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Here’s what’s on Top of my Christmas Tree – what’s on Yours?

Hugh, over at Hugh’s Views and News, is sponsoring a Christmas charity event–for every person who blogs a photo of what’s on top of their Christmas tree he will donate £1–up to £250.  That’s about $390 bucks in US Dollars–a significant amount.

Christmas Tree 2008b

 

So, all you need to do is to snap a shot of the top of your tree–whether it’s a star, an angel, or a bobblehead replica of NASCAR star Rusty Wallace in a cocktail dress–and link back to Hugh’s post, where he’s helpfully included specific directions that cover whatever I’m forgetting.

So, let’s get the money out of Hugh.  We’ve got a tin star on the top of our tree, just like a Sheriff in the Old West.  What do you have?  When you post, stick a link in my comments section so we can take a look at your tree top

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Commentary Funny and/or Strange Photo I Like

Star Wars Day: May The Fourth Be With You

I’m a Trek guy myself, but I just found out about the “Star Wars Day” thing and I think it’s a real hoot.  Star Wars has always been a problem for me–from plot points and set pieces clearly calculated to sell merchandise, to the whiniest hero in the history of movies, I liked the stories well enough but it never moved me, or moved my thoughts to deeper things.

Of course, things worked out for Luke better than they did for poor old Uncle Owen,  although we have to look to supplementary materials to find out why:

And all along I thought that Australian bastard, Boba Fett, killed Owen & Aunt Whatshername.  Damn.

Despite all the silliness, I’m kind of stoked about the new Star Wars movie–Abrahms has proven he has the chops and the appropriate reverence to revive an old series that has gone all to hell, and he’s no slouch with the marketing, either.  I mean, did you see the cast photo released from the first read-through this week?  Iconic is an understatement in this context–that photo has the look of something downright historical.

star-wars-new-cast-members-ftr
Hey, what’s Indiana Jones doing in this movie? Is it a crossover? And where the hell is Uhuru?

 

 

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I (heart) Neko Case

I just re-read an old magazine interview with my very favorite singer, Neko Case, and felt the need to express to all of you the incredible depth and revelry of my 130927-neko-case-radio-city-03love for her.  Don’t sweat it, my wife knows.  In fact, she’s pretty damned bemused by the whole thing, and thinks it’s “cute.” I’m no Travis Bickle, I guess.

And she thinks Neko is pretty fetchin’ swell, too.  And if you can’t stand the music your kids bring home, you can probably add yourself to the list….

“When I hear auto-tune on somebody’s voice, I don’t take them seriously. Or you hear somebody like Alicia Keys, who I know is pretty good, and you’ll hear a little bit of auto-tune and you’re like, “You’re too fucking good for that. Why would you let them do that to you? Don’t you know what that means?” It’s not an effect like people try to say, it’s for people like Shania Twain who can’t sing. Yet there they are, all over the radio, jizzing saccharine all over you. It’s a horrible sound and it’s like, “Shania, spend an extra hour in the studio and you’ll hit the note and it’ll sound fine. Just work on it, it’s not like making a burger!”

Go ahead, tell me that’s not epic: Yet there they are, all over the radio, jizzing saccharine all over you.  That says it all, right?neko_case

Now, to get on with the theme (and hide the fact that this entire post was pretty much a device to share that quote) let’s keep with the fan worship.  I like this Neko picture because, at first glance, the first time I saw it, I thought she was wearing an engineer’s uniform for Star Trek.  Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch, but you see what I mean, right?  She would absolutely make a fantastic cameo as some dry-witted, uber-competent veteran Captain–that’s Nichelle-Nicholsright, Captain Case who’s got neither time nor patience for Kirk’s juvenile tom-foolery.

And that’s why they don’t let me write Star Trek scripts (even though I’d KILL at it); because I’d pen in cameos for my favorite singers to come in and say the word “tomfoolery.”  Hell yes, I would. But Neko has even better outfits.  I saw her in a very nice dress in photos from the Grammy Awards, but I like this one best:

I just followed Neko on Twitter.  After this post, how long before she blocks me?

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What’s This Blog About?

Conception

As I close in on 200 posts–far and away the longest, most voluminous and sustained blogging I’ve ever managed–I thought it might be interesting to consider what this blog has been about, as compared to what it was intended to be about.

The initial plan was twofold–first, to stick some poetry on the web, much of it based on some very old stuff I wrote in my late teens and early twenties, when I considered “transient poet” to be an enviable career arc (not that I still don’t, but let’s be honest: spaceship captain, guru/cult leader, and international sex symbol are also enviable, in their own ways, though none are particularly practical or, ultimately, as potentially satisfying as being a father to my kids and husband to my wife–sappy?  Sure!  But that’s me.  I cry more than John Boehner*, the big baby.)  So, there was the poetry thing, to which I quickly added the quest of posting something every day, to keep my head in the writing game, and–again, let’s be honest: just to say that I did.  Easy enough, right?

Things That Got In The Way And Changed This Blog

First of all: life.  Life gets in the way.  I quickly discovered that it was impossible to fulfill the daily posting quota without a greater effort than I’m willing to give–specifically, accessing the internet when I’m away from home.  I don’t have efficient mobile devices–no smart phone, and the my first-generation Kindle Fire with it’s eensy weensy keyboard isn’t really conducive to typing–it’s for pecking, if anything.  So, I upped the goal from 250 posts in a year to a full 365–one per day, but not exactly one each day.  Some days there are three, to make up for the days that real life is more important.

milton-in-horton-001

Secondly: “Real” Writing. I hope this isn’t bad form, but I still think of my casual activities on WordPress as a leisurely “messing around,” differentiated from the “real work” of writing for publication and, ideally, profit.  I threw in with NaNoWriMo this year, equipped with notes for an old idea, and blundered my way through about 65,000 words in a month, making me a “winner”–yay.  I’m in the final stages of tuning this ms.–a true pulp action space-opera origin story to a character in another, more ambitious, but presently stalled novel–and it has been a huge, albeit exhilarting, time and energy suck.

