Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


Happy Halloween to all of you who celebrate the day.
For those of us of Celtic heritage, Happy Samhain (pronounced /‘s-aun/)

What ever you do… be safe and have fun.

Happy Halloween everyone.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nightmare

Have you ever had anything that really scared you? You know what I mean, that deep down in the core of your soul scared. I’ve been scared. I kinda like to be scared. But the movie kind of scared. What Alfred Hitchcock called “the bomb under the table” kind of scared. The scared where everything is building up to the traumatic event and leaves you looking around corners as you leave the movie theater. The fun kind of scared.
Last night was not the fun kind of scared.
We had just gotten home from a family Halloween party where the kids laughed and played games and danced. It was a lot of fun. But, we all probably had just a little to much candy, cookies, cake, and what not, because we all went to bed with bellyaches.
I slept pretty well until 12:30am when I awoke to hear my youngest daughter, Ally, whimpering in bed. Her room is next to ours. I’m not sure if I’m just a really light sleeper, or if I’m just keyed to certain sounds, but I woke up. Then she called my name, “Daddy!” So I got up. Before I even reached the door of my room she lets out a scream that could have woke the dead. Horrible, blood curdling scream of absolute terror, the kind of scream you hear just before the slasher jumps from the dark shadows in those movies.
So now I’m running and I find her standing in her bed, up against the wall staring at her open closet door.
I don’t need to tell you that my “fight or flight” mechanism is now pumping copious amounts of adrenalin into my system. So I pick her up and she clings to my neck and is just shaking. So I close her closet door, and calm her down. We talk for a few minutes and sing a primary (Sunday school) song and I put her back in bed with her “pinky bear.” Then, I go back to bed, even though I know that I ain’t gonna get back to sleep. That scream shook me. A few minutes later, she calls my name again and I go in to get her. This time she wont let go of my neck, so I took her into bed with my wife and I. At some point, she sits bolt upright and points to the door of our room, she’s clearly scared and said, “there he is!”
“There who is?” asks my wife.
“Evil Chase!” Ally says, and her hand is moving to follow what ever it is she is seeing and is apparently moving around our room. At this point I’m getting scared. The core scared that I was talking about. So I turn on my bedside lamp and she calms down because what ever it is she was seeing is now gone with the light.
I should explain at this point, I have a nephew named Chase. He’s a cute little guy who is about a year younger than Ally. They had been playing together at our family party, she was Dorothy, and he was a Power Ranger. So I’m sure that she had had a nightmare about “Evil Chase,” the memories of which has followed her into my room.
Anyway, we said a prayer, and she calmed down, and at about 2:30 she finally fell asleep and I was able to carry her back to her room where she slept the rest of the night. But I will never forget the feeling of last night, where even I, “the big strong Daddy, fearless defender of the home” was afraid of the dark and what lurks in it.
I feel that I must explain that I do not, in anyway believe in ghosts, shadow people, aliens, alternate dimensions, omniversal quanta, vampires, werewolves, or the boogieman. But I think, that since I’m an Elder in our church, and since tonight is Family night, we will probably be rededicating our home. I think that at least I may sleep better.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Halloween!

So…
I’m reading Dracula, by Bram Stoker for the fifth time because the book club I belong to thought that it would be a good read for Halloween. Which it is. It’s a great book that everyone should read it at least once, because it’s brilliant… but… my reader’s block rages on. I just can’t get into it.
I thought that if I read it with a purpose, with a goal in mind, maybe I would be able to overcome my little problem. So I started reading, and taking note of all the references to “thirst,” “vein,” “heart,” and “blood,” and then noting the context in which they occur. Boring you say? Not so much. I really enjoy doing readings like that. Especially with a book I’ve read several times.

So what is it about Vampires that fascinate so many people? I think that it’s because the vampire is an intelligent monster. Usually good looking and sexy, strong and ruthless, but capable of being vulnerable. They are not the mindless killers from the slasher films featuring Jason, Freddy and that ilk. There is something… human…. about them. And maybe that’s what we like about them.



Take, for instance, Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was one of the most heartless killers in Europe before he was cursed by having his soul given back. I found him to be dark and brooding, and not in a good way. My wife… she just thought he was hot.
I liked Spike, form the same series. Here’s a vampire I could get behind. Spike saw the world as a giant Happy Meal, full of juicy people nuggets, but he fell in love with the slayer, and that just pissed him off. What a study in duality.



Then there’s Louis from Interview with a Vampire. (the book… not that crappy movie). He so wanted to be human again, so wanted to be out from under Lastat’s thumb, and to be free from his curse. Refusing to take humans by drinking the blood of animals to quench his thirst.
I love that!



There are so many others… Blade, The death dealer chick from Underworld, the Twilight books, Amy, Evil, and Jerry from Fright Night, (I have always thought that Amy was Hot when she got her vamp on), and who can forget the Lost Boys. I could go on and on. But that would be boring.



