABLE baby boy just his week. 

                     Proud Papa, the Marine

GG, of course looking Gorgeous, with 3 day old "Froggy"

The rule of 16 continues to apply. Let me sum up:

** Aunt Risky was 16 when her niece (as in me) was born.

** I was 16 when her daughter (GG) was born.

** GG was 16 when my son was born.

** My son IS sixteen and GG's son was just born.
The Transporter, holding a baby for the very first time!

Take that all you math doubters!

Is The Transporter going to have to wait until he's 32 to have a child? Time will tell.