The poetry has suffered the most–I’ve written less than a dozen new poems in three months, many of which require considerable, addition refinement; but all my original content has suffered.  I never finished my grand, multi-part Christmas essay (shhh! no one seamed to notice–stick around we’ll wrap things up next November!), and much of my December writing on the blog was dedicated to brisk entries detailing my favorite seasonal music–didn’t finish that, either–I squeaked in with the top 25 but abandoned the entry of honorable mentions and up-and-coming challengers.  Again, something to which we can all look forward. (I can sense your gleeful anticipation from here.)

But, that’s okay.  I’ve got a decent store of things to fill in the gaps–much of it “cheating” in terms of the original intent, but all of it an expression of my tastes, my sense of humor, my thoughts, politics, philosophies.  I’ve been trying to figure out a way to work in sexy pictures of scantily clad women–to sort of even out all the poetry, gardening, cooking (yes, I like to cook), since in real life I get a lot of crap from my family for acting “macho,” whatever the hell that means (doesn’t always shower on a Sunday?  farts?  swears a lot?  maybe I can get my wife to guest-post an explanation of that one!).  I do swear a lot, and I worry that my moderately church-ready vocabulary choices for this blog amount to a false representation of my character.  Oh, and I’m an asshole, too.

Or there’s this

So, what’s the blog about now?  At the risk of seeming narcissistic, this blog is about me–hopefully, more like hanging  out with me in a bar, or on a porch overlooking a lake, in summer, than it is like me just going on and on about how completely awesome I am.  By post 365, we should all have a better idea of who I am.  I, for one, am looking forward to find out.  The great risk here is that I’m just not that fucking interesting (see, more swearing–will my hit count go way up for this post?), or entertaining?  We’ll see.

*I never miss an opportunity to point out that auto-correct desperately wants me to change “Boehner” to “Boner.”  I’m interpreting this not as mere chance, or the vengeance of some giddy liberal data-entry tech, but a seminal indicator of burgeoning computer sentience. Seriously–think about it.

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Guardian of Christmas

Guardian of the Presents

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Funny and/or Strange

Captain PIcard Sings “Let It Snow”

What else needs to be said? This is fan-freaking-tastic.

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Journal

U.F.O.–My Gateway Science Fiction Drug

interceptors_readyI can remember playing Star Trek when I was awfully small, maybe 6 or 7, with my friend Dan, who was Spock to my Kirk. Every once in a while, this weird kid named Jimmy McKelvy visited his grandparents on the next block over and he would play Bones–he had this awesome Phaser toy that fired little plastic disks that I’m pretty sure would have blinded one of us.  Jimmy was a soft little kid–soft spoken, softly built, and from some other town.  He made us a little uncomfortable, but he had that Phaser.

https://oldroadapples.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/1657f-phaser4.jpg

Everyone knows Star Trek, but not everyone knows the show that was actually my gateway vice into the world of Science Fiction, the one that set the seed that wouldn’t germinate until my mid-twenties, after too much time in musty lecture halls  studying Literature–with a capital “L”…you know: Lit-or-ah-chore.

That was U.F.O.  Remember it?  A lot of folks don’t. Brought to you by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the folks who made marionettes into action heroes in shows like Thunderbirds, (the hilarious  Team America: World Police is a Thunderbirds parody by the creator of South Park), UFO was a cross between a soap opera and some pretty edgy (for television arond 1970, anyway) and occasionally dark Sci-Fi.  It revolved around a secret military outfit called SHADO that was leading the clandestine struggle against an ongoing Alien invasion.  The effects were primitive, but the models were cool and remain influential after more than 40 years, the stakes were high, and…the lunchboxes were the best ever.

I wanted one.  I desperately wanted the U.F.O. lunchbox, but my mom called No Deal.  My mom is a sweetheart, but she tends to give people things that she wants them to have, rather than the things they want to have or more specifically, the things she’d want to get if she was you.  A few years ago, for example, when the RZR scooters with the skateboard wheels were cool, my kids wanted them for their birthday. Mom had her own ideas, because scooters were very different when she was a kid, so she bought two of these:

I wanted the U.F.O. lunchbox.  My mom always loved Charlie Brown–she’s a lot like Charlie Brown, actually, and she bought me Snoopy. And Woodstock.  Snoopy and freaking Woodstock, and not even in metal.  I got bright, yellow plastic.  Several girls in my first grade class had the same lunchbox.  Snoopy.  Jesus, Mom–really?

So, I stumbled onto this blog a few moments ago…and it all came flooding back.

misc_ufo_lunchbox_a_NZ05665_L UFO Lunch Box 1 IMG_0411 IMG_0410

Tell me that’s not the greatest lunch box ever.  I still want it.

There is a great fan site for this series:

http://www.ufoseries.com/index.html

And this is pretty cool, too:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/modern_fred/sets/72157605209464362/with/2174567287/

And don’t buy this for your little boy–it will not only scar him for life, but turn him into an Adult Onset Science Fiction Junky. You don’t want that.  Trust me.  I own the complete DVD box set.

IMG_1613

Seriously.  I still haven’t forgiven her.