So it’s Halloween, and if you would like, be a vampire. But do me a favor, don’t dress like Bella, paint your face white, slip in some of those cheep glow in the dark fangs, wear a plastic cape, or have blood dripping from the corners of your mouth… that’s just cheesy. Do it right. Be yourself… as you would be if you were just bitten. That’s the fun of being a vamp.



Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Book Wasteland


I am so needing a book right now. I started reading The Golden Compass by… some guy that I can’t remember right now… and put it down after 100 pages.
I’ll give any book 100 pages, and if the author has failed to intrigue me enough to read page 101 then I put it on the shelf to maybe be picked up at a later date.
So… now I am finding myself in a book wasteland with no idea what I want to read next.
Being that it is Halloween, I thought that I might like to read some Poe. But after reading the first page of Mask of the Red Death …ugh… I just cant take any Victorian language right now.
I thought that some CyberPunk would be a good change to the Ender’s Game series I had just finished. (I read most of the “Shadow” series). So I picked up a collection of Short Stories by Bruce Sterling. I read most of them. The nice thing about Short Story collections is that if one story isn’t working for you… go on to the next one. But although I like Sterling… I just wasn’t in the mood.

So what’s wrong with me? I’m an English Major for crying out loud. I love books! I don’t think that there has been a time in the last 10 years that I haven’t had a book sitting in my bag, ‘til now. If you were to open up my book bag (it’s a very nice one by the way. A brown canvas courier bag, by U.S. Luggage) you would find… no books. Well, that’s not true. You’d find a Grammar Mechanics book and a GRE prep course that I’m trying to ignore. But other than that… no books.
It’s not that I don’t have access to books. I have books, my very own library in fact. It’s not the greatest library in the world, but it’s pretty good.
I have a card to the county library as well, and I know how to use it. I even went to Barnes and Noble just to walk around, to smell the odor of new books mingled with coffee… heaven… and, while some titles intrigued me, I just couldn’t get up the enthusiasm to sit down with any of them. Weird.

You know how some writers get writer’s block, and they have to do something drastic to get going again. I read in one of Stephen King’s books, On Writing, where he was talking about writing The Stand. That about half way through, he got writer’s block so badly that he literally could not write another word. This lasted for weeks. So he put a bomb in the closet, killed fully half of his characters, which broke his block, and he was able to finish a pretty good book. Maybe I have reader’s block.
So what drastic thing do I need to do in order to break my block? Hummmmm…
I know! Jane Austen! Reading her work would be a kin to putting a bomb in my head. It’ll work… it has to work.

Or… I can listen to the bookslut ... I know, sound's bad, but this chick knows books.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Earthbound


50 years ago today the space race began with a basketball size satellite named Sputnik that sent waves of terror through the hearts of Americans. 12 years later we would win the space race when Neal Armstrong jumped down the ladder of his lunar expedition module and misquoted the words he had planned on saying: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

So what has NASA done since then? Well, the answer to that is really very simple (and this is just my opinion, boys and girls) NASA hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot.
Well, they did manage to kill two shuttle crews. And for what? To keep a shuttle that is 20 years out of date flying? I mean come on! In 12 years (1957 to 1969) we went from no space program at all to landing on the moon. The first shuttle launch, Columbia (STS-1) happened April 12, 1981. I remember watching it on television. It was an exciting day. There were promises of monthly shuttle missions, to do wacky new things in space. That was… (let me do the math here)… 26 and a half years ago, and still we only get a couple of launches off every year. And, I have to be honest here, they have done some good things. They were able to fix the Hubble Space Telescope, and… ummm… they… well… they built that giant PR factory in space… what do they call it? The ISS. Ya, that’s one big pile of junk… I mean… big accomplishment… ya.

People have always been explorers. We have always wanted to push the boundaries of our world. And our world is getting smaller and smaller everyday. I can send pictures and files to people on the other side of the world with a push of a button. There was a time when an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean was looked upon like we look at a trip to Mars. We need to explore and NASA is holding us back. I’m no rocket scientist, but it can’t be as hard as they’re making it. There are people like Dr. Robert Zubrin of the Mars society, who have viable ideas to get us to Mars, but NASA just won’t listen.

12 years from Earth bound to the Moon. There is no reason why we couldn’t do that again. Here are my recommendations to NASA

  • NASA needs to regain their vision.
  • Ground those antique shuttles before they get someone else killed.
  • Abandon the ISS and let it fall into the ocean.
  • Start listening to the Mars Society and other smart folk like that.
  • Get with the POTUS and set a 10-year plan. They did the moon in the 60’s with slide rules… I think that we can do Mars in less time with what we have today.
  • If international help is needed… do it. Get with the Brits, the Japanese, the French… (well, maybe not the French), the Russians and divide up the work.
  • Pick a crew, and a back-up crew and get it done.


50 years ago, today, the space race began and ushered in a new age. The universe changed forever that day. We were no longer bound to the Earth, and for a short time we were able to dream of where we would be going… and then… I don’t know why, but we crawled inside our earthbound prison and shut the door. We were able to look out though the bars, but knowing that we will never leave, we gave up.